Output Jack Repair on a Gibson Thunderbird

When you play a Gibson Thunderbird on stage the way it’s supposed to be played, you’re probably going to break it at some point – and that’s okay! That means you’re doing it right and rocking out. This particular bass had the instrument cable stepped on during a gig (always loop your cable around your …

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Fixing a Broken Headstock with Splines and a Backstrap Overlay

I honestly don’t know how many broken headstocks I’ve repaired over the years. But I can tell you that when I first started doing this 20 some-odd years ago I wasn’t fixing broken headstocks with splines and a backstrap overlay – it was more like a single C-clamp and some wood glue. Boom. Done! Maybe …

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Removing and Replacing a Broken Truss Rod

Inside nearly every modern guitar and bass neck is a truss rod: a long, adjustable steel rod designed to counteract string tension on the neck. Without it your guitar strings will eventually bend your instrument’s neck into an unplayable banana-shaped object. They are usually pretty sturdy, but if they are abused they can sometimes break. …

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Replacing the output jack on a Parker Fly

When I was 17 years old, I had already become bored of the same-old, same-old approach to guitar design. My jaded teenage eyes were already sick of seeing Strats and Teles over and over and over again. I thought these were grandpa guitars, and I yearned for something new. Then I discovered the Parker Fly, …

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Filling a Kahler route on a vintage Gibson Flying V

Back in the 1980s, guitarists were cutting holes into their instruments for double-locking bridge systems like their Aqua Net was cutting holes into the Ozone layer. A popular choice among them was the Kahler Vibrato System: a stationary-mounted bridge with a cam-operated vibrato arm that allows for all the squeals and dive bombs a Spandex …

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Converting an acoustic guitar to left handed

Left handed people have never had it easy. Lefties have been burned at the stake, bump elbows with righties at the dinner table, and struggled with scissors in elementary school art class. Left handed people also have limited options finding a guitar that suits them. Left handed people comprise of 10% of the population, yet …

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Epoxy Coating a Fretless Bass

Back in the early 1970s, Jaco Pastorius took the electric bass world by storm with his trademark fretless Fender Jazz Bass sound – and people have been chasing that sound for decades. Part of his unique bass tone came from a coating of Pettit Poly-Poxy (boat epoxy) that he applied to the fingerboard to protect …

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Repairing a Collapsed Acoustic Guitar

New Orleans humidity is rough on things. It’s relentless grip on the Gulf South is unforgiving of most man-made objects not designed for swamp life: houses, vehicles, books, anything electrical, and definitely guitars. The combined string tension at standard tuning is about 160 pounds of constant pressure on the soundboard – which means acoustic guitars …

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Installing a Fender LSR roller nut

Whammy. Whang bar. Vibrato bridge. Wiggle stick. No matter what you call it, they are going to knock your guitar out of tune if it’s not set up properly. The main culprit for guitars going out of tune is the nut– strings catch and bind in there, and they don’t return to pitch. While a …

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Defretting a bass guitar

I have been playing bass guitar 29 years, and for almost that entire time I’ve been an exclusively fretless player. I first defretted my bass in 1998, after only playing for five years. I remember that ordeal quite well: I yanked the frets out of my Peavey B-Quad, and filled the slots in with bondo, …

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