The most common questions I get involve
playing in tune. If you ever hear a clicking
or “tinking” when tuning, take a moment
and lube your nut slots. A sharp pencil, Big
Bends Nut Sauce, GHS GraphitALL, or
Stewart MacDonald Guitar Grease will get
the job done. I should put a sticker in every
guitar case that says, “Did you remember
to lube your nut today?”
Because being in tune is so important,
intonating a guitar should be something every
player should learn to do. If your guitar neck
has too much bow in the wrong spot, or high
strings at the nut, playing in tune will be a
huge challenge. Adjusting your trussrod is
another thing guitarists should be able to do.
Unfortunately, leveling your frets and getting
your nut slots the correct height is not so
easily done at home, but it can make a tremendous
difference in playability and tuning.
A crackly or intermittent jack on an electric
guitar, amp, or pedal can usually be fixed by
rolling up a two- or three-inch piece of 320-
600 grit sandpaper into a smaller than cigarette-
sized roll and sanding out the inside
of the jack. Be sure to roll it up small so it
will fit deep enough into the jack to sand the
contact where the tip of the cable touches
the jack. If you have some pot cleaner or a
little oil, you can put some on the sandpaper
too. The reason this works is in time,
the inside of the jack oxidizes or rusts to the
point that little or no contact is made. It is
a simple fix that can bring a guitar, amp, or
stompbox back to life in a flash.
On guitars that use small screws to set the
bridge height—very common on Fenderstyle
guitars—it is not unusual for them
to slip and have the saddle slowly work
down until the string is no longer playable.
You can use a toothpick to apply a very
small drop of nail polish or Loctite to the
top or bottom of the screw thread.
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