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

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

Axe Hacks: Twelve MacGyver-Style Tips for Working on Your Guitar

A skilled luthier is worth their weight in gold, especially when it comes to more advanced tech work. There are a lot of things the average Joe can do for themselves, however. What’s even better, many of them don’t require don’t require fancy tools. Here are a few of my favorite “MacGyver-style” tech tricks that … Read more

Fight Club: Alder vs Ash Guitar Bodies

Since Leo Fender first used them in the 1950’s, Alder and Ash have become the most popular tonewoods for construction of solid-body bolt-on guitars. These two woods share many similarities, but also have some important differences. Knowing the properties of each will help you craft the sonic and visual personality of your guitar body. Let’s check ’em … Read more