Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

The worst part about learning to work on guitars is...

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Edsel Presley, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. ndeli55

    ndeli55 Tele-Afflicted

    May 12, 2008

    That's really it. I'm always looking for other people's problems. I love bargain floyds, for example.

  2. Edsel Presley

    Edsel Presley Tele-Holic

    Jan 29, 2017
    That's where I'm at.

  3. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

    Oct 29, 2013
    Tinning wires and metal parts, and solidly joining the two. Simple stuff, after a little bit of practice.
    Buy a cheap beater and practice on it.

  4. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    I added some "texture" to the bridge of my first acoustic trying to remove the bridge pins.:oops:

    Other than that, I'm pretty fearless with my gear, but if I'm working on Mrs. Obsessed's guitars or basses or my step daughter's guitars, I'm a nervous wreck.:eek:

  5. jenos

    jenos Tele-Meister

    Mar 28, 2012
    Columbia, SC
    Worst part is having the time and patience to do it properly. It takes time and a lot of patience to set up a guitar properly or replace parts. Set ups and nut replacements are a lot of tuning to pitch, measure, feel, slack strings, adjust saddles/nut, and repeat 3-5 times.

    I am to the point now with a 1.5 year old and one on the way that any hour to two hours I have at night goes to playing. I even put off changing strings for weeks.

  6. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Thanks. I feared you’d say I had to buy a cheap tele to mess it up ;)… guitar space is limited around here. But, well, a man’s gotta do what he’s gotta do!

  7. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

    The worst part is realizing how much money you could have saved if you learned sooner!

  8. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Meister

    Jun 4, 2010
    Make up a few guitar leads to get started. Like pedal board leads. Buy a length of coax and a few guitar jacks. You only need a basic soldering iron. You can strip insulation with a craft knife if you're careful. If you screw them up you can chop off the ends and start again (the leads, not your fingers). ;)

    I tried to find a youtube video that does it exactly like I think you should but they all had at least one extra step that was not really unnecessary. Anyway watch a few and get the key points.
    EDIT: Actually this guy isn't bad ...

    Then get a pot and try soldering wire to its pins. Master all that (it's pretty easy) and you're set to go !
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017

  9. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Wonderful! I have a beautiful weekend activity to look forward to! Thanks!

  10. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    That’s a good one ;)

  11. joshigh

    joshigh Tele-Meister

    Jun 10, 2003
    Plant City, FL
    I need to pick up a set of radius gauges, feeler gauges, a notched ruler and a good precision ruler. Every time I try and get a setup from someone local it sucks, I end up tweaking it by feel so I want to just do it myself.

  12. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    May 9, 2015
    Seekonk, MA
    The worst part is the realization that Stewmac is on the payroll.

  13. rcboals

    rcboals Tele-Meister

    Jul 6, 2010
    Springfield, Oregon
    You need to adopt my mantra and go for it: "I can't screw it up so bad, that a professional can't fix it".
    Works for me (most times) and it's only $$. :)

    Lots of good basic how to videos on guitar set up, repair, etc. on youtube
    Reggie77 likes this.

  14. beninma

    beninma Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2017
    Yes this. Realizing I got taken to the cleaners a few times for "pro setup" where they did basically nothing to the guitar and took my money.

    Last time I was in my local GC I almost warned off a customer not to let the tech he was talking to work on his guitar. The tech was telling him guitar players shouldn't even try to tweak their truss rod, bring it in for a pro setup every time instead.

    I let that same guy try to do some warranty electronics work for me on an acoustic and he failed miserably and managed to work on the guitar with something on his fingertips that damaged the finish a couple places. Ended up having to take it to someone much better and pay full boat to get that fixed.

    I don't have any super high dollar guitars.. so I agree they are not stressful to work on. Acoustics are more intimidating to me beyond setup, but I love how acoustic players act like adjusting the action is like building a spacecraft to go to Mars. I'd adjust the neck angle on my Tele myself if it needed it but I doubt I'd do that on my Taylor, and I sure as hell wouldn't do a neck reset on a Martin that had a glued in neck.

    I only got serious about playing/learning this year. I've done full setup on acoustic + electric now, including cutting a nut. And now I've done a lot on my Telecaster. My Tele I did the nut, saddles, intonation, swapped the pickguard, swapped the pickups and all of the electronics. None of it has been terribly stressful. All of it has made the actual playing way more comfortable/enjoyable/rewarding.

    I've repaired bicycles till I was blue in the face for about 20 years and used to do a lot of my own motorcycle work. A lot of my bicycles have been in the $2k-5k range, and the motorcycles were worth a lot more than that. That stuff can get stressful. The turning point for me was crashing my motorcycle at the track (worth about $10k) and doing a ton of damage and deciding to repair it all myself. That was a huge project but when I got done I was pretty much cured of getting stressed out about fixing stuff myself. (And saved me thousands of dollars)

  15. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    I would say the worst part about learning to work on guitars is the vast number of OCD hobbyists posting their brilliant new ideas about guitar repair and modification.
    Actual luthiers and trained guitar techs have no need to pummel the internet with obsessively convincing arguments about the basics of setting up a guitar or fixing problems. Well, maybe some do.
    But the best info is often very simple and dull.
    And good luthiers and techs tend to be too busy keeping up with their work to be giving tutorials on the internet, as evidenced by all the stories of apparrently unskilled techs charging folks to make their guitars worse.
    So, much of the interesting reading involves some sort of ranting maniac who has just discovered a better way. And then non maniacs repeating the rantings as fact.

    How is the new student guitar tech to figure out what info to utilize?
    IDK, but it seems like internet info gets crazier and crazier.

  16. Journeyman22

    Journeyman22 Tele-Meister

    Dec 11, 2014
    Piute County, Utah
    Not having enough money to buy more guitars when I want too. I live way out in the middle of no where, I had to learn to do my own work and set ups. Bottom line for me is: Working and modding guitars is just hard enough to be fun for me! I just cant get enough of it! Then after you are done with a project, You get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Just don't get any better than that, for Me! CHEERS!
    DonM likes this.

  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    I worked for many years as a guitar tech, and was the only tech quite a few players would use because they considered my setups to be a lot better than any other tech they had used.

    I never used any of the tools on your list, though I did use a cheap flexible stainless 6" ruler to clean crud off RW boards.

    I have since started using feeler gauges, mostly out of curiosity, and never set neck relief to a number.

    The guitar repair tool industry is as big a money maker as the guitar repair industry.
    Techs and luthiers of old made their/ our own tools, but did not need as many tools as the internet suggests are needed today.

  18. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    You say that like it's a bad thing...
    telemnemonics likes this.

  19. drew1d

    drew1d TDPRI Member

    Jun 30, 2014
    Westchester NY
    The worst part about learning to work on guitars is...
    Trial and error....and error....and error. When I was just getting starting with playing I wanted one guitar to do everything. I put in switches, swapped pickups ect... And I played through the same crappy cheap amps. Changing a guitar around to sound different, and they did, but I probably would say better or worse. The only things I would say was right is adjusting the guitar for play-ability. Raising or lowering the action. Making sure the neck relief was good. All those things were worth while. But trying to change a guitar to sound like a different guitar never came out the way I intended.

    Rather than change out good pickups for other good pickups, or adding coil/phase whatever switches, just matching the equipment gave me the most satisfaction. Not every guitar sounds great with every amp, finding the combination for me was the key and it took a lot of money and a lot of time to find that.

    Finding the radius I like. Finding the type of frets I like. Setting the action in combination with the strings I like. Getting the right guitar cord, pedal and amp and so on. Actually learning why there is a volume and tone knob and how to use them with how I play, rather than always having them cranked all the time. (why not just cut out them out at that rate.)

    It took me a long time to realize what I liked, and then just to simplify the process. For my 2cents, I'd say that Leo Fender got it right over half a century ago.

    I don't need a pedal board. I don't need an amp with 20 knobs and switches. I don't need a guitar with too many controls. I just need a setup, that sounds good with a few twists and turns and I found a tone I like. And a guitar that's fun to play.

    It's not a value judgment on people with complex setups. Hell, if that works for you, it works. But all the time I wasted following what I thought I'd like to just set the guitar back to the way it was in retrospect seems frustrating. But I guess I wouldn't have reached to where I am without having gone through that. It makes me wonder if I'll feel the same way in the next 25 years.

    So I'd say the worst part is the time it took me to get to where I am. And the worst part is knowing that it will take me just as long to get to the next step. Or maybe that's the best part...I'm not sure.

  20. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    The thing you really needed to know 10 seconds ago...
    RadioFM74 likes this.

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.