Questions tagged [maintenance]

For questions about keeping an instrument or related gear in playable condition.

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69
votes
21answers
48k views

How often should I replace the strings on my guitar?

When and why should you replace your guitar strings?
67
votes
21answers
86k views

Changing the strings: one by one, or by taking all strings off at one time?

The title says it all. Should I change strings one by one, or take them all at once? Does this matter at all? If I take all strings off, will it damage my neck in any way, because the pressure is ...
33
votes
7answers
129k views

How do I know when it's time to change a tube on my amplifier?

I think this would be a wonderfully instructive question to people who are new to tube amplifiers. In short, how do I know that it's time to change a tube, and what's a good strategy for figuring out ...
32
votes
10answers
61k views

What is intonation and how can I find out if my guitar has correct intonation?

What is intonation? What is the best way to check my intonation and fix it if necessary?
29
votes
7answers
2k views

What tools should every guitarist have?

What tools should every guitarist have to do most small/medium projects for their guitars? (change strings, tuners, knobs, pickups)
29
votes
6answers
29k views

Do guitar strings wear when not used?

Do strings wear because of the pressure applied to them or any other factor, or do they stay in quite the same shape as long as you don't use them?
28
votes
8answers
22k views

Cleaning the fretboard of an electric guitar

I have had my electric guitar for several years and I noticed that there is some "sweat dirt" on the fretboard of the guitar, so the inlay is less shiny. I'd like to clean that without taking the ...
23
votes
8answers
3k views

What's the best way to fly commercially with a guitar?

I've heard horror stories about guitars being damaged on commercial airline flights. Is there a safe way to fly with a guitar?
23
votes
4answers
21k views

What should I consider when I see a loose hair in a violin bow?

This drawing should do: These are the hairs of a brand new bow. Straight, clean, etc. I noticed this: As you can see, it seems like a certain hair is a bit loose. Is this bad? (I.e., does it ...
23
votes
4answers
4k views

When should I be concerned about calibrating the bias of vacuum tubes in an amplifier?

I think it would be useful to discuss the concept of bias as it pertains to guitar amplifiers. I have read some articles saying that you should always rebias your amplifier when you change the power ...
22
votes
12answers
21k views

How do I properly stretch my newly strung strings?

I came across this string stretcher device. It's called The Stretcha. It claims to properly and evenly stretch new strings and maintain tuning. I never really made a point to properly stretch ...
22
votes
3answers
3k views

How does one change bow hair?

What are the steps to follow to unmount the hair from a bow and install a new set ? What kind of tools and products do you need beside a new set of bow hair ? How do you measure/adjust the length ...
21
votes
6answers
12k views

Will my wind instrument be damaged if I leave it assembled?

Almost every teacher, expert, and book has informed me that I should disassemble my (clarinet / recorder / saxophone) each time after I practice. However, it is difficult for me to see how this would ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I set up an electric guitar?

How do I set up the pickups, neck, etc. in an electric guitar? I'm not concerned with producing a particular sound as I am with keeping the neck from warping, prevent string buzz, improving ...
21
votes
6answers
79k views

Cleaning a tarnished flute

My flute is tarnished and needs to be cleaned... I was afraid if I polished it, I would break something on it. I read online that it's a bad idea to remove tarnish on a flute yourself as you can ruin ...
19
votes
6answers
82k views

Do I need to have my guitar re-set up if I change the string gauge

I'm a newbie transitioning to intermediate and I have a rather nice strat with 11 gauge strings. I'd like to try lighter strings but someone told me changing gauge will require the guitar to be re-set ...
18
votes
3answers
8k views

Should I loosen the tension on the bow for a break?

According to Violin for Dummies, we should loosen the horsehair before put violin back in the case. However, I always give myself about an hour break after I play violin for 1 to 2 hours. Should I ...
18
votes
6answers
13k views

How to accurately intonate a 3 saddle telecaster?

I have a traditional 3 saddle telecaster bridge. With two strings on each saddle my intonation is always a slight compromise. This is OK on the first four strings, but the bass strings are noticeably ...
18
votes
6answers
735 views

How do you care for your guitar?

A guitar that is used regularly will sooner or later show signs of wear and tear. How do you best care for your guitar and make sure it stays as good as it is for as long as possible?
18
votes
4answers
9k views

Acoustic guitar - how to wind strings on the tuning posts

While writing an answer to this question, I did a little web searching and found that the way I was taught 29 years ago to wind the strings isn't necessarily the best. On an acoustic guitar, I tend ...
17
votes
1answer
3k views

How should I inspect a used piano prior to purchase?

I am considering finding a used grand (or baby grand) piano to purchase. This will be a standard acoustic piano, not an electronic version that "looks like" a grand piano. I am an experienced ...
16
votes
11answers
21k views

How can I stop my electric guitar strings from rusting so quickly?

I suffer from hyperhyrdosis which means my hands sweat quite a lot. The problem is that because of this my electric guitar strings seem to rust quite quickly because of this. Is there anything I can ...
15
votes
3answers
4k views

Guitar strings feel electrified

When my electric guitar is connected to the amp it's fine but when I connect it to my mult fx Zoom g1on and then to the amp, the strings and the bridge feel electrified. Like there's friction when I ...
15
votes
4answers
14k views

How to remove all traces of rosin from a bow?

I saw once the case of a beginner violinist who turned out to be allergic to a specific type of rosin that came with his student violin outfit. Another hypoallergenic rosin was purchased and they used ...
15
votes
3answers
9k views

How does the piano middle pedal work? Is there a standard symbol for it?

What are the mechanics behind the middle piano pedal? I have been using the middle pedal for a variety of music, it is wonderful, but I can't figure out how it works (I mean the mechanical process). ...
15
votes
2answers
23k views

What is the proper humidity range for an acoustic guitar?

What is the range of relative humidity, in percentage, that is optimal for storing a guitar, cello, violin or the like in its case? I live in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, which is a humid environment year-...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

Does every piano need tuning every year?

Our upright piano has been last tuned about a year ago. (It was a major retuning, two sessions, including bringing it up from something 435-ish to 442 Hz.) I just tried to check whether it is still ...
14
votes
4answers
14k views

What methods are there to determine when a violin string should be replaced?

I am very new to the violin. I have broken a string just once - and it was while attempting to tune it. The string breaking was rather surprising and powerful - I'm glad my face was not too close. ...
13
votes
6answers
20k views

Is it a good idea to leave my guitar tuned over night?

I have an acoustic guitar and I always leave it tuned over night until someone told me that it ruins the strings and the neck of the guitar. Is that true and should I leave it tuned overnight?
13
votes
3answers
4k views

Why do people in tutorials destroy/cut their old strings when restringing?

I'd like do try out different gauges on an electric and an acoustic guitar, but if I don't like them I would like to put the old strings back on. Is that even possible or are they ruined after ...
13
votes
7answers
47k views

Should a Floyd Rose bridge be parallel to the body of the guitar?

I've read before that a Floyd Rose bridge should be parallel to the body of the guitar. This is an image of the bridge on my guitar: You can see that the left side of the appears to be a little bit ...
13
votes
4answers
24k views

Lowering the action on a bass guitar

I have obtained a rather cheap P-bass imitation bass and, while it plays well in the lower register, about the 9th fret the action starts to rise and after the 12th fret it's in to the "wow, this ...
13
votes
4answers
25k views

Factors in choosing a replacement saddle for an acoustic guitar.

I saw this in the comments section on the question "Do acoustic or classical guitars need to be set up?" The saddle material makes a difference in the sound of an acoustic too. I have a bit of a ...
13
votes
4answers
18k views

how does one use or apply lemon oil to a classical guitar?

I have bought a classic guitar for my nephew who is starting classes. The vendor gave me as a gift a little vial of "lemon oil" (translated from the french) saying just quickly something like "it ...
13
votes
4answers
54k views

What's causing this buzzing sound on the high e string?

My Takamine acoustic has a tendency to buzz when I play the high e string fretted around frets 2 and 3. I figure it's something to do with the neck and tension rod. Are there any other parts of a ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Why do guitarists re-fret their guitars?

I heard that my friend is gonna cut some tracks, and they said they want to re-fret their guitars first. Well I know that a re-fret is replacing the frets with new one. What will change if we re-fret? ...
12
votes
5answers
7k views

Is it okay to sit on guitar combo amplifier?

I just bought a 1x10" Marshall combo guitar amp, and I've read in articles that many guitarists sit on their amps. Is it okay to sit on it? Is there any chance of breaking it as a result?
11
votes
4answers
625 views

What is a guitar truss rod?

What is the "truss rod" on a guitar? Do truss rods vary for an acoustic, electric, or classical guitar?
11
votes
3answers
14k views

Should I remove electric guitar cord daily after practice?

A friend of mine suggested that I leave the cord plugged into the guitar. Removing and inserting the cord daily for practice may damage it and reduce its life. Is it okay that I leave my guitar ...
11
votes
2answers
712 views

Do pegs for stringed instruments require holes?

We bought some new pegs for a cello but they came without holes. As a result, it seems impossible to tighten the strings as they keep slipping. But there must be some use for pegs without holes, ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

What purpose does adjusting the violin bow tension serve?

A violin bow has a screw that allows you to adjust the hairs' tension. Like a tuning peg so to speak. When I just got mine, I didn't pay attention to it. I worked with the tuning pegs because I knew ...
11
votes
1answer
3k views

How do I set up a bass guitar?

How do I set up the pickups, neck, etc. in an electric bass guitar? I'm not concerned with producing a particular sound as I am with keeping the neck from warping, prevent string buzz, improving ...
11
votes
4answers
5k views

Should tabla drum produce any buzzing?

Earlier today I was trying out two tabla drum sets in a music shop and I noticed that both sets they had were producing a buzzing sound while being played. I am no tabla player but I have been playing ...
11
votes
2answers
754 views

Dealing with sharp fret ends

Continuing on my quest to subjugate this cheap bass I picked up in to the realm of "actually useful instrument" I've got a question about taming sharp fret ends. This bass, it has a lot of them. After ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there any way i can increase the life of my drum sticks?

Is there any way I can improve how long my sticks last, and prevent chips, splints and cracks? As a metal drummer, I find that I am playing a lot of rim hits. Whether I have nylon tips or wood tips, ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Small bugs in my classical guitar

For the last seven years, when winter comes (and the cold weather) I notice small bugs (about half a millimeter) strolling my classical guitar. They are whitish and I don't see any apparent damage to ...
10
votes
4answers
20k views

Do pianos really need to rest before tuning, after being moved?

I'm new to real pianos and just having bought an old 2nd-hand one, it's obviously gone out of tune being moved to my house. I've heard from a few people, including one tuner, that they need to 'rest' ...
10
votes
4answers
5k views

Do acoustic or classical guitars need to be set up?

Obviously acoustic and classical guitars don't have external pickups that need to be setup, but are there any other adjustments that need to be done on a regular basis? There doesn't seem to be a ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

How should I store my bow if I'm not using it for long periods of time?

I have a bow that I don't use over long periods of time (over 6 months, at times). I generally release its tension, and just leave it out in the open. I recently wondered if this is enough, or if I ...

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