Flynn Amps and the value of enthusiasmK is for Knopfler, MarkM is for Modes

R is for Repairs
November 19, 2014

There are few things more useful and money saving than learning to fix the things you own. That goes for just about anything, from sewing buttons back on to replacing computer parts but it rings very true when you start talking about musical instruments. There are some parts of keeping your guitar in a good state that require skill and specialised equipment, re-fretting a guitar for example or fixing a cracked neck, there are also many smaller and easier jobs from the very basic (changing strings and replacing damaged machine heads) to the more advanced (soldering wiring internally and setting up a floating tremolo system).

There are numerous guitar shops where I live now for the really advanced work but this isn’t true for you if you live in the middle of nowhere as I did when I was growing up. As a result I learnt to do pretty much all of my own guitar repairs myself and I pass on as much of that as is required to my students. I consider changing strings and keeping the guitar (mostly the fretboard) clean as absolute basics and the best thing in the world for a tired sounding guitar. Cheap guitars are common when you’re starting out and cheap musical instruments do need a bit of TLC sometimes. Electronics go wrong and although it’s often a very simple problem to fix, people do panic.

Even just ten years ago, if you wanted to learn a practical skill like this you needed to find someone to teach you, as I do for people now, but since the explosion of YouTube and websites like WikiHow explaining in detail and with visual guides how to do everything from make an omelette to turbo-charge a tractor there really is no excuse for guitars in a poor state of repair.

Musicians never have much money in my experience and one way to get round that is to at least attempt to fix your guitar before you hand it in to someone. Importantly though, knowing where your limits currently are especially when making adjustments to the truss rod is a good idea. Don’t try and do things without reading up first. Equally though, don’t be scared. It’s just a lump of wood and some bits of metal. Go for it!