Re: Should you slack your strings? (was United Breaks Guitars)
- From: "Kevin Hall" <timberline@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2009 22:28:07 -0400
Jean is the first to admit he is a builder and has never really been a
repairman. While I admire his skill at running a factory and building a
business, I have somewhat less regard for some of the repair techniques
I've seen Jean use. I've repaired literally hundreds of pegheads over the
years which have been broken off as a direct result of having the case
dropped or knocked over while the strings were up to tension. I can't
recall any which were broken while the strings were slacked and heads padded
fore and aft.
During my days at Martin Canada the mysterious migrating headstock claim was
one of the most common warranty/non-warranty debate issues. Many, many
owners brought in their Martins, old and new, claiming that they'd just
opened the case and found that the head had flown off during the night
without provocation so should be repaired under warranty. In virtually
every such instance I was able to find evidence of trauma on either the
peghead itself ( knocked against a corner while being played etc.) or on the
head end of the case from where the case had been stood on it's end and
knocked over. The breaks due to the latter had more validity in that the
company had no business sticking the little 'feet' on the end of the case in
the first place to encourage owners to do such a daft trick.
Probably the worst culprit for getting headless were the old Gibson SG
models. Those would spit their heads off if you gave them a stern look, or
if you just clipped the end on a mike stand. Of course in such cases they
were up to pitch, being played.
The idea that the string tension reinforces the head/neck transformation
area is just so blatantly flawed that I have a hard time believing Jean
actually believes it. He's an eminently practical man, and the effects of
gravity plus tension in one direction add up to migrant pegheads.
The explanation from the site also ignores the effect of tension on the
diaphragm of the instrument and the poor level of protection offered by the
vast majority of production cases.
Factories which ship instruments tensioned up invariably do so with the
guitar in a hardshell case which is in turn suspended inside a robust and
well-padded shipping carton. That gives them somewhat greater protection
than a single cased instrument in the baggage hold of an aircraft, but it
still ain't great.
The only reason I can think of for shipping them up to pitch is to ensure
that they maintain their set-up height for when they arrive. Some dealers
would go daft if they unpacked a guitar and it took half an hour or so to
come up to proper tension so that the strings weren't buzzing on the frets.
Jean can keep telling the world to ship and air-freight guitars with the
strings tuned up if it turns his crank, and guys like me will keep on
fixing 'em when gravity sucks the heads off.
"Ed Edelenbos" <eded@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
"John Sorell" <jsorellCHEESE@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
I was just wondering about this topic yesterday. It's been a long time
since we've had a pro/con debate on this suggestion. If I am remembering
correctly, Larivee says the strings should be left up to pitch. Can't
remember what the other builders voted for...
From the Larrivee site:
"Do NOT take tension off the strings when shipping your guitar. This is a
dangerous practice as the machine heads and headstock are the heaviest
parts of the guitar, and the string tension from proper tuning serves to
counteract the stresses these parts place on the instrument. Some people
on the internet will tell you that loosening the strings is a good idea -
If it was such a good idea, then every manufacturer would do it. Martin,
Taylor, Gibson, Larrivee, Collings, etc all ship our guitars new from the
factory at full tension - What makes your guitar any different?"
That last sentence makes a ton of sense to me.
They say to pad the headstock and accessory compartment in the case. They
also say to take any batteries out of their holder before shipping. I
think they specifically mean batteries in metal clips mounted inside the
guitar, not "barn door" preamp battery holders.
- United Breaks Guitars
- From: porchgreg@xxxxxxx
- Re: United Breaks Guitars
- From: Kevin Hall
- Should you slack your strings? (was United Breaks Guitars)
- From: John Sorell
- Re: Should you slack your strings? (was United Breaks Guitars)
- From: Ed Edelenbos
- United Breaks Guitars
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