Care & Feeding of Your Guitar
Tips for Keeping Your Guitar in Top Condition

In talking about the care and feeding of your guitar, let's start at the top of the instrument and work our way down.

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Often you will find that tuners have a way of getting loose because the wood, metal, and finish all expand and contract at different rates. So every four to six months it is a good idea to snug the tuners tight using the tuners' bushing bolt. Be careful not to over tighten this nut and crack the peghead finish. Snug is tight enough.

The strings dragging through the nut actually file the slots and over time you will notice a bit of wear. When you change strings, you can put a drop of silicon oil on the nut and wipe it into the nut slots with your finger. A little bit of oil can help keep the strings from binding and prolong the nuts' life. About once a year (of average use) you will want your local luthier to touch up your nut with a nut file.

The fret wear varies drastically with the individual. I've seen guitars ten years old with perfect frets and some a few months old in need of a dressing. Just watch for wear. If they are a little worn you can get by with polishing the frets or a fret dressing which simply files out the wear and recrowns the frets. A fret dressing usually is about half the cost of a fret job. A fret job is worthwhile when the frets are so badly worn that there is not enough height for a reasonable recrown. Usually a guitar needs a fret job in five to ten years of average use.

 everett handmade guitarseverett handmade guitarseverett handmade guitars The fingerboard and bridge are finished with an oil and wax finish. About every six months it is a good idea to polish and clean the fingerboard with a fine 'Scotch Brite' pad (or fine steel wool) then wipe a little lemon oil (or boiled linseed oil) on the fingerboard and bridge to help keep them from drying out. A few drops will do the job.

The truss rod is not an action adjuster. Its sole purpose in life is to counter the strings' tension. The truss rod needs adjusting with major climate changes or if you change your string gauge. And how often it needs adjusting varies with your area's climate and the individual instrument's neck. Usually a six month to one year interval is plenty or as buzzes appear.
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The saddle is adjustable by fitting little hardwood shims under it to raise the string's height or by removing shims or saddle material to lower the height. I do not suggest more than two shims (approximately 1/32" each. 1/32" at the saddle raises the string action at the 12th fret 1/64"). If it needs more than that it is time for a new saddle. The height of your guitar top raises and lowers annually with heat and humidity changes. If the strings rattle or the action feels a little high, it's time for an adjustment. Again this varies greatly with different areas. Your guitar might need a tune up every season change or it might never need one. Natural aging of an instrument involves the neck settling into the body and the top raising a bit. So annually it is a good idea to have your local luthier check your action. That is a good time to have the saddle top dusted smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to slow string wear.

Shipping and storage. I hate shipping guitars. BUY INSURANCE. Loosen the strings, pack the peghead area of the case with crumpled newspaper, remove the trussrod wrench and case key from the case pocket, box the guitar with at least an inch of packing around the case (especially on the top and bottom), mark the box with an 'up' arrow pointing towards the guitar's peghead, cover the box with fragile stickers, send it next day or second day air, and do not ship a guitar in the dead of winter or the heat of summer. Good luck.

Storage is simple. Leave it under string tension or, if it will be stored for a year or more, you can loosen the strings a whole step. Secure the peghead in the case with crumpled newspaper (this helps secure the peghead from taking a jolt if the case takes a blow or falls over), then find a safe place to park the case away from extremes in heat, cold or humidity. No attics or basements. An interior house closet is good.

Flying. Never ever send a guitar through with the luggage. Good bye guitar. Most airlines will let you carry the instrument on. Call before you get to the airport. Often you will get a verbal approval over the phone. Make sure to get your representative's name so that you will have a little ammo at the gate. The next best alternative is to carry the guitar to the gate and "gate check" it. That avoids the treacherous conveyor belts and rough handling of luggage. You will also pick the guitar up at the other end at the gate of arrival. Make sure that they put it in a pressurized luggage compartment with Fifi. You can actually look through the window and watch them load your guitar. In preparing your guitar for flight follow the same instructions as for long term storage. Make sure your name and address are in the case.

If you own an Everett Guitar you can be assured that your guitar was built slowly and carefully in a very controlled environment. Through the entire building process, the construction is checked and double checked to ensure the materials and construction are up to the Everett standards. If at any time during the process a part looks questionable or a problem arises, the instrument is pulled from construction and the part is replaced. (The guitar continues with its development in the next cycle of instruments.) Each Everett remains in my shop for an entire month after the last coat of finish is sprayed and no less than ten days under string tension before I complete the fret work, final buff and final setup. If a problem exists the instrument is not shipped. I feel it's important to add this extra time into my building process in order to build the quality of guitar that can be enjoyed!

I hope this is of help and that you enjoy a lifetime with your guitar in top playing condition.


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