Welcome to our new bi-monthly Guitar Tech column! We’ve tracked down some of the most skilful and in demand guitar techs across the globe to share their trade secrets and answer your guitar gripes right here! First up, it’s Barnes & Mullins’ Trevor Jones...
Playing since he was 16, Trevor has over 30 years experience on guitar and was our first port of call for some home grown Guitar Tech talent.
Starting out as a session guitarist for EMI Studios, Trevor is a qualified mechanical engineer, woodcarver and electronics engineer, so he knows a thing or two about the workings of your favourite instrument. You can check out his website HERE.
For the next three months, Trevor will answer your gear-related questions right here as part of our brand new Guitar Tech online column.
So what are you waiting for? Send your questions to TotalGuitar@futurenet.com and get your pesky axe problems sorted! In the meantime, check out Trevor’s first instalment…
What's the best way to store a guitar or bass? With the guitar in the case, should the case be upright (with the headstock upwards), or on its side (in a playing position), or on its back? David Little, Queensland Australia
A cased guitar can be stored on its back, on its side, upright (providing it is supported and not leaning against a wall, etc) with the headstock up. Never face down! The instrument needs to be a snug fit so that it doesn’t move about. Make sure there are no loose items such as hex keys and capo’s, etc. A cleaning cloth over the bridge and pickups will also stop the instrument from rubbing against the lining. If you’re going to store the guitar for a while, a couple of desiccant bags will help control any moisture.
I have an Epiphone Joe Pass Emperor 2 jazz guitar (hollow bodied) that goes straight into my Fender Twin. The problem I have is that I can't seem to get past shouting volume due to the uncontrollable feedback and I can't understand how guitarists playing festivals with a semi acoustic or hollow body seem to have no feedback problems at all! I’ve tried different approaches from EQ pedals, increased muting, etc, and each give varying success. But I was wondering if there is a cheap D.I.Y. way I could sort this problem out? If not, is there any equipment I could buy for under £100 that would do the job? Sam
Hollow bodies are renowned for acoustic feedback. There are several types of feedback, acoustic feedback is caused when the sound from the speaker causes the body of the guitar to vibrate. This then creates a cycle: the feedback causes more vibration until the whole thing cycles uncontrollably. The old blues players used to stuff a handkerchief inside their guitars to muffle the vibration (this often works), but in my experience the best solution is to make sure that the amp is in front of you facing forward. That way the sound source is being directed away from the guitar.
I've bought every issue of Total Guitar since December 2007. Last Christmas I got my first full size guitar and I’ve been practicing really hard. I am happy with it and I was considering getting some new singlecoil pickups for it, as well as some pedals and maybe a new amp. I was wondering whether you could give me some advice on this? Jack Kellam, Ashford
I would advise taking a look at your favourite guitarists setup, and remember that pickups are only part of what makes up your sound. Effects pedals are great fun and there are many on the market at a reasonable price. However, if you are considering a new amp, most amps these days have several effects built in. There have been some good articles recently in Total Guitar regarding practice amps, and so on, so do a little homework, ask yourself ‘what sound am I looking for?’ then go for it!
I’ve been playing the guitar for around two years now and, just as I was starting to get the hang of it, I did an incredibly silly thing by crushing my index finger to a point of losing it in between my first and second knuckle! I’m now struggling to hold my picks – they keep spinning around in my finger and thumb. Do you have tips for helping me overcome this, or can you suggest some non-slip picks I could buy? Mark Foulkes
Many people modify their picks by filing the edges, as this makes them easier to grip. ‘Pick Boy’ in Japan make a range of picks designed to give extra grip. Some have deep patterns moulded into them, some have metal inserts in the centre of the pick. It’s a case of trying a few until you find one that works… You could also try holding the pick between your thumb and middle finger.
I’m a left-handed guitar player and find it very hard to get left-handed guitar items. Recently I was looking for an effect pedal and an amp, but while in the music shop I thought it was worth asking about leftie guitars. I found that four out of the six guitar shops I went in told me they do not deal with left-handed guitars because it’s too much hassle! Do you know of any good places to get spare parts for left-handed guitars, or even a shop (or website) that stocks more than two left-handed guitars to try? Richard Wilson
I agree many shops don’t like left-handed guitars because they don’t sell as quickly. I have found that if the shop owner is left handed they often sympathise and keep a few in stock. However, my advice is to talk to the main distributors, as they will be able to point you to a dealer who stocks lefties. You may even find yourself a bargain! Many guitar manufacturers now design guitars so that they can easily be converted to lefties. I often get asked to convert guitars from right to left-handed. However, it is always best to buy a guitar that was designed that way. A conversion is often a compromise!
If you have a question for Trevor, send it here: TotalGuitar@futurenet.com
For more information on Trevor, and Barnes and Mullins Ltd visit www.bandm.co.uk.