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> The DIY musician - Guitar & Bass Tone Quest, 100% DIY Guitar & Bass Improvement

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TSjohnlauguitars
post Nov 10 2011, 02:25 PM, updated 8y ago

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DIY Self-gratifying Guitar & Bass thread

Hi ,
I'm John Lau from PJ . After soooo many months on twiddling around Low yet net , I decided well.. maybe its time I gain up some guts and share some of my
personal knowledge over the years . For some who already know who I am and visited my workshop , thank you . For those who dont , I operate a guitar repair workshop in PJ SS2 , I also conduct several guitar servicing workshop a year in music institutions for the past 4 years , these info are for sharing . Many times people ask "why you sharing? you not cari makan with this meh ? " , My answer is .. Not all work you need to send to a pro , many times , you can do a better job cuz no one knows your playing style better then you do . Every guitar is different , you like it or not.. I dont know if anyone's gonna read this long winded thread , but I guess its an OK attempt .. I'll try update this thread as much as my time may allow . I do have a FB page which constantly have free tutorias , feel free to add me @ JohnLau guitar repair center . For those who would like to share , MOST welcome . I'm still on a constant learning progress , would love to also hear some insights and comments or even ways to improve the DIY services . Please note also , NO SALES PITCH PLEASE This is FREE INFO for sharing . Thanks in advance. For those who have questions or discussions , feel free to contact me @ 012-2666450 or my shop line @ 03-78650722 .. But please be considerate... dun la call me after 11pm... tongue.gif

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You CAN do a SUUUPER pro setup yourself ... I mean PRO !!! Thomas Nordegg ( steve vai's tech) , rené martinez (John mayer's tech) ,Mark Synder (John Petrucci's tech) .. Stay Tune .





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For the first post i'm sharing ... its setting up a 5 string Sadowsky Bass . View Below Post.

This post has been edited by johnlauguitars: Nov 10 2011, 02:27 PM
freakfingers12
post Nov 10 2011, 02:40 PM

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Haha nice. Too many people have been sending guitars for servicing and sometimes, some shops charge way too much for a simple intonation service. Some shop in Seremban wanted to charge me RM120 to intonate my guitar.
yaoding
post Nov 10 2011, 04:33 PM

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Nice post. Thanks for sharing. I might be able to increase my knowledge as a newbie on guitar here.
TSjohnlauguitars
post Nov 10 2011, 05:37 PM

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The most "mythical" work where people get confused and mostly afraid is the " INTONATION"
In my years of doing this work .. Its honestly the MOST simple work anyone could do at home..
all you need is a tuner ( no , you dont need a strobe and all ) , just a tuner which can detect up to 5cent+- ( you can see on the scale)
is good enough for human ears and even antares auto tune ! and a screw driver .This tutorial is shared using a 5 string bass , but its the same for all guitars , bass etc. Thats all. Lets start !
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Lets start with the "G" string , I tune it up to "concert pitch" which in layman term.. meaning "standard" tuning . SO as u can see, the tuning is "g" ngam ngam.
Easy? Next step .

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Press the 12th fret , look at the tuner . the 12th fret is 12 semitone apart meaning , it SHOULD be a " G" also , but 1 octave higher .

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OH NO!!! Its not PERFECT middle ... HOW?? Meaning this string needs intonation . This one is too "Sharp" . Now , take out your screw driver .. look at the bridge bottom.


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See the screw , make sure you find a screw driver the EXACT same size , you dont wanna spoil that screw..


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Rule is SIMPLE.
If reading on "12th Fret is Flat , you LOOSEN the screw . Or another perspective , you REDUCE the distance of the Nut and the bridge . See the finger direction ? If the reading is "SHarp" then you do the reverse , which is TIGHTEN the Screw .


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I'm tightening .. See the direction of my fingers .. thats where you wanna go . Next question might be.. How much to turn?
Simple , Just turn 1/2 a turn everytime if your'e not confident .. Next step . tune the string back to the standard tuning again .
in this case , you might see that the tuning "sharpens" its ok , just tune it back to G. Test Again , press 12th fret .

Repeat process above until you get PERFECT in the middle G . This means , your "G"string is INTONATED !!! Repeat process for all strings .


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A few quick tips .
1. Try to do it in normal playing position . try not to let it lie down .
2. Do small increments in the screw adjustments , dont turn too much ..
3. If the screw's are too tight , try loosening the strings , tune up , and intonate .
4. Do same steps if youre doing for Drop C , Drop A etc. most important , Open string = 12th fret .

Hope you guys enjoy this . Gimme a note if you like this , or u could email me @ [email protected] for questions .
FOr a more detailed work , you can look here .
Bass intonation


Added on November 10, 2011, 5:40 pm
QUOTE(freakfingers12 @ Nov 10 2011, 02:40 PM)
Haha nice. Too many people have been sending guitars for servicing and sometimes, some shops charge way too much for a simple intonation service. Some shop in Seremban wanted to charge me RM120 to intonate my guitar.
*
hahah... u have not heard of a "setup" for RM500 yet bro... got people doing this kinda "level" of job one...

This post has been edited by johnlauguitars: Nov 10 2011, 06:10 PM
junky_man
post Nov 10 2011, 06:30 PM

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Hi TS, my friend sent his bass to you before i believe. You also said to him intonation can be done at home. laugh.gif

thanks for the infos in this thread. I'll be sure to contact you when i need to service my guitars.

You do service noob level guitars right? sweat.gif
TSjohnlauguitars
post Nov 10 2011, 06:43 PM

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RUSTY Guitar screws?? Wanna make it look new and wont rust again??[COLOR=red]


Here a SUPER simple thing you guys can do , specially for those with sweaty palms or Old rusty guitar .
trust me. its SUPER SIMPLE.

What you need

1. Screwdriver
2.Sand paper - 400 - 600 grit .
3. (optional) black paint and art brush .
4. Oil lubricant spray (anti rust ) WD40 or RP 7






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Look at the screws .. Its rusty and lost its dark black gloss ... If you leave it like this still ,the oxidization will EAT into the screws.. when time comes , not only you need to change the screws , it will become IMPOSSIBLE to exstract the screws.. So for people that loves pickup changing etc , BEWARE of screw rusting .

We're gonna make it look like this .

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2 simple step .

step 1 .
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take the screw out carefully , rub the rusted head on the 400 or 600 grit sandpaper till you see the rust gone and the silver surface showing .
leave it aside and continue on with the other screws .If you dont wan the balck finish we're doing next , just soak the screws into anti rust spray like
RP7 , WD 40 . soak it in the liquid for an hour , rub it clean and screw them back . this is to keep it from rusting , if youre into black screw ,DONT soak it in the solution , just follow the next step .

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Take a paint brush , paint the top of the screw head . use thin layers .
some questions would be , what type of paint to use ? Use only OIL paint , or hardware shop , tell them black paint for IRON or METAL .
Leave it dry for a day , and fix it back . SImple ?



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Some tips .

1.DONT DO THIS WHEN SCREW IS ON THE GUITAR , take it out !!!
2.Do it one by one if youre worried to mess anything up in the electronics .
3.WD-40 and RP-7 is a working musician's best friend.. Keep it around , i'll have tons more tutorial for its usage .

Hope you guys like it .

Best.
J


Added on November 10, 2011, 6:48 pm
QUOTE(junky_man @ Nov 10 2011, 06:30 PM)
Hi TS, my friend sent his bass to you before i believe. You also said to him intonation can be done at home. laugh.gif

thanks for the infos in this thread. I'll be sure to contact you when i need to service my guitars.

You do service noob level guitars right? sweat.gif
*
Ya lor .. Simple work you guys can do at home .. No need waste money one .
Back in the states , everyone does their own setup .. cuz it cost USD150 for a regular setup. just a quantum check , an american standard 2nd hand strat
goes for USD650-750. thats almost 30% of a strat price.


Added on November 10, 2011, 6:52 pmAnything you guys curious to learn , just hit me a post . I'll see what I can do .
Cheers !

Dont forget to facebook me

John Lau Guitar Services

This post has been edited by johnlauguitars: Nov 10 2011, 06:52 PM
freakfingers12
post Nov 10 2011, 07:14 PM

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RM500?! Crazy man. I can't understand some techs these days, charging so much for simple service.

BTW, can you post a tutorial regarding truss rods, when do you adjust them, how do you do it, why do you do it? I think it'll be great as if you mess up the truss rod badly, you can end up with a broken neck. I've seen some cases where the person doesn't know about that and ended up screwing up his guitar neck.
TSjohnlauguitars
post Nov 10 2011, 07:24 PM

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Re-string a BIGSBY style bridge - The easy way

For many years , I own a nice 62 tele , and yes.. It was an ORIGINAL 62 tele (drool tak?) .. until the previous
owner decided to retrofit the beauty with a BIGSBY!!! .. Hence.. it lost all its vintage value... I bought it , and teared over it for
many years ... The tele never really saw the light of day... I hated Bigsby since... But come to today , Floydrose is soooo out ,
and stop tails are just not versatile enough .. The cool kids uses. BIGSBY!!! Again ... But re-stringing a bigsby can really be a pain in the A**..
Here's how to do it the EASY way .

What you need .

1. Masking tape OR A regular Capo .

thats all .




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For those who are already reading this post... YOU FEEL the pain before of doing it doing the regular way, u wished u had another hands helping u right?


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The ball end has to get capped on those poles you see here.. and ALWAYS runs and twangs out if you dont give enough tension to it .


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The ball end .. (make sure you use ball end.. Fender bullets DONT WORK on bigsby..

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Bend it round first using a pen or something similiar .this is to reduce the kick back twang once you"trained" the strings .

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Put the strings in.. It should be easy once its bended in . Next step is where the trick comes in. watch closely!

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Use a regular low tack masking tape . I use masking tape because they dont hurt the finishing or leave goooey marks on the board.
pull the string behind , and tape the string down around the 5th fret . If youre using a capo . capo the string down the 5th fret . Make sure the string
doenst lose the tention .


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You now have 2 HANDS!!!!! to do the winding !! Easy trick right ?
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After your'e done , slowly remove the tape and tune up ! no snappy strings !!


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Hope you guys liked it .

Add me on FB for more tutorials .


Guitar services Info & DIY !
aneyekay1
post Nov 10 2011, 08:18 PM

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can u show how to set string height on a guitar?
*tune-o-matic and vintage style tremolo to be exact

and how about adjusting the neck of an electric guitar too

This post has been edited by aneyekay1: Nov 10 2011, 08:21 PM
TSjohnlauguitars
post Nov 10 2011, 08:48 PM

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I've got one on my FB page on neck adjustment . its pretty detailed . Check it out !
Be nice to "like" my page too .. A show of support will give me more "umph" to post up more
awesome stuffs !!

John's Facebook Page !

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TSjohnlauguitars
post Nov 10 2011, 10:47 PM

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Setting up any neck is really not hard..
this tutorial will help you to DIY neck adjustments.
Yes, there are people out there that says " if you do wrong, it will break your guitar neck, etc." Unless your truss rod ALREADY has issues , it will take approx 13N of force to break the steel bar inside .. thats equivalent to 130kg of force.. SO dont worry bout it . lets try the step by step .

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I'm gonna show you guys how to do it step by step , its the same for ALL truss rods , BASS , Guitar , Acoustic etc. Anything with truss rod.

What you need.
1.Tuner
2. Truss Rod key (should be included with the guitar u bought )
3. A Capo
4. Lots of time.. specially if youre a first timer !

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Take off the cover , sometimes the your slot will be on the bottom of the neck , where ever it is , its the same .

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Look carefully at the nut , fine the PERFECT fitting key , normally it comes with the guitar , but if not , look for the exact ones . DONT try something that ALMOST fit.. you will screw things up .

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Tune the guitar up to pitch ,strap on a capo on the First Fret

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Hold the guitar up to playing position and fret down the 13th fret
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Look at the 6th fret . the string and the fret should have some clearance.
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This guitar is buzzing .. the fret is almost touching the string on the 6th fret.. there is not enough relief .
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Normally , a good guideline is the space inbetween the 6th fret and the string can fit PERFECTLY a thick name card. Anyone that has my name card can use it , its EXACTLT 0.063" .hahah . yes , its made for that purpose. Come get a NAME card from me if you need !
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Low Action , but if you wanna increase action , you LOOSEN the truss rod ( Anti-clockwise)
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High action , But if you wanna lower the action , you TIghten the truss rod ( Clock-wise)
it really depends on your taste . You like it high , you give it relief , you dont life you tension it up !
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this is bad ... THis is touching .. so .. no good. it will buzz and kill sustain. You need to Loosen the truss rod.
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Nice fitting . Okay , let me teach u how to "give or release relief" its easy . Grab your keys for the truss rod.
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Look directly at your adjustment nut like this . look at the direction of the arrow . DO THIS - IF
1. Action is TOO HIGH , painful for fingers to play
2. You like shredding and place playing .
3. You like the "twangy" buzz but need to strum SUUPER hard to get it .
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Look at this , Do this direction if
1.Action too low , Buzzing like made from 1st-13th fret .
2. You dont hear the "resonance" coming out of the guitar . Guitar sound dead.
3. Fret touching the strings already on the 6th fret when doing the capo + 13th fret.
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I normally let the guitar neck set for bout 15 mins
to let the wood and tension sip in..
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ROCK IT OUT !! TEST IT !! feel it , if you like it more higher action , loosen the rod , if you like to shred on it and want lower , tighten it . If you hear unnecessary buzzing even when playing lightly , then increase the action by loosening the rod. simple !


Next question you might ask ,
How much to turn?? Its easy . dont turn more then 45 degree everytime . Turn 45degree , tune , rest 15min ,test .
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THis is what I mean by 45 degree , if youre Tightening , its from this side .
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to this side . Trust me , if you do these small increament , you WONT GO WRONG. DONT TURN THE ROD like screwdriver ! if it does not react after 3 turns , chances are , truss rod koyak before you even touched it .
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Here's wat it look like with my tool . from herer!
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to here ! its easy ! Try it !

email me for questions
[email protected]
Tell me if you like it !


Added on November 10, 2011, 11:01 pmApa lagi mau belajar? let me know .
I'll try my best to update this once a week . Just Bump me if you like it .
Share this with as much people as possible .

This post has been edited by johnlauguitars: Nov 10 2011, 11:01 PM
ecitenoid
post Nov 11 2011, 07:08 AM

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i love this post.! thanks for sharing bro.! smile.gif
TSjohnlauguitars
post Nov 11 2011, 03:36 PM

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Anything else you guys wan me to share?
soad_vs_incubus
post Nov 11 2011, 04:06 PM

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mm how about how to crown the fret hehe?
aneyekay1
post Nov 11 2011, 06:44 PM

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QUOTE(johnlauguitars @ Nov 11 2011, 03:36 PM)
Anything else you guys wan me to share?
*
set string height on tune-o matic bridge?
ariffdude
post Nov 11 2011, 07:13 PM

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what about how to do paintjob? Need to know how to do proper clear coating.
regiuseven
post Nov 11 2011, 07:26 PM

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Wow awesome thread! Thanks sir for the share.

Hehe also any tips on oiling for those owning unfinished/oiled guitars? Tung oil, gunstock oil etc.
JoBigShow
post Nov 11 2011, 10:40 PM

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Great Thread! thumbup.gif thumbup.gif thumbup.gif

I remembered ages ago, about a dog's life time ago I was a cheap-skate student who was often short of money to send to technician, because some of their cut-throat service charges.
I learn and became a pretty alright self-service guitar "technician". laugh.gif
Kudos for this thread to enlighten the LY.ners here that everyone can self service their weapon. nod.gif

Anyways, I remembered I use to bath very rusty guitar parts in vinegar bath, the foul smell of the vinegar will put off some folks.
The rust will be fully removed when the solution is black sweat.gif
But later, I 'advanced' using electrolyte...good times...

Another weird thing, but effective. Can you believe you can clean chrome part with aluminium foil and coke?! shocking.gif
This is crazy, but it works. I think in the show 'Mythbusters' proved it.
regiuseven
post Nov 11 2011, 10:57 PM

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any tips for hiding hairline scratches for chromey parts? one of my pups doesn't look that clean cry.gif
lky88
post Nov 11 2011, 11:49 PM

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This should be a sticky , and you , should be knighted

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