Musicians who never learn how to restring/setup their instruments?

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by lewis, Sep 2, 2017.

  1. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    so Ive thought about this plenty over the years.

    I started playing guitar at 17 and being doing it now just over 10 years. Within the first 1-2 years I decided I had enough of relying on shops etc to restring/setup my instruments and taught myself. Been doing it ever since etc as I imagine the majority do?.

    However I know people, who Ive toured with in the past in previous bands etc, who despite achieving all that and who are excellent excellent players, never taught themselves or learnt etc. They have the mentality of like "woah its quite involved. I dont want to screw anything up. Better let the experts do it"

    Does anyone find this a tad ridiculous?. Especially if you have been a player for like 10years +
    The idea of being so reliant on others in this way must be so frustrating.
    "I cant play my bass for the next 3 days whilst I wait for my mate david to come over and put the strings on for me"?

    EDIT:
    Will add to that the same mentality was also present in anything. Setting up a rig/plugging in cables seemed to big a deal for them to try and anything like a pickup change or hardware change was obviously too intimidating to try.
     
  2. silverabyss

    silverabyss _(:3 」∠)_ Contributor

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    There's a lot of factors here at play and what might seem dead nuts easy to you might not seem so to everyone. There's a lot on a guitar that takes time and practice to understand, especially the electric bits
     
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  3. SD83

    SD83 SS.org Regular

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    I can understand why changing a pickup or something about the hardware is intimidating to many. It sure was to me. You have to disassamble it, and especially if it involves soldering and you never did any before... That, and you sometimes have to work with obstacles such as cables which are way too short, everything being crammed into a tiny cavity, previous owners who just used randomly colored cables so you have to look twice everytime to not mess up the wiring... But changing strings, adjusting bridges and trussrods? I don't think I know anyone who has that done for them. Then again, most of the people I know just change strings and that's it. Further adjustments are rarely done, unless someone changes string brands/gauges or tuning. Or at least, I hardly ever saw that.
     
  4. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    yeah I will be honest Ive never soldered anything, but thats exactly why I went EMG solderless. It allows me to get inside the guts of an instrument etc and still be self sufficient.
     
  5. dax21

    dax21 SS.org Regular

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    Yeaaah... 10 years later and I still don't dare to touch the truss rod, even on my 200$ cheapo bass.
    Call it an irrational fear all you want.
     
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  6. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    I mean my post was mainly about not having the confidence to restring the instrument rather than anything else.

    That I just do not understand.
     
  7. jbealsmusic

    jbealsmusic Next Gen Guitars

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    Working with guitars in any capacity is not at all intuitive for most people, and can be pretty intimidating due to the fear of screwing it up and ruining their guitar. It's the same reason people don't work on their own cars, house, etc.

    It was a huge hurdle for me at first, so I totally get it.

    The only problem is there are "techs" out there who think they can do everything but really can't. You really have to know people in each area to get good recommendations so you don't end up worse off than before.
     
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  8. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    and to add, you may think that a poor setup is then as good as it gets. That could un-inspire playing
     
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  9. jbealsmusic

    jbealsmusic Next Gen Guitars

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    Great point!
     
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  10. NickS

    NickS Carvinite

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    This is interesting to me, as I always just kind of assumed since I started playing that working on your own guitar comes with the territory. Especially if its just re-stringing and the like. My first guitar was a Squier Strat, and needless to say I had the pickguard off and had to resolder and adjust things fairly regularly.

    But I guess I do know people that will not go much beyond re-stringing by themselves....
     
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  11. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    exactly the camp I fall in.
    Although ive always loved being independent and self sufficient. Once I decided to do it all myself I havent looked back. I love tinkering.
    My recent restoration job on an old 80s super strat that had seen better days, was so rewarding to me.

    I cant imagine being nearly 30, having played since I was 15 (in the case of the people I know), and still be asking my mate to put some strings on for me?. Just seems really alien for personally. But then As soon as I turned 18 I moved out so Ive always wanted and had that independence.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
  12. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire Doom doomy doom

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    I've always liked tinkering with stuff and tweaking it to exactly how i want it so most of the work I do on my guitars I enjoy.
    the only aspects of setting up my own guitars that I really don't like doing/suck at is setting up tremolos/installing a new nut. But that's what youtube is for, to help me get good at stuff like that.
    I'm pretty opposed to paying someone to work on my guitar when I can do it myself. I can't understand some people and how they throw money at techs to install pickups/do setups or fret levels. None of those are super hard ime.
     
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  13. High Plains Drifter

    High Plains Drifter SS.org Regular

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    For me... ^^^ This. I've always been mechanically inclined and when I expanded my collection of instruments, I knew that it would be far better to learn how to make adjustments and modifications correctly, than to rely upon others. If someone doesn't really want to do their own work and if they have the funds and a great tech nearby then I can see going that route but I get a lot of genuine satisfaction being able to do [most of] my own work.

    Not to get all bro-huggy but seriously... SSO has been an absolutely invaluable resource when it comes to all things guitar-related. I can't thank some of you guys enough for the assistance when I was faced with a new and intimidating challenge.
     
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  14. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    Would agree completely with this. Ive learnt loads off here over the years.
     
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  15. IGC

    IGC OCDG

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    Does setting up include tuning to pitch, adjusting truss to level fretboard, jigging, removing strings, tilt jig to playing position, leveling frets, using fret rocker etc...?
     
  16. Necris

    Necris Bonitis.

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    I've only personally encountered one player who never learned how to restring his instruments - I'd say the vast majority of guitarists I've met can't/won't do a setup on their instrument. I can sort of understand the hesitation on the part of players to do setups considering everyone makes adjusting a truss rod sound more like defusing a bomb than a simple turn of an allen key.

    Short of fabricating metal parts I'm able to do just about anything I could need to - including fingerboard removal/replacement.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
  17. Winry Ember

    Winry Ember SS.org Regular

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    I haven't learned anything past changing the strings... Although before reading this post, I didn't realize so much went into it!! I've only heard of adjusting the truss rods.

    I wouldn't say it's because I'm afraid or intimidated, though. Unlike the posters above, I'm not a tinkerer, and I'd just rather spend my time doing other things... I only know how to change my strings because I have to xD

    After reading this post, though, I'm intrigued. I'll have to look into setting a guitar more :D
     
  18. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    thing that makes me laugh somewhat though, is these "pro's that will set it up for me" are likely just guitarists themselves who decided to tinker, got good at it, then charged to do it as a service. How many luthier/techs are there that are not remotely musicians?. I would say probably none.

    So basically you are taking your guitar, to be setup by another guitarist based on HIS setup preferences and paying money for that?

    wow. When you think about it from this perspective, its even more stupid imo.
     
  19. marcwormjim

    marcwormjim SS.org Regular

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    Not to contradict the speculation-informed flight-of-fancy, but no:

    The Customers pay you to set it up to their preferences - especially if they don't know them. The less they know, the more certain they are that you've ruined their guitar by making it feel different from what they're used to.

    Even after explaining, as you would to a dog, that they should stop by and expect the adjusted guitar to require some further tweaking to zero in on what's personally comfortable to them, some will nevertheless swipe the guitar, leave in a huff, and warn others about the moron at the store who sets the strings "too low." That all you had done was match the saddle radius to the fingerboard with a gauge will never be heard, understood, or vindicated - By anybody. But you have ten more guitars to change strings on, and you see a pack of 13-58 flat wounds wedged under the four remaining, rusty strings of a TRS-equipped RG, with a post-it saying "Standard."

    Another horror story didn't happen to me, but was a highlight of a store's policy-informed history: The store-owner panicked and bought an American Standard Strat from GC for a customer who called the police after a tech made a truss adjustment to dial out a severe neck bow. The guy claimed his neck was "ruined" because it no longer had the concave appearance of a drained municipal reservoir that he was accustomed to. The details of the aftermath were tight-lipped, but I suspect the tech quit once the owner demanded he reimburse him for the panic-purchase. I don't know if the customer left with both guitars or took the one as a replacement.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
  20. InHiding

    InHiding SS.org Regular

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    I think setting up your own guitar is a great skill to have. Better to learn it with a cheap guitar. Floyd Rose is really the one thing a reasonably careful might still fuck up. You don't want to adjust the bridge height screws while the strings are on! Otherwise just be careful and do small adjustments at first. Electronics is pretty easy once you understand that the role of the volume and tone pots is to "leak" your signal to the ground (i.e. make it "disappear"). It's all you need to know (almost :)). Do it!




    Sorry for the stupid videos!
     

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