Every guitarist has their own set of skills and knowledge that sets them apart from everyone else, but there are a few simple skills, tricks, and hacks that every guitar player should know well. Not all guitar hacks out there are useful, but there are some that can make a big difference.
These hacks will improve your overall guitar playing experience, provide an answer to some challenging problems, and even make a way to have more fun on your instrument and explore different sounds, techniques, and genres.
1. Always Tune Up To Pitch
These tips, tricks, and guitar hacks are in no particular order, but this one finds its way onto the first spot on the list because it is something that every guitar player should know, but few guitar players know about.
If you find yourself with constant tuning problems, it may as a result of a small oversight while tuning your instrument, and rectifying it can make a significant difference to tuning stability.
When tuning your guitar, never leave your strings after loosening them. This means that when you tune your instrument, always tune up to pitch rather than tuning down to pitch. If you need to lower the tuning of a string, rather tune down below the note you are aiming for and then tune back up to where it should be.
If you leave your strings after tuning down to a note, the machine heads are likely to slip while you play, and your strings will slowly become out of tune. Always tune your guitar strings up to pitch.
2. Make A Budget Strap Lock
Strap locks are very useful gadgets that replace the strap buttons on your guitar with a set of locking buttons that clamp down on your guitar strap, keeping it in place and preventing your guitar from falling to the floor.
This is a more common problem than many guitarists realize, as there are plenty of guitar players who have ended up with a broken guitar due to strap or strap button failure. Using strap locks keeps all guitar types securely in place while standing and playing.
However, real strap locks are very expensive to buy, and they can be very challenging to install if you do not have the know-how. The good news here is that there is a budget-friendly way to secure your guitar strap much more effectively than simply looping it over the strap buttons.
The best way to keep your strap secure while standing, other than using real strap locks, is to find a tightly-fitting washer or O-ring that can fit snugly over your strap button but is also thick and wide enough to cover most of the width of your guitar strap.
Simply place the O-ring over your strap, tuck it under the top of the strap button, and your guitar will not come off from its strap any time soon. This method is highly effective and will only cost you a few cents if you buy your O-rings brand new.
3. Use A Shot Glass Slide
This is a useful hack for all of those guitar players who enjoy playing slide or for guitarists who seek to experiment with playing guitar with a slide but do not want to spend the money on a tool that they may not use.
Guitar slides are a great way to add a new dimension of interesting tone to your guitar playing, and it is a skill that every guitar player should experiment with at some point in their guitar-playing journey. However, if you do not have a real guitar slide on hand, there is another option: use a shot glass as a slide!
This is very simple to do. Simply find an empty, dry shot glass, place it over your ring finger on your fretting hand, use your other fingers to clamp it in place, and slide the glass over your strings as you play.
The effect that this produces is identical to the effect of a real guitar slide, but the chances are that you already have a shot glass at your house, and there is sure to be one at your gig as well.
Using a shot glass as a slide is more challenging than using a regular slide, but it becomes simple after some practice. If you do not have a slide on hand, this is an excellent alternative, and every guitar player should try this hack, even just to see if they can do it.
4. Tighten Tuner Hardware
Another important hack that every guitar player should know is to tighten your tuner hardware.
Every guitar is equipped with a set of tuners, and these tuners are held into the instrument with various screws, bolts, and nuts. Over time as the instrument is played, this mounting hardware slowly becomes loose and will eventually begin to wriggle within its mountings.
If this occurs, you will have no tuning stability at all, as the strings will tighten and loosen when the hardware shifts in the headstock.
Taking the time to simply tighten every screw, nut, and bolt in your tuner hardware and assembly will save you much frustration and keep your guitar playing well and staying in tune.
5. Lubricate You Guitar Nut
This is something that few guitarists do, but it is crucial to a well-functioning instrument, and every guitar player should build this hack into their list of guitar practices.
Guitar nut lubrication is critical to tuning stability, string resonance, and overall string longevity. There are multiple commercial products available that can be applied to the grooves of your guitar nut, but a much simpler way to lubricate these grooves is to rub some pencil lead into them.
Pencil lead is not, in fact, a heavy metal, but it is graphite. This material makes an excellent dry lubricant as it breaks down on a microscopic level and forms a frictionless layer between the string and the nut.
The next time you change guitar strings, sharpen a regular pencil and scribble a bit of the led into the nut slots of your guitar. You will note a significant increase in tuning stability, and your strings will last longer overall.
6. Input Jack Lock Washer
Every guitarist knows how frustrating it is to have an input jack that constantly comes loose. This can cause many issues, including broke wire connections and even an entirely broken jack.
A simple hack that will keep your input jack in place, regardless of what type of guitar you play, is to place a lock washer in between the nut and the bolt of your input jack.
These little pressure lock washers clamp down in place and so keep the jack from wriggling loose. However, they are easy to undo by simply unscrewing the nut. The lock washer just adds some extra friction to the system, keeping the jack safe and in place until you want to loosen it.
7. Control-Knob Remover Tool
This hack is specific to electric guitar, but it is something that most guitar players will find very useful.
If you ever need to remove the knobs on your volume or tone knobs, the process can be very difficult. It is easy to damage the knobs, the pots, or the guitar by using screwdrivers or other tools such as pliers to remove them, and simply pulling on the knobs too hard can break the pots underneath.
Some intelligent person has developed an answer to this problem in the form of a guitar knob removal tool. This is a simple little plastic claw that hooks underneath the knob itself and allows the knob to be removed with a simple low-force pull, preserving the hardware and eliminating the difficulty.
These tools cost only a few dollars and are available in most online stores, such as Amazon.
8. Use Open Tunings
Open tuning is a hack that many guitar players are very familiar with, but for those who are not, using open tunings and learning how to use them well can open an entirely new realm of guitar possibilities.
Choose a set of notes that make up a chord, such as G B D, D F# A, or C E G, and tune all of your strings to one of those notes, whichever is closest to the current tuning of the string.
For example, a typical tuning is E A D G B E, and tuning the strings into open G tuning is tuning the notes to either G, B, or D. This means that the tuning becomes D G D G B D. When all of the strings are played open together, they will play a G Major chord.
Take the time to experiment with the tuning, and you will quickly find that these tunings are easy to play, and they provide a wide range of techniques and sounds that are not possible within standard guitar tuning.
There are several guitar hacks that are possible for every guitar player to use, but these are some of the very best, and every guitar player should give them a try. Go through these hacks and find those that will benefit you the most, and try them out today. You will find them highly useful while very simple to execute well.
Guitar hacks can be useless, but finding those that make a difference can be just the trick you need to keep your guitar functioning well or to provide that creative spark to write something new. Try these hacks for yourself, and you are sure to keep using them along your guitar-playing journey.