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Saturday, August 11, 2018
Time For a Tune-up
Time For a Tune-up
Tune-up? Is this cranky old man out of shape? Well yes, but the tune-up is not for me.
“But” you ask, “You just turned in your 11-year-old Jeep for a new Honda…surely it does not need a tune-up.” No, not the new car.
My guitar, my precious all mahogany Martin guitar needed a tune-up. “Tune-up a guitar?” you ask. “Don’t you always have to periodically adjust the tuning?” Why yes, that is why they have pegs to tighten or loosen the strings to put them in tune, this is a different tune-up.
Several strings on the guitar were buzzing. Now I am not a skilled musician, I do not play as cleanly as a pro and I have a tin ear, but can hear a buzzing string. If I fret perfectly, the string should not buzz, especially on a higher end instrument. The buzzing drove me up a wall.
When I put the guitar away in its case with a humidifying device, the buzzing stopped, but if I forgot to put it away for a day or two, the buzzing came back. I suspected the buzzing was because the guitar neck was affected by low humidity. Research on the internet confirmed my suspicions.
Adjusting the neck on a Martin guitar requires a special tool. It also requires some special knowledge and experience. I have neither, so I took the guitar to a guitar mechanic also called a luthier.
I picked it up today, and the strings do not buzz, the action (playability) is much nicer, and the strings are perfectly in tune whether played open, or the same note fretted.
The luthier advised a guitar needs a tune-up once or twice a year and at least every two years. My guitar is over two years old.
The luthier is not cheap, worth it, but not cheap. I intend to buy the special tool, read up on the tune-up process, and practice on one of my less expensive guitars…or maybe just grit my teeth and pay a professional to do it right every other year. Yeah, that is probably the way to go.