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How To Repair Your Guitar

Feb 10, 2008
There is no doubt about it - the best way to have repairs made to your guitar is to take it to a professional guitar repairer. This is because most repairs necessary are way beyond the know-how of an amateur and if you try to fiddle around with it yourself you are likely to do even more damage. Of course, if you take good care of your guitar it should not really need any repairs carrying out. One frequent mistake that people make with their guitars is to leave them in the car. When it's boiling outside, the temperature within the vehicle is far too hot to leave the guitar there as the adhesive on it will break down and it will literally fall to pieces.

If it is really necessary for you to have your guitar with you when you travel, you should pack it in a hard case surrounded by lots of padding in particular around the neck of the guitar. If you are traveling on an airplane, you should secure it further in a well padded box.

There are, however, some minor adjustments which are easy for the amateur to make, for example, the adjustment of the intonation of your electric guitar. This will be necessary if you have recently altered the thickness of your strings or the action, which is the distance between the strings and the fret board. Many guitarists do this twice a year as a matter of course.

It is quite simple maneuver to do by moving the bridge saddle (that's the bit of metal on the bridge of the guitar which the strings rest on) either backwards or forwards. To move the bridge saddle, the screw which holds it in place needs adjusting and it is useful to have an Allen key to use for this operation. Other than that, the only tool you will need is a small screwdriver. The bridge saddle only needs to be moved very slightly so take care when you are turning the screw.

When you carry out the adjustment you need to make sure each string sounds the same when played in the open position as it does on the 12th fret. If you are not confident in your own sense of hearing to get this just right, you should use an electric guitar tuner. Every time you make an adjustment, you will need to turn the string back to E again before you can check the intonation.

From time to time on an electric guitar the truss rod will also need adjusting. Don't attempt to do this yourself unless you are absolutely certain you are capable - it really is best to take it to a professional. The truss rod is a piece of steel running down the neck of your guitar and making an adjustment to it will relieve a convex or concave bow in the neck of the guitar. Be warned - if this is not done properly your guitar may suffer permanent and irreparable damage.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of MusicianHome.com, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.
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