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Guitarist's Tech Workshop

Lesson 2 of 18

Problem Areas of Maintenance

Kurt Bloch, Ben Verellen

Guitarist's Tech Workshop

Kurt Bloch, Ben Verellen

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Lesson Info

2. Problem Areas of Maintenance


  Class Trailer
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2 Problem Areas of Maintenance Duration:14:08
3 Proper Stringing Techniques Duration:04:31
4 Proper Standard Rock Setup Duration:34:10
6 Proper Drop Tuning Setup Duration:39:49
7 Electronic Maintenance Duration:22:11
8 Electricity Basics Duration:24:06
9 Reading a Schematic Duration:06:53
10 Using a Multimeter Duration:10:20
14 Preamplifier Circuit Design Duration:28:25
15 Power Amplifier Circuit Design Duration:10:36
16 The Phase Inverter Duration:03:58
17 The Power Supply Duration:15:03
18 Final Q&A Duration:08:44

Lesson Info

Problem Areas of Maintenance

The problem areas where you're gonna have you're your most adjustment your most decision decisions to make on how to set up your guitar clean the balancing act at the nut of the guitar the slots you can see here the little slot that thea string goes into is very is critical to be as close to the actual diameter of the string is you as you can get it and because you want the string to contact that slot at the bottom of it as best it can sew it fully stops the vibration of that strength and the angle in which the string crosses that um is also is also critical because while you're tuning a guitar and while you're while you're playing it stretching the strings that string will travel over this if you pull it it will pull a little of the string from here and then we release it it will go back through there so that you want the string to be fully cut off from vibration yet able to travel through there fairly easily like if you're bending a string it will you know it will pull through there ...

and any friction in there that you don't want will tend tio bind and you you you bring the string up and it will pay out a little bit of strength through there and then you release it and it will get stuck in there a little bit and so when it comes back when you let it go, it will be the string will be a little sharp and you won't like that it's so that is definitely a critical area um as same thing here, you want different kinds of bridges will will work differently in that aspect, but the the ability for things that strings to not get stuck in there, like if it's gets banter, if you if you tune it and then let it go, you don't want to, you know, there's there's, there's little sciences to every every little bit of this, um and you don't you don't want anything to be buzzing or raveling on the instrument unless for some reason, you know, people people don't want, you know, they want to hear that way want to hear the thing go and not go, really, even even even if there's, you know, there's left things that can double, really but you know, they're they're usually pretty easy to track down the little odds and ends and a little rattle it's good to have a clean fingerboard a lot of people don't even consider that, and they play guitar for, you know, six months or a year and end up with all kinds of grime and you know it and I never really thought about that I guess it is the ends of your finger it ground into the ground into the wood there but that's, you know something to you as something to take care of a quick question actually moving back a little bit when somebody online who at should the nut in an electric guitar be glued or should it be held in place with only the tension of the strings? I always grew them, um, you know, some guitars, they may be over glue them a little bit, I don't think you know, if if you if you're not, is properly said in there, it should be fairly fairly, fairly tight in the bottom of it should be parallel to the slot that's cut in there. And most important, important, the leading edge of the nut is perfectly parallel to the end of the fingerboard there because that's, you know, that's very critical, if if if you don't do a very good job and there's, you know, little little gap in there, something like that guitar won't tune properly to begin with, um and, you know, just a little bit of glue in there to make sure it's it's in there well, I don't think there's any benefit to not gluing it in this forest a ce far as I can tell, you know, a couple a couple little drops of glue wood glue will hold it in there and then if you take that if you take all the strings off to clean the guitar up which which we will do um you won't lose it we will get into we're getting the trust right adjustments in in a little bit and getting the uh keeping the pops of the potential mater's clean and less crackle free and clean that's important um we're getting a stringing techniques a question just real quick aa lot of my friends get into down tuning guitars slightly and while I'm not professional this far is working on guitars I end up seeing a bunch of them when things go wrong um the down tuning thing tends to coincide with putting on thicker strings on dh without doing any adjustment to the nut sometimes that causes it to break do you have any suggestions on superior materials? I mean there's brass there's graphite there's spohn what would you think would be a good choice for durability and not bind well I'm kind of a traditionalist in, you know, in the in materials I a good well cut bone nut pretty good there's also the synthetic bone ones and there's ones that are made out of graphite that seemed like they weren't great, but I don't I don't know that you know, just be just because you have a big giant string big giant low strings that in itself, I don't think is going to cause the nut to break or anything like that. It is good to make sure that you're not slot is right for the strings that you have. Um, so we do have we do have a set of nut files here and, well, time to that a little in a little bit later to just make sure that low strings because of a guitar when it comes from the, uh, you know, comes from the factory a lot of times there set up for, you know, sort of a normal stream gauge, which would be, you know, ten through forty six or eleven through forty eight you know? And then if you end up with a fifty six or sixty on your low e string it's not going to fit, you know, it's going toe, you're gonna have your nuts slot and your string is goingto be sort of sitting on top of the slot and it's not going it's not going to sound good it's not gonna work very good, and I'll show you a fairly easy way, tio to make it right and it's, you know, it would be better to have the slot too big than too small would you suggest if somebody's, considering going toe a much have irrigation? If they don't do their own work, they bring it to somebody and have it worked on so it is correct for that larger sure you you know, if you're going toe I think I would say, you know the most guitars if it's bigger than a fifty or so on the low e string you need to address that I think we have a set of it has a fifty four on the low e string and we'll uh we'll try widening it a little bit later you know, just it's it's not it's, not hard but if you're not sure of yourself, you know would be good teo I mean, you have to take care of it otherwise of the slots too big it's it's not going to sound right and it's going to stick in there it's going to bind then you're not going to be ableto little go out of tune it won't be in tune to begin with and it will go out of tune much easier so yes need teo, you need to look at that and just one last question about bridges and not so how do you feel about the role of bridges and nuts they're available? I'm great I feel I feel pretty good about I'm just curious because you don't really see them from the manufacturers a lot of the time is, you know, initial, you know originally equipped parts right at in on a guitar like this with a fixed with a fixed tail piece, you know, roller bridge, maybe not that necessary, but with some sort of a tremolo, like a big detail piece or something like that, it can make things so much easier, you know, because you can't even hear sometimes you can even hear it on records, like somebody bending a string, and you hear this little took and it's, you know, a string getting bound here or bound in the band on the bridge, and if you have, if you have a vibrato tail piece, you're basically just screeching the strings over something that's not made to be scratched over and you can you know, you some sort of graphite on there, but a roller bridge can really solve a lot of problems that you don't that you really don't need to be worried about, and they make them that are exactly the same size that you could just set right on there. So there's many good reasons for yeah, I'm a fan of I've been a lot, so it helps, right? Right, right preserved there's there's no there's, no question that that that this is a good is a good thing it's a good invention question for you. Get some online who says I have a guitar with a floating bridge that when tuned to standard pitch, it will stay in tune when I dive the bar, but when I bend any string, the string goes sharp and then out of tune with the rest of the strings when you think could be causing that generally the string that's bent and coming back sharp is going to be in the nut the issue with that that, as as we're saying, this is as you've been the string, it pulls a cz you can imagine just imagine what is happening when you do that it pulls the metal through this thing and then when you let the string go, it should slide back you know, there should be would be great if there was zero friction there, but there can't be because it's, you know, three sixteenths in shoot plastic or some sort of material that the string of sliding against so the main problem with every guitar is with this g string and many because the one you've been the most it's, the one that's going to sound the most rotten, you know, playing e quartered with it out often because it's a it's an interval that will display the out of tunis the easiest and if it's just g string on the guitar is the easily the achilles heel of guitar players because it will tend to go sharp and sounds it's the worst string to have be sharp when you're playing so the idea is to get rid of his much friction, especially on that string as you can and players can also be aware of that well, they're playing if you're sitting there playing in rear area or anything or bending it and you play at a quarter to quarter whatever it is and here that's what you can just without even thinking about it basically, if you play accord after you bet some strings and it sounds gnarly, you can almost for sure no it's that stringing me sharp and just come in and give it a little pull whenever you can, you know, just like, just give a little give the little yank and chances are it will pulling up to the string back there there and put it back into but that was, you know, ninety percent of the time is going to be the problem, you know, it's that you just you hear it every time somebody plays a soul on ben's strings and they go for that aid cord or whatever and just there's been times it shows that I wanted to just, like, go give it a little tough and things like that that will help you, but just just try it, you know, next time you get that sand it's, little out of tune instead of, you know, playing the rest of the song and then returning. Just just give a little paul call sometimes little. Sometimes it'll just treat you right.

Class Description

Performing a proper setup for your guitar can seem like a dark art requiring a copper chalice filled with incense. Reading a schematic of a tube amplifier can seem like you’re staring at ancient Sanskrit. Guitar and tube amp masters Kurt Bloch and Ben Verellen are here to help.

In this two-part workshop, Kurt and Ben will show you exactly how to get the best sound out of your gear.

In part-one Kurt will teach the basics of setting up your guitar – you’ll learn about:

  • Truss rod adjustment
  • Bridge and nut adjustment
  • String gauge and playing style
  • Guitar maintenance and upkeep
  • Guitar electronics and pickups

Part-two is your primer on tube amplifiers. Kurt and Ben will explain how they work and show you how to keep them sounding great. You’ll learn:

  • Tube biasing
  • Block diagrams and understanding schematics
  • Basic amplifier maintenance
  • Capacitor, resistor, and transformer replacement
  • Speaker repair and power-matching

Kurt Bloch is not only Gibson Guitar’s in-house guitar guru, he’s a legend in the Seattle music scene. He plays in The Fastbacks and Young Fresh Fellows and has a producer credits for his work with The Presidents of the United States of America and Tokyo Dragons. Ben Verellen started Verellen Amplifiers in 2000 and now has a full-time staff churning out hand made custom tube amplifiers for some of the most respected artists in rock and metal. He also fronts Helms Alee, a rock band based in Seattle.

Don’t get caught with crappy tone and blown out speaker – let these two masters show how to take care of your gear and get the best possible sound.


Patrick Marc

This is a fantastic course. I was forever looking up Youtube videos on how to set up all of my guitars for different things, and opinion varies wildly on-line, so it's really great to have these videos detailing the entire process in clear and easy terms. The information on the amplifiers is intensely interesting too. Fantastic!

Alan Williams

Excellent course. Slow start with the guitar set up but Kurt knows his stuff so worth watching it to the end before deciding you don't like it. I came across valves (tubes) at the age of 12 (I'm 66 now) and it was a great refrresher for me. Ben really knows his stuff but he can put it into layman terms that are easy to understand. I definitely recommend this course.

Andrew Synowiec

I bought this course for the amplifier section and skipped straight there. It's fantastic. Right at the perfect level for me, a newbie DIY-er with a few pedals, a kit amp and an Electronics 101 course under my belt. Well done! I'll update my review if I have time to watch the guitar section.