What I’ve learned about guitars

1. You should never buy an acoustic guitar without playing it
2. Electric guitars and banjos are machines, every part can be replaced and improved
3. Never leave a guitar tuned up when it’s stored for a long time, the tension can damage the instrument
4. Heavier picks are better than lighter picks
5. The best way to avoid  pain when learning is Ibuprofen and practice
6. Buy a good capo and an electronic tuner
7. When your strings sound dull, turn black, fray, or won’t stay in tune, change them
8. Nothing you put on the neck will help you learn chords
9. The standard string gauge for an acoustic starts at 12 – for an electric, 10
10. Most acoustic guitars won’t sound or tune right with less than 12 gauge strings
11. If you use a capo, tune for it
12. The strings are numbered from the bottom up
13. Practice every day
14. If a tuning machine breaks you have to replace all of them. Sorry
15. Learn to adjust your own truss rod
16. The useful life of a set of strings is about six weeks, depending on how much you play and the acidity of your sweat
17. You can get an idea of how an acoustic guitar will sound by thumping it just under the bridge while muting the strings. The lower the better
18. Tuning dulls your strings because it slowly pulls the windings apart
19. Use plain lemon oil on the neck and car wax on the body
20. Gently burnish the fretboard with 0000 steel wool when you change strings
21. A bone saddle can make an acoustic sound much better.
22. A bone nut won’t help the tone but might allow the strings to slide through easier when you tune
23. Start tuning from the D string out – the note should be in the vocal range
24. Never use epoxy or super glue to fix a guitar
25. No matter how long you’ve been playing – take a few lessons
26. Don’t make a fist when you hold the pick, spread your other fingers out
27. Always tune up to a note, not down
28. Keep an old t-shirt in your case to wipe the strings down when you’re done
29. Any guitar advertised on TV is junk
30. On old guitars, check the bottom of the bridge for cracks and separation from the body
31. Never, ever, put steel strings on a classical guitar, they’ll tear it apart
32. Putting nylon strings on a steel guitar can warp the neck becasue they don’t have enough tension
33. Classical and Folk guitars both have slotted headstocks. Classicals have thick, white barrels to hold the wound string. Folk guitars have narrow steel barrels
34. Unwound strings like the high E and B don’t lose their tone as fast as wound strings so you may not need to change them as often
35. Tighten the tuner nuts and screws every time you change strings.
36. Don’t tie a guitar strap to the headstock, it can warp the neck and get in the way. Have a strap button put on the bottom side of the heel
37. Buy single strings and experiment with combinations of weights
38. There’s no such thing as a ukulele pick
39. Never lean your guitar against a wall face up, lean it in a corner, face to the wall
40. Pick from your shoulder, not from your wrist
41. A looper, pedal or volume will not make up for a lack of talent and practice
42. If something wooden breaks, don’t fix it yourself unless you know what you’re doing
43. Coated strings can go dead in the middle of a song
44. A great guitar can be made out of any kind of wood or even a composite
45. If your fingers hurt, keep practicing
46. The sides and back of a guitar don’t effect the sound
47. Bridge pins don’t hold the strings in, the strings hold the pins in.
48. Try different string brands until you find one your guitar likes
49. Strings with tighter windings don’t squeak as much
50. It’s ok not to hit all the strings all the time
51. Don’t use a hammer, glue, screws or tape on bridge pins – gently tap them in after pulling on the string to set it into the notch
52. There’s usually an easier way to play a chord
53. The B string always tunes weird
54. Always close at least one latch on a case, even when it’s empty. One day it won’t be
55. Fishman pickups sound way too bright
56. The strap pin on the bottom isn’t supposed to be glued in, lightly tap it in tight every time you change strings
57. Bose sucks
58. Practice more
59. The neck should have a very slight, but even bow
60. When holding a pick, don’t let your other fingers touch the first one
61. Fender makes great electrics but average acoustic guitars
62. The only guitar you can trust to buy on line is a Martin, but make sure you can return it just in case
63. Electric guitars are just expensive boards with strings
64. Gibson guitars are currently in decline
65. None of the parts on a guitar are standard size
66. Get a wall hanger or a good floor stand
67. Electric guitars and amps are separate instruments – you’ll need to learn both
68. Regularly clean all your ¼” jacks with a 25 caliber, brass gun brush
69. In damp or rainy weather, twist all the knobs on an amp 25 times to get rid of scratchiness
70. Tighten the ¼” jack nut each time you change strings on an electric. You’re welcome
71. Never paint the face of an acoustic guitar, you’ll ruin the tone
72. Putting stickers on a guitar destroys the resale value. Put them on the case
73. Always trim the ends of your strings
74. Practice when you don’t want to
75. Spraying string lube like FingerEase on your strings makes them go dead faster. Instead, spray your finger tips.
76. Almost every new guitar needs to be set up once by someone who knows how
77. The correct number of guitars is “one more”
78. Never leave a guitar in a car unless you want to use it for spare parts
79. A cable tie can save your life
80. Change bass guitar strings every few years
81. Never mic a banjo

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