Your body is a handle, man!

photo (3)(mechanical drawing by Geoffrey C Benge)

Changes in the weather bring on changes in guitars, this leads to much explanation on my part. ie.

Customer: “Why does this happen to my guitar?”

Geoff: “Because your guitar is a machine made of sponges!”

seems unlikely, but very true.

Necks are heavily effected by the weather, as well as bodies.

  • On electric guitars: the shrinking and swelling is more subtle but still is a major factor in the action and playability, because the relationship between the neck pocket and the bridge height are sensitive to even small changes.
  • On acoustics: all the sides and especially the top change and swell with humidity.

The best way to combat this is to diligently humidify your guitar from the day the heat comes on in the winter until the day the heat is turned off in the summer. This will minimize the need for adjustments, but not eliminate it.

Another question I get a lot lately is…

“even though I’ve had my guitar set up many times by different people, why does it still not play well?”

The answer is almost always the neck or the angle that the neck is attached to the body.

For all intents and purposes, a guitar body is a handle. I don’t care if it is blue, light, hollow, acoustic, has buckers or a Floyd-rose. It is a handle.

The neck is a blade. If it is not made of good stuff and can not maintain a sharp edge it does not matter how nice the handle is. It will never slice tomatoes . It is easy to fall in love with a guitar, but hard to identify whether or not a neck is “healthy”. I often have to break the bad news to people that their neck (or neck set) is not “healthy”.

Retailers are quick to say, “adjust the neck and set it up”, but unfortunately often times it is not that simple. Soon I will be posting some diagrams that will help to identify whether a neck is straight or not.

A good course of action to take when buying a new guitar is to make sure that you have enough approval time to return the guitar if your teacher or tech tells you that you have a bad neck.

I do a lot of costly repairs fixing these types of problems, often when someone bought a barley used guitar and found themselves with a problem and no warranty.

Overall, in the industry about 50% of the necks are bad. Some brands are better than others, but even the “big boys” fall into the 50% category.

Flame maple , fancy inlays and locking tuners sell guitars, not straight necks.

Please check back soon for helpful info about necks .

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