Over the years, I have become friends with several touring guitar techs. These guys take care of the guitars of many of our favorite artists and work completely behind the scenes. That is, until they show up center stage in all black to swap guitars out with the players on the platform.
I have been so impressed with their attention to detail, and all the cool tools and gadgets they have and use. The cutters and winders, the drivers and pliers, soldering tools, parts, and pieces… It’s all very exciting and interesting to me. One thing that I would say 100% of my tech friends have in their toolbox is a capo. Not a capo to put on the performer’s guitars (they have those also), but one for their own use, as there are many more things these capos are good for other than just changing the voicing or raising the key of our guitar chords.
Actually, it’s one of the oldest tech tricks that I have learned…Have you ever had to change or adjust your guitar’s saddle? Or possibly you might have had an issue with a piezo pickup that sits below the saddle. How did you go about making adjustments and checking your progress without going through a mess of strings?
It becomes really simple when you place a capo on about the ninth or tenth fret, loosen the strings, and then remove the string pins in the bridge. The strings can then pull out of the bridge while you make your adjustments, and then they can be easily replaced and retuned without a problem and without losing your strings.
You know, over time, the saddle can wear down and end up causing string buzz if it allows the string height (action) to drop too low. When this happens, instead of cutting, adjusting, and intonating a new saddle, try to cut a sliver of a business card so that it fits underneath the saddle, and then place it underneath the piezo pickup (I actually learned this from a pickup company at NAMM one year). This can also be a possible fix if you’re not getting a balanced output from your piezo pickup.
Once again, place that capo on the nineth or tenth fret and remove the string pins and string ends from the bridge and make your adjustments at the saddle.
What else? Ever had a wire inside your guitar break free from its tethers and then start slapping against the wood with every movement or strum? Ever had a completely hard-to-reach battery? Ever had an endpin jack become loose from the inside? I actually have two guitars right now that need tightening at the endpin jack. Solution for that, besides a skinny forearm, is a Kyser placed at the 9th fret, unless you want to throw away your strings!