Today a very short article about equipment and why you should take care all works as it should.
Isn’t this common sense you might say? Well, recently I noticed a message on a van saying: “Common Sense is Rapidly on the Decline” .
On a more serious matter, I have met countless musicians, guitar players and other bandmembers who had issues with their equipment. Most of these issues were relatively small and easily solved, but still, they took time, caused a halt to the vibe of the moment.
When you are in the middle of writing songs, rehearsals with a band or other guitarist, the last thing you want is something failing to work at what it should do because it spoils the moment.
When you are serious about making music, and most of the people I met in cases like the ones described above were, you cannot afford to cut corners when it comes to doing small repairs to any of your guitars, amps, pedals or PA system.
My own personal approach is: They all should play as well as they should: Volume-and tone controls should all work, tremolosystem should have a nice vibe to give you some vibratosounds. Fretboard should be clean, strings should be clean and definitely not rusty!
You want to pick up your guitar and it should make you want to play and play and play.
Okay I may be far too serious about this matter for some of you. If you have multiple guitars should they all have fresh strings from time to time? Even the ones you do not play that often? Well, if you have a few guitars and there are some you do not use that much, make sure that at least your favourite ones are in top notch condition, give them some fresh strings from time to time and make sure they play well as they serve you as a source of inspiration.
Amps may be a simpler issue compared to guitars. They do not change that much and once they work they will be fine for a while. If you are a gigging musician things are a bit different: You still will need to check from time to time if your tonecontrols are all working as they should, speaker is still fine ect. Valve amps? More maintenance is required and extra care should be taken with them, but again, once they work they should be fine.
What I get often myself: Buy a second hand amp and there are often all kind of funny issues: Crackling tone-and volume controls, broken input sockets ect. all things I will get repaired as soon as I can. Once the amp is again in good condition it tends to stay like that, especially when you look after it. Why should you not? All your equipment are sources of inspiration. I have created countless of songs on the basis of a particular amp-or guitarsound. Getting them to work as they should is the least you can do, so you can get on with the business of being creative with your music without too many extra external worries.
Pedals and other Sources of Effect Processors:
Similar as amps really, once they work they should be fine for a long time to come. As what I mentioned before about buying second hand amps relates to pedals as well: Buy any second hand pedal from a shop or Ebay or whatever outlet and you may have some issues with broken pots, faulty in-or output sockets, or even a pedal not functing at all.
First of all you should, whenever you buy anything secondhand, research that particular piece of equipment very well. Make sure you know what it does, how it should sound ect.
Electronic equipment can be funny: You may buy a pedal and it works well, use it for a while and then put it away for a few months. When you pick up that pedal after three months it may not work as it should. Why is this? Because some electronical components dry up, or an electronic part has gone faulty because it is old and has seen a fair bit of usuage. These things do happen, I do not make this up! Sometimes the repairs for those pedals can come to as much as what you may have paid initially for the pedal. Worth doing the repair? Up to you and to how much you like the sound of the pedal and how rare the pedal is. I have had cases where I never had heard a pedal perform properly, because of worn parts, and then eventually this particular pedal gave up the ghost. Once pedal came back from the repair it sounded fantastic, better even than how it sounded initially. The repair in this case was definitely worth doing!
Now go on and check out all those guitar cables you use.
See you soon!