Baby, Don’t Fear The Truss Rod

Checking for proper neck relief (or neck “bow”) is a fundamental part of setting up a guitar. When necessary, relief can be adjusted using the guitar’s truss rod. However, the thought of adjusting a truss rod can be a bit intimidating to those who have never done it. If you are a first-timer, take heart: … Read more

Ten Tips to Keep Your Axe Sharp

There’s an old parable of a woodsman chopping down trees in the forest. He labors for hours, chopping furiously, with little progress. As he toils, a passing traveler observes his situation. “I couldn’t help but notice how hard you’re working, with so little to show for it,” the traveler says. “I can see your axe … Read more

Your Strat® Tremolo is a Mafia Boss

Your Strat®-style tremolo bar is one shifty character. It can wreak havoc on your guitar’s tuning, without ever getting its own hands dirty. It accomplishes this by recruiting others to do its dirty-work, while it sits quietly in the background, pulling the strings. It’s like the don of a large crime syndicate, and to keep your … Read more

Reclaimed Koa “Bunk Bed” Guitar Necks

I love to watch a guitar being made of repurposed or reclaimed wood. It’s exciting to observe the process as a seemingly worn-out piece of wood is given new life as a guitar or bass. I’ve seen guitar bodies made of wood reclaimed from old hockey sticks, industrial pallets, skateboard decks, surfboards, outhouses, barns, and bridges. … Read more

Top 10 Ways to Destroy a Perfectly Good Guitar (or Bass)

10. Smash It To Bits The list of well-known artist who have smashed a guitar on stage is long. It includes Eddie Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Garth Brooks. Perhaps the most famous of them all is Pete Townsend, guitarist for The Who. Or is it Paul Simonon, of the Clash? 9. Burn it Jimi … Read more

Warmoth and the Nightswan

If you cut your guitar-playing teeth in the 80’s, you probably remember Kramer’s Nightswan guitar. You probably also remember the magazine ad that was so ubiquitous at the time: Vivian Campbell leaning against a white French door, hair perfectly teased, while a fog machine and a lightning storm rage outside. What you might not be aware of, however, is … Read more

A Guide to Guide-Holes, or How NOT to Crack Your Headstock

Guide-hole diagram

Building a well-crafted electric guitar or bass requires patience. As tempting as it can be to rush or cut corners, the most successful builds ultimately go to those with the patience to take all the necessary steps, no matter how tedious. One such step, often skipped by the impatient or the inexperienced, is properly drilling the … Read more

The Golden Age of the Whammy Bar: 1969 – 1989

The English language is an interesting thing. It’s full of contradicting terms, colloquialisms, and misnomers that confuse and mislead. The name “tremolo bar”, for example. The word “tremolo” refers to a fluctuation in volume, but a tremolo bar alters pitch. It should therefore technically be called a vibrato bar, and yet it remains almost universally known … Read more