Archive for the ‘Maintenance’ Category

GarageBand to Include Guitar Lessons From Major Artists – Like Sting

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

There is nothing we love more than guitars here at Fretbase.  The only thing that comes close, however, is new technology.  So this morning we’re riveted by the liveblogs of Apple’s keynote presentation at MacWorld.  Little did we know how much our two worlds would collide.

During the presentation, Apple announced that in the newest version of GarageBand video guitar lessons would be made available for $4.99.  And we’re not talking about guitar lessons from the guy who works in your local guitar store.  We’re talking about lessons from major artists like Sting and John Fogerty.

In the words of the editors at Engadget, “My prediction: This feature alone is going to sell hundreds of thousands of Macintoshes.”

Photo courtesy of Engadget

Macworld Keynote Liveblog (Engadget)

Tip: Don’t Use a Guitar Cable to Connect a Head and Cab

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Quick little tip we’re going to share with you.  When connecting your amp head to the cab make sure you use a speaker cable to connect the two.  Just because a 1/4″ guitar cable fits and even may work doesn’t mean you should use it for the connection.

Why you ask?  Guitar cables are “signal” cables and designed to carry very small currents – like the current that gets generated by your magnetic pickups.  These cables are also shielded to prevent external signals from interefering.  While speaker cables are designed to carry larger currents and don’t require any shielding.

Using a guitar cable for connecting a head and cab can eventually destroy the guitar cable since it can’t handle the higher currents.  Your guitar cable could eventually melt and short out.  It’s also a risk to your amp too since the shielding in guitar cables can interfere with the correct loading of the amp.

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Clean Your Strings The Easy Way

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, there is nothing like putting on a new set of strings to really make your guitar sing.  However, unless you have a roady, you don’t really want to spend the time to do this on a daily basis.  Accordingly, do the next best thing:  clean ‘em.

A Brooklyn-based company called ToneGear has recently released a product called “The String Cleaner,” which makes it a lot easier to clean your strings.  The product has a portion that slides between the fingerboard and strings to enable a thorough cleaning from the top and bottom of the strings.  Bottom line:  your strings sound better and you get to re-string less.  The product one a “Best in Show” award during NAMM ’08 in Nashville and will be distributed by D’Addario to music stores everywhere.

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Guitar Cleaning Tip: Steel Wool

Friday, July 25th, 2008


A while back Dave and I were visiting Schoenberg Guitars in Tiburon, California checking out the great selection and we received a little trick of the trade that we’ll share with you.

One potential problem with a satin finish is that over time the oils and sweat in your fretting hand gradually build up on the neck of your guitar, creating a thin coat on your neck that isn’t always ideal for playing.

Ought 4 steel wool” was the advice Eric gave and it worked like charm.  I own a Martin Custom D Classic Mahogany with a satin finish that I tried it on and was able to rub off a lot of oil from the neck, giving it a very smooth, easy to play neck.

You can buy #0000 Steel Wool at Amazon or any local hardware store.  Just take your time and do a little rubbing and then wipe clean.  You may have to spend some time rubbing to perfection, but it definitely improved the feel of the neck.

How to Restring Your Guitar

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Recently, our friend Sumir from Ramo Games was here at Fretbase.  Of course, he was required to bring his guitar.  After Brian and I played it a little, we complimented him on how good it sounded.  “Thanks,” he said. “I just restrung it.  It makes a huge difference.”  For once, Sumir was right.

When you play your guitar, grease from your fingers and dust get into the windings of the strings and, over time, the strings sound less bright.  Since this happens gradually, you don’t realize how much brilliance your strings have lost until you restring.  At a minimum, you should restring every 2-3 months.  Serious guitar players recommend restringing no more than once every six weeks.  Professional guitarists will often restring before each performance.  New strings dramatically improve the quality of sound you can get from your guitar.  It only takes about ten minutes and all you need is a good wire cutter and a new set of strings.

So why not now? Here’s how…

Photo Credit:  Rick Harris under a Creative Commons License

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