#1
How important do you think it is that you should be able to repair/customize you're own guitar? While I love playing and trying to improve tones the physical side of things has never really appealed to me. Obviously I would like to be as well rounded a guitarist/musician as possible and part of this does involve understanding intricate details of physics and the nature of the materials, and while I could learn this, I can't say I think I would enjoy it. I was never interested in physics/electronics/d.t at school and any sort of D.I.Y type projects have never appealed (part of being dyspraxic)
So yeah, do you think this is a crucial aspect of the instrument I'm missing out on or just an optional extra? And what about for taking producing/recording music?
#2
I think it's a bit narrow to play an instrument and not have at least a basic competence with it mechanically. Things like restringing, adjusting a truss rod, and intonation are very easy and are worth knowing.

Beyond that, just realize that the less you choose to do yourself, the more you're going to pay to have someone else do it. That's fine, but it's a decision that might end up costing you a lot of money in the long run for services that are not difficult to do yourself. If you don't like it, don't force yourself to do it. It's a hobby, not a job. On the other hand, it wouldn't kill you to try it once - install a pickup, do a full setup - and you might find that you enjoy it, or at least can tolerate it enough to save yourself the tech fee. The cost of something like replacing a dead volume pot goes from $5 to $50 when you decide not to do it yourself, and dead volume pots are a pretty common problem.

I would say that if you can restring, set your intonation, and adjust the bridge/trem and the truss rod on your guitar, you are in good shape. Anything beyond that is gravy.
#4
I think Roc nailed it. Personally, I take pleasure in tinkering with my equipment. I wish I could do more honestly, such as modding or hot rodding my guitar amps, but there is only so much i can do in my current living situation. But if you dont enjoy or want to do it then dont and fork your cash over when things break
#5
Just like the others have said. In the end, modding and small building projects (lap steels, pedals) have become a hobby in their own right that hasn't got a lot to do with playing. It and playing have one thing in common, using your hands.
#6
Being able to do basic adjustments is pretty important. And also, if something stops working, it's good to be able to fix it (being able to solder is a good skill). But if you are happy with the way your guitar is, I see no point in doing any mods. Modding your gear is more of a hobby. Though sometimes modding is reasonable. For example if the guitar feels great to play but could use better pickups. Or it doesn't stay in tune that well (you may need to change the bridge or nut or tuners). That's when modding would make sense. But yeah, if you you are completely happy with your guitar, you don't really need to be able to mod it. Modding is for those who know exactly what they are after. I have never modded my guitars (other than added straplocks ).
#7
The way I see it, I like driving my car & riding my motorbike. I can do basic maintenance (check oil, type pressure etc) but know absolutely nothing about how the engine works. That's what mechanics are for.

Same thing goes for guitars/amps, I can do basic maintenance (string & tube changes etc), but if something actually breaks I take it to a tech. That's what they're for.

I can see the attraction some people may feel towards being able to do that sort of thing, but for me it's the actual playing that counts, I'm personally not interested in knowing how things work.
#8
I think there is a major flaw in your analogy comparing guitars to working on a car or motorcycle.

Over the years I have learned a great deal about fixing up and modding my own guitars and I have enjoyed it to the point that I am now taking lessons with a well know luthier to learn the real nuts and bolts. I just finished my first full refret on my Ibanez 1976 Les Paul copy and it was interesting, fun and I learned a great deal more about sanding and leveling the fretboards, the proper way to remove frets (not just yanking them out as I imagined), cutting and putting in all new frets, leveling the frets and final adjustments. I am having a great time and will continue because I like it. My next project may be building and winding a custom set of humbucker pickups.

After many years of playing I am just now getting into this in a major way and I am surprised how much I am enjoying it. If it's not something you think you would enjoy that's OK too. I didn't for a lot of years and always had a go-to guy to do anything I needed done. He passed away 7-8 years ago and decided I wanted to do it myself.

As far as cars or motorcycles; I was a bit of a "motor head" growing up and have rebuilt engines from the crank shaft up in the past, but I leave it to the experts now because engines have changed radically since the 70's and I don’t have the knowledge or the proper tools for today’s vehicles. While I still do basics like brakes and exhaust stuff I leave the major engine stuff to the experts. The flaw in your analogy is that if you make a mistake working on a guitar it won't kill you. Can't say the same thing about having made a mistake on a car or motorcycle when you are driving it down the road at 70 mph.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Nov 19, 2014,
#9
It's important to know how to set a guitar up, but knowing how to build one isn't necessary to do that. But it's very useful stuff to know.
#10
Quote by Rickholly74
The flaw in your analogy is that if you make a mistake working on a guitar it won't kill you. Can't say the same thing about having made a mistake on a car or motorcycle when you are driving it down the road at 70 mph.

I see your point, but it doesn't make me any more interested in knowing all the details of how a guitar works...it just makes me less interested than ever in learning about engines
#11
Quote by GaryBillington
The way I see it, I like driving my car & riding my motorbike. I can do basic maintenance (check oil, type pressure etc) but know absolutely nothing about how the engine works. That's what mechanics are for.

Same thing goes for guitars/amps, I can do basic maintenance (string & tube changes etc), but if something actually breaks I take it to a tech. That's what they're for.

I can see the attraction some people may feel towards being able to do that sort of thing, but for me it's the actual playing that counts, I'm personally not interested in knowing how things work.


Agreed.

Though there's also the added danger thing with cars/motorbikes. If I screw up my guitar or a pedal, I don't die. (Granted, messing about inside a tube amp can kill you.) EDIT: Ah rickholly beat me to it- though as I said, tube amps can kill you.

Also the other thing confounding matters is that just because someone claims to be a tech doesn't necessarily mean that that person is actually any good. When I don't know, I say I don't know. If I'm not sure if I'm up to a job (at least a job where I can do permanent damage), I don't chance it. It's a bit bemusing when you take a job to a tech because you didn't feel up to it, and they do a worse job than you could've done yourself.
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Nov 19, 2014,
#12
Quote by gunnersandmash
How important do you think it is that you should be able to repair/customize you're own guitar?
So yeah, do you think this is a crucial aspect of the instrument I'm missing out on or just an optional extra? And what about for taking producing/recording music?


Absolutely non-crucial. Definitely an optional extra. You should know the basics (Roc8995 covers this) of maintenance, of course. You can pay a tech for everything else. What you learn along your journey, of course, is gravy.

The same goes for recording and producing. It's not a bad thing to know the basics, but the technology changes rapidly enough that the guy who's the absolute expert right now and who walked away, then came back to it in 10-15 years wouldn't recognize anything. Hell, I know people who would have no idea what to do with a CD if you handed it to them.

As always, the more you know the better, but you can have a very long and profitable career playing guitar without ever slinging solder or wielding a router.
#13
^ Exactly. There's also the opportunity cost thing- in an ideal world we'd all be experts in everything. But in the real world, we only have so much time and sort of have to decide what we want to do with it. If all you want to do is play guitar, the time spent getting really good at maintenance (past the most basic stuff) might be better spent practising guitar
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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Et tu, br00tz?
#14
It's an instrument so beyond playing music on it anyone is able to invest within it by repairs or work done, time spent on your instrument helps you appreciate the piece itself bringing further infatuation and helping the sound it emits.
#15
"If it ain't broke, fix it 'till it is" :-)

Modding guitars, cars, houses anything is driven by a number things:-

Budget - You want something you can't afford but by modding something cheaper you can get closer to your desire.

Updating - Technology moves on and something old can have a new lease of life given new parts

A need to express your individuality - You want something unique.

Only you can answer which of the above might motivate you to go the modding route over and above general maintenance.

There is always a danger with modding in that you can destroy what ever residual value an item has, even if done well. And almost never will you get back the cost of parts if you sell the item on.

However, assuming you are doing the mods solely for your own enjoyment and can accept that financially you might as well pour lighter fluid over the beast, and strike a match (but not in a Hendrix relicing way) there is a lot of satisfaction to be had.

21 years ago (when I had lots of money and no children) I bought an American Strat (The equivalent now of a Deluxe) It is a wonderful guitar and ticked all my boxes. I've not needed to buy anything else since. However, now by virtue of my parents, I have two homes and didn't want to transport my Strat between the two all the time. I couldn't afford, or justify, a direct facsimile of my beloved Strat and looked for something cheaper.

I bought a MiM Strat but crucially (and unusually) it had a two point trem. It also had the nasty folded retro string trees and folded saddles. Having swapped the trem for an American version matching my original with the block saddles and fitted American string trees there is nothing to choose between the two (OK I might change the pickups). It certainly gives you a thrill taking an electric drill to a the neck of a week old guitar to fit string trees.

So, for half the price I have a guitar which I enjoy playing every bit as much as my original - Result!
#16
In addition to updating with guitars there is also back dating as well...obvious really. I don't know why I missed that.