Monday, May 25, 2015

Dirty Guitars?

Do you play your guitar after: rebuilding a car engine, eating a plate of baby back ribs, just finished tarring a roof, cleaning out a restaurant grease pit? If so; your guitar might hate you! Some people just play when the mood strikes and that is fine but it might be nice if ya'll wash your hands before spending a few hours playing your instrument. Contrary to what some people believe, the grease, grit, grime actually doesn't do much good for any guitar but it might keep your friends away from it. Despite what you might think, a thick coat of buggers on the guitar neck doesn't facilitate speedy picking!

The binding on the neck has been clean - Look at the binding on the body! Yuck! Check the buggered up neck!!!

Do ya smoke when playing?  Smoking tobacco does wonders for the guitar finish and smell as well! Nothing like a guitar under your chin that smells like an ashtray that sat at dive Las Vegas bar for 50 years. No spittoon? Why not use the sound hole on any old acoustic guitar? Seriously now, do you really want your guitar to have emphysema?
Look here, hope this players teeth aren't this yellow! 

This yellow will wipe off with a paper towel and simple cleaner or Naphtha. 

The following is a perfect example of a grimy fingerboard
Prevent build up by cleaning the fretboard when changing strings

Maybe its a badge of honor or a way to prevent other people from using your buggered up guitar?

Clean fret boards play faster in my opinion

Dirt, sweat, dead skin, buggers, etc... Clean it or pay $$$$

I use formula 409 or Naphtha (use gloves with Naphtha or you will burn your hands) to clean off grime build up. Afterwards you can apply water or distilled water to a soft cotton cloth to wipe down the instrument. After the instrument has dried you can polish it with your favorite none silicone cleaner.

Most players like the vintage patina of an old instrument but allowing dirt build up is not good for anything. If you are sweaty Eddie, wipe your instrument down before you put it away cowboy. Take pride in your instrument or pay the price.

BB King passes away!

Did you hear the church bell tone?

If you heard the tone then you know that BB King has gone to his grave. The world is a better place because of BB King. Some say, "The thrill is gone," but doubt BB King would have wanted The Blues to stop because he died. The torch has been passed.

BB King left some might big shoes to fill and whoever fills those shoes better let the good times roll!

We will miss you BB!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Walter Trout is back!

Walter Trout is recuperating well and and getting ready to roll.

Walter has a handful of shows coming up so be sure to catch him if he is near you!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Guitar Nuts - measurement confusion?

I have been asked where are the reference points for the guitar nut. Nut length is based on the guitar neck width. Hopefully, the following information can help eliminate some confusion about the nut length.

I have found that most novice players do not consider nut length measurement to be important while more advanced players have a specific preference which is based on their preference for finger picking or plectrum style picking. The player's picking style is the dominant factor in nut length choice.

Common neck width are as follows:
2.0" (51 mm) - Classical or nylon string guitars.
1 7/8" (48 mm) - Some steel string, finger style guitars.
1 13/16" (45 mm) - Steel string guitars.
1 3/4" (44 mm) - Most common length/width.
1 11/16" (43 mm) - Many electric guitars use this length/width.
1 5/8 (41 mm) - Smaller electric guitar similar to Fender® Duo-Sonic®.

This image will give you a good idea for comparison.

One important note about measurement is the fact the US standard measurement is used. I prefer the metric system but it seems that the guitar world isn't about to change this anytime soon so I have listed 3 measurement reference in my details; inch/decimals, inch (fractions), and metric equivalence. Save your time and don't send me mail telling me that the US Standard measurement system sucks. I AGREE!

This is a Telecaster nut with a 9.5 ยบ radius
According to the calipers: this neck is 1.6205" or 41.16mm in length
(NOTE: This is not a Fender Telecaster - It's a BILL NASH TELECASTER)

Usually Telecaster nut length is 1 11/16 inch or 43.0mm in length. Nevertheless, the critical points for dimensions of nut length will be end to end of the current nut on the guitar or the width of the neck if there isn't a nut available to measure.

Below are random examples of guitar nuts being measured

This is a Taylor 514 with a length of 1.75" or 44.66mm - measured end to end.
This would round up to what is called a 1 3/4 nut

Below is a Fender Stratocaster 50th anniversary measured at 1.6915 " or 42.96mm.
This would round up to what is called a 1 11/16 nut.

Below is a Paul Reed Smith Custom 24 nut measurement. 
This nut measured 1.6935" or 43.0 mm. This is also a 1 11/16 inch neck

If you need to replace your nut and you are buying one online; often you will be asked to provide the E to E measurement. Below is an example of a Taylor 514ce E to E (Center of the Low E to Center of the High C) measurement being recorded. 

String Spacing: I use a tool that I purchased from Stewart MacDonald to determine and replicate string spacing. Below are some images of the tool in use.

More of the same .....

The tool is about 12" or 304mm measured length

In summary, nut length is measured end to end of the nut. If you are making a nut from stock it is always better to start out with a little more than you need then file the blank down to match the neck width. Measure twice and cut once! For further information I recommend Frank Fords site

Other valuable Links:
Frank Ford is one of the owners and Luthiers at Gryphon Stringed Instruments