My favourite weekend activity, even more fun that guitar shopping, is changing strings, cleaning and setting up a guitar. I swear to you I keep a spreadsheet that lists all 36 of my guitars. their serial numbers, weight, cost, date and place of purchase and LAST STRING CHANGE DATE! And then I do some highly advanced Excel trickery involving date/time functions, and “if” statements to determine if the last string-change was more than 30 days ago…so, if any of my guitars have been wearing the same strings for more than a month it prompts me to change them! No joke. This is how obsessed I am! :D
Anyhoo: today it was time to change strings and and fix the noisy 5 way switch on my 2006 Fender Custom Shop ‘60 Strat Relic.
While changing the strings I usually take the opportunity to clean and condition the fret board (assuming it’s a rosewood one of course!) with lemon oil - although I am going to stop using the petroleum-based “lemon oil” sold in guitar shops…my Tumblr friend and guitar-builder beauchene turned me on to this company that sells actual, pure REAL lemon oil! And it’s not too expensive either! http://www.newdirectionsaromatics.com/lemon-essential-oil-p-284.html
After oiling and rubbing the board clean, I took the ‘guard off and used DeoxIT sprayed into the switch “wiper” to clean it and fix the noise it was making when switched between pickups.
Last thing before restringing, I like to add light oil to lubricate all surfaces that string touches, i.e. the saddles, nut and string tree. This will ensure that hitting the trem will not cause the guitar to go out of tune.
Last of all, I slap on a set of Rotosound Yellows (.010 - .046)…and the last pic shows my two favourite guitar maintenance tools of all time…my cordless screwdriver and a “Zap-it EZ-winder” from Stew Mac. These two things were the best thing I ever did for myself…they make changing string actually fun! It’s like how you used to walk the 18 holes during a golf game, and then you bought yourself an electric golf cart! Hmmm…don’t know why I chose that particular simile…I have never played golf in my life! :D
Toronto, Canada, July 15, 2012.