Mudcat Café message #602432 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #41641   Message #602432
Posted By: Justa Picker
02-Dec-01 - 08:46 PM
Thread Name: How long does it take you?
Subject: RE: BS: How long does it take you?
Since I don't perform on stage, I am not concerned with the "speed" factor in how quickly I can change them. Rather for me, it is an enjoyable ritual / exercise, and generally takes 35 - 45 minutes.

I start by removing all the strings at once. And then get a soft, flannel cloth and give the entire instrument a good rub down, especially the fingerboard area. If the top, sides and back feel particularly dry to the touch or are just smeared with finger or sweat marks, I will apply a few drops of Hawes Lemon oil to the cloth and work that into the top and sides and then wipe it all down again with a dry, clean cloth.

I don't apply lemon oil to the fingerboard. Instead once a year I'll put a couple of drops of tung oil on a cloth and work that into the fingerboard, wiping it off fairly quickly and then rewiping it down with a dry cloth, just to moisturize it ever so slightly so that in the winter there's no danger of the wood drying out and developing cracks. As well, I refill the Dampit humidifier in my guitar as well as the one I keep in the case along side of the guitar's neck.

Once the cleaning and polishing has been done, I then restring one at a time, starting with the low E, then A, and D strings. I make sure they're tuned to pitch before cutting off the excess with wire cutters, and then I retune them again. Then I add the high E, B, and G strings, again repeating the tuning process before cutting those excess string lengths. I then make sure all the strings are tuned to standard pitch and put the instrument back in its case to let the strings stretch and work themselves in until the next time I'm ready to get it out and play.

Sure if I wanted to, I could change the strings in 10-15 minutes, but my method gives me a chance to really examine the guitar, polish it, and make sure there are no structual anomalies forming. I consider them all my "ladies" and like to take my time with each one of them. None of this wham, bam, thankyou m'am restringing stuff. **G** I generally change the strings every couple of weeks as I tend to play one of them at a time for a couple of weeks and then rotate to the next. My habit seems to be that when I change the strings on one and clean it, it then goes back into its case, and I pull out another one to play for the next couple of weeks.

Nice thing is that with this "system" every time I take a guitar out to play, it always has new strings on it. Another nice thing which I happen to like about using the Hawes Lemon oil, is that over time, it will darken the top and add to that "aged" look which I am partial to. Others might not like that look, but I do like that dark brownish, orangey twinge...which over time will develop naturally anyway, but the lemon oil accelerates the process some. Pure lemon oil in no way hurts the wood, and I prefer it over various waxes, and silcone based polishing sprays.