18 N. State Street
Westerville, Ohio 43081
Phone: 614-794-2183

Uptown Ted's Tips

Seasonal changes to your guitar

Seasonal Changes

Most guitars are  built entirely of wood, except maybe for the frets and the tuning machines. That means that they are very...

Latest Video

Store Hours

Mon. – Thurs. 11:00 to 8:00
Fri.                  Noon to 5:00
Sat.                 10:00 to 4:00

Uptown Strings Music Tips

Seasonal changes to your guitar

Seasonal Changes

Most guitars are  built entirely of wood, except maybe for the frets and the tuning machines. That means that they are very sensitive to changes in humidity and temperature. As a result they tend to move and go out of normal playing adjustment when the seasons change. You may begin to notice the action is getting a little high or  a few of the strings buzz now that didn't used to. Don't despair! Haul it on in to your local guitar tech(preferably me)to get a simple setup done. Adjustments to the truss rod in the neck, shaving the saddle down a little re-slotting the nut, tightening tuners,etc. These are some of the things that can be done to make your old friend play well again. Even guitars that aren't made entirely of wood can go out of adjustment from time to time and just need a little love and attention.   

Winter Time Humidification

It's the time of year to re-visit humidification of your acoustic instrument.  Recent reports in the medical world indicate that room humidifiers for people with colds and flu have little or no effect on the recovery of the individual.  However, it's a totally different story for wooden stringed instruments.  Wood swells when it takes on humidity and shrinks when it becomes dry.  A result of a poorly humidified instrument is that it will shrink to the point of cracking.  Cracks are difficulty to repair.  Optimum humidity is 45-55% relative humidity.  It is a simple task to humidify your instrument with an in-case humidifier - a small investment to protect your instrument.   We have plenty in stock - come in and check them out.

Buying A New Guitar

Buying a new guitar can be a daunting task even for a seasoned, long time player. Making the wrong choice can be costly and frustrating. The more you know the better but that doesn’t always protect you from some of the slick sales people at the big chain stores. Their job is to sell the products they carry. Whether that product is right for you or not is not their concern. The best way to get a safe buy is to shop at a reputable independent shop with a good reputation and a knowledgeable staff like Uptown Strings.

When buying that first guitar for your young beginner it is critical to get as high a quality as you can afford. That doesn’t mean you have to mortgage the farm to do that. There are many great quality “entry level” instruments available today that are quite nice, that sound great and play well. There are also a fair number of very bad ones out there as well. Keep in mind that what you are looking for is an instrument that encourages not discourages. If you look for the cheapest guitar you can find because you don’t know if little Jenny or young Johnny are going to stick with it, you will most likely ensure that they won’t because the instrument you bought is almost impossible to play. Music is a life long investment. It should be approached with great care.

Early Stages of Learning

In the early stages of learning to play the guitar practice time can be a little confusing. How long? How often? Our experience is that guitar is learned in stair steps rather than in a steady upsweeping curve. It has to do with the brain setting muscle memory in the fingers and hands. We believe that short duration practice done through out the day is better than a long duration of time done once per day. Practice for ten minutes at a time several times a day rather than once a day for an hour. You can do this during the commercials of your favorite TV shows. You’ll be surprised at the results. Practice, practice, practice.

Prestretching Strings

On steel string guitars, when you put on a fresh set of strings, tug on each string while you tune it to get all of the stretching out of the way.

Acoustic Guitar Humidification

Acoustic guitars with solid wood tops and/or solid wood backs, sides and tops are happiest at a humidity level of 45-55%.

In a humid climate like Ohio, they can live comfortably at a higher humidity level throughout the summer, but in the winter while heating your home, use an in-case or instrument humidifier when not playing your instrument.

Cracking and sharp fret edges are common symptoms of dehydrated guitars.

Some manufacturers will not warranty a dehydrated guitar.

Always Carry a Pick

Always have a pick with you and you can practice picking on anything, books, tables, soda cans, anytime, anywhere. It's all about technique.

Nut and saddle replacement

The nut and saddle on your guitar are made specifically for your guitar only. It is not a universal part that can be interchanged from guitar to guitar. If you need your nut or saddle replaced please see Ted at Uptown Strings. They should have all the right tools for the job. Replacing them with bone can make a pleasing change to the tone of your guitar but it is not always the best choice for guitars with "under the saddle" pickup systems.