Welcome to Tremayne Guitar

Useful Information

You can find tons of information on the Internet about guitar  maintenance, repairs and products.  Over time, you find certain processes that bare repeating.  This information is strictly my opinion.

Guitar Info

Environment - Temperature, humidity, UV rays, dirty air, how often you play your guitar and where you play it - all of these variables have an affect on wood.  Unless you have something really unique, we're talking over 95% of your guitar.  To my point, it is important to maintain your instrument often, especially if exposed to the above mentioned conditions on a regular basis.
 
Humidity, or the lack of it, such as dry air during the winter months, can wreak havoc on your guitar.  If conditions warrant it, you may want to consider investing in a guitar humidifier which can be purchased from a number of different music instrument retailers.
 
Extreme temperature change is hard on a guitar.  If you are going from one extreme to the other, leave your instrument in its closed case for a few minutes to allow for a more gradual adjustment to the temperature and humidity change.

Cleaning / Polishing - Dry wiping down your instrument with a clean soft cotton cloth after each use should go without saying.  This Fender Custom Shop '51 Nocaster NOSshould include every part of the guitar body, neck, headstock and fretboard (over and under the strings). 
 
To remove buildup from the instrument, I recommend using a clean, soft, damp cotton cloth.  Dry off the excess moisture using a clean soft cotton cloth or possibly a dry micro-fiber towel (if you can stand the way they feel).  Do not use this method to clean strings or a natural-finished fretboard (rosewood, ebony).
 
The application of an appropriate polish should be done periodically.  The two most common finishes that you will find on a guitar will be either a polyurethane or a nitrocellulose finish.  I have had very good results using Gibson's Pump Polish on my nitro and poly finished guitars.  These comments are restricted to all wooden or plastic surfaces of the guitar with the exception of the fretboard.
 
The vast majority of guitar fretboards are made of rosewood, ebony or maple.  These are very dense woods with very different characteristics.  Rosewood and ebony fretboards are left untreated.  The natural oils in the woods help protect them.  A maple fretboard is almost always sealed with a varnish or lacquer coating.  Rosewood and ebony  fretboards require periodic care as a result of their  unfinished nature - as opposed to the sealed maple fretboard.  I suggest you do some extensive research before you potentially damage your natural finished fretboard.  In most cases, as a result of the sealing process on the maple fretboard, minimal care, other than cleaning and the occasional polishing, should be required.
 
As a general rule, and with absolute regard to a natural wood fretboard, avoid products that contain silicone, silicone oils, or any type of wax.  As an observation, I have been very pleased with the results I get using Dr. Duck's AxWax.  This product contains no waxes, abrasives, silicones, synthetics or acids.

Storing a Guitar - If you are planning on storing a guitar for an extended period of time, it is a good idea to detune it (back off the string tension).  When your guitar is tuned, there is an enormous amount of tension placed on the neck, pulling the head of the guitar up.  If the guitar is being stored for an extended period of time, eventually, the neck will become concaved, or too much relief.  I have seen some cases where on a fixed-neck hollow-body guitar, the heel of the neck actually started to pull away from the body.  It will cost you a pretty penny to have the neck reset, so beware.

Amplifier Info

You should take care of your amplifier in the same manner in which you care for your guitar.  As a general rule:

  • Keep the cover on your amp when you are not using it.

  •  Periodically, clean the tolex covering and vacuum the front grill cloth, as well as inside of the cabinet (if it's an open-back style amp).

  • If your amp has tubes, typically it has a power toggle off-on switch and a stand-by toggle switch.  When turning the amp on, first flip the power on-off to on and give the amp a minute or so to warm up the tubes.  Then flip it off stand-by and you're ready to go.  If you take a few minutes break, flip it on to stand-by.  When you're ready to power it off, flip it on to stand-by for a few minutes, then flip the power off.  Give the tubes a little more time to cool off before you cover and move the amp.  I promise this will help to extend your tube life.  None of this is really applicable if your amp is of solid-state circuitry.

  • Do you feel that your tube amp isn't putting out the same level of power  as when it was new?  Your tubes have a limited life expectancy, and depending on how often you play, and how hard you drive the amp, the power and pre-amp tube complements will degrade and will need to be replaced.  Check with a qualified technician for a recommendation on the best tubes for your amp and playing style.

When replacing the tubes in your amp, there are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • Always unplug your amplifier before working on it.  Know what you are doing and always use caution.  If you are not familiar with the components or have any uncertainty about what you are doing, consult with a pro.  Amplifiers have a large amount of voltage stored internally - mis-handling certain components could deliver a sever shock - enought to even kill you!

  • When removing the power tubes from the amp, grasp the tube by the base, not by the glass.  In a very gentle downward/wobbling motion, remove the tube.  Be very gentle so as to not break off the plastic tube guide in the socket.  This same procedure should also hold true if your amp is equipped with a tube-driven rectifier.

  • Since the pre-amp tubes typically have no base, grasp the tube by the glass and gently pull downward with a slight wobbling motion.  If you pull the tube too much in any horizontal direction, you risk bending the pins of the tube and breaking the glass.

  • When replacing the tubes, it is important to always clean the tube sockets.  This can be accomplished by spraying a small amount of electrical contact cleaner on the pins of each new tube, then carefully work each tube in and out of the socket a few times to remove dust and corrosion.  Electrical contact cleaner can be picked up at your Radio Shack.

  • Some amplifiers are self-biasing while others amps should have the tube bias checked periodically, especially if you change the power tubes.  If you are uncertain what you are dealing with, contact a qualified technician before you make an unnecessary or incorrect purchase.  Find out what you will need to do in terms of biasing your amp. 

  • I have tried many different manufacturers seeking the right combination to achieve a certain sound and tone.  I would be happy to make recommendations based on your equipment, your playing style and my experience however ultimately, if what you hear is pleasing to your ears, that's the only thing that matters.

 

A Fender® Super-Sonic™ 60 combo amp chassis that has just been re-tubed with a complete set of JJ Electronic tubes at the client's request.
Measuring DC plate voltage to calculate the correct mA (milliamp) setting for tube bias adjustment.

In My Opinion

Recently a client brought in a guitar for a setup and to asked if I would figure out what was wrong with the bridge pickup as it was not working.  He had purchased the guitar from a third party.  The guitar had a number of issues besides a circuit problem.

Buyer, beware!  If a seller tells you it works great but won't agree to arrange a live demo before the purchase, that is a major red flag.

I have personally purchased a number of instruments online, but I know who I'm buying from.  Be sure you are dealing with a reputable company or individual who offers a return policy.  If you are uncertain of what to look for when buying used gear, take someone experienced along with you.  Even if you have to pay a small advisory fee, it is well worth the expense.

 
817.488.7133     info@tremayneguitar.com