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Archives for Guitar Care

Why Are We So In Love With The Electric Guitar?

22236157942_de80d856af_mBaseball, apple pie, and ‘57 Chevys are American icons that are ingrained into

our culture. That is a simple fact that no one can debate, but not far behind on that list is the electric guitar. America has a love affair with the electric guitar and all things rock’n’roll. But why?

The electric guitar’s origin is the subject of debate, but there are examples of solidbody guitars from as far back as the early 1930s. Les Paul came up with his first electric guitar, dubbed “The Log”, in 1940. This was the beginning, and his creation of an “electrified” solid body guitar, along with his prominence in the music industry, paved the way for what was to come.

America’s, and subsequently the world’s, infatuation with the electric guitar began in the 1950’s when images of Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and Ritchie Valens came flickering into the living rooms of impressionable youth on their families’ black and white televisions. The electric guitar had arrived. Moreover, rock’n’roll had arrived, and nothing has been the same since. Kids all over the United States, and soon the world, would be asking their parents for electric guitars. Allowances would be saved, lawns would be mowed, and papers would get thrown all in the name of rock music. In 1957, the retail price of a new Fender Stratocaster, just like the one Buddy Holly played on tv, was $275.00. That was A LOT of money then, and so what happened? The market responded and within a few years every major department store had their own brand of electric guitar, so parents everywhere could give their kids that little slice of rock’n’roll on a budget. The Silvertone, Harmony, and Kay guitar brands were born. These, among others, would be found under Christmas trees for years to come.

But why do we “love” the electric guitar? What is it that ignited that passion and turned it into the icon it is now? Well….it is a lot of things. The U.S. was just coming off of WWII, and the youth were ready for a change. Elvis, Buddy Holly, and Little Richard came on the scene and were putting out something that the kids were latching onto by the thousands. The door for rock’n’ roll was opened and more artists were walking through it every day, and much like the pied piper, the kids were following. Everything about it…..the beat….the sense of abandonment and “danger”…….the rebellion. The kids wanted it, and the electric guitar was a way to get it. They could make it their own, and all they had to do to get it was order it out of the Sears catalog.

From there, the sky was the limit. The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin took the electric guitar to another level. Muddy Waters went electric, and to everyone’s  shock, so did Bob Dylan. The Byrds turned the electric guitar into a thing of beauty, while Pete Townsend turned the guitar into a weapon. All of these different artists were making groundbreaking music in one of the most vital times in modern history and they all had one common denominator: the electric guitar.

I try to remember this now when I sell a family their kid’s first electric guitar. I have even tried to explain it to parents, about how their son or daughter is looking for something that is theirs, and theirs alone. I tell them that their kids are going to start locking themselves in their rooms, playing their guitar for hours, and turning their music up too loud. I also tell them that it is going to be okay. A fourteen year old kid can take a Fender Strat into the bedroom, turn the amp on, and feel like he or

she is on top of the world. It’s not that different than burning down the highway on a motorcycle or hitting a home-run. Turning up the volume and hitting a power chord can be a sublime moment when nothing else exists. You can forget your homework or your mortgage,  and for a few minutes, you can go “somewhere else”. As long as people get this feeling from the electric guitar, it will remain relevant, no matter what shape or form modern music may take. And that is why the electric guitar is an icon.

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Pawn Shop Guitars: How To Get A Good Deal

Purchasing a guitar from a pawn shop can seem like a daunting task. The large variety in style, vintage, and displayed prices might prove especially confusing to someone who is used to buying their instruments brand new or made to order. How can you make sure that you get the best deal for you when you purchase that pawn shop guitar? Here are some tips.

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How to Care for Your Guitar: Tips from McBride Music & Pawn

Unidentified man cleans his electric guitar neck with a white rag over the knees. Black and white shot

Unidentified man cleans his electric guitar neck with a white rag over the knees. Black and white shot

Whether you are a novice musician and just learning or a seasoned professional, caring for your guitar will help protect your investment as well as retain the resale value of your instrument, should you wish to trade it in or upgrade in the future.

At McBride Music & Pawn we have over 47 years as one of the largest vintage and used guitar retailers in Denton. When it comes to guitars, we’ve seen it all. Since most of us are musicians it is a little painful sometimes watching amazing guitars come across our counter which haven’t been cared for. We consider guitars to be more than instruments; we consider them art and part of our heritage in some cases, which is worth protecting.

If you have purchased a new or vintage guitar, we have put together some tips to help you properly care for it and preserve its resale value.

Storage

As a rule, guitars need to be stored in a climate-controlled environment. Guitars left in an attic or garage are often discovered to have severe damage, much to the dismay of their owners that thought they had them put up for safe keeping. Extremities, in general, are bad for the instrument. Too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry……..your guitar will not like respond well to any of those environments.

Additionally, never store your guitar for an extended period of time with the strings tuned up to pitch. Slacking the strings down a couple of steps relieves the tension on the neck, but doesn’t take all the tension completely away. For vintage instruments, be sure to take them out of the case a couple of times a year, as old plastics tend to emit gasses that can be damaging to the instrument if they are not allowed to disperse.

Lastly, if you aren’t going to keep your guitar in a case, at least put it on a stand. Many guitars have met an early demise because they were propped up against a wall or corner, only to fall over and have the neck broken.

McBride Band

Doug Burr’s album release at Dan’s Silverleaf with our own Cody Garcia backing.

Cleaning

Have you ever seen a guitar player wipe down his or her strings after a session? That is because your hands transfer dirt and natural oil from your skin to the strings every time you play. A dry cloth works or there are a variety of portable and disposable cloth options. Pinch the string inside the cloth and apply pressure to clean both sides of your guitar string at the same time. As far as cleaning goes, just wiping your guitar down with a clean, lint-free cotton cloth goes a long way, but if you want to take it a step further, be careful what you put on your guitar’s finish. There are even some commercially available guitar polishes that I would never recommend. For most modern guitars, any good, name brand guitar polish/cleaner should work fine.

On older instruments, most of which have nitrocellulose finishes, you need to be much more selective about what you put on your guitar. We recommend GHS Guitar Gloss, Planet Waves, or Preservation Polish. We do NOT recommend Martin brand guitar polish on older instruments, especially Fenders and Gibson from the late 1970’s. This particular polish almost always leaves a cloudy finish that looks worse than when you started.

Other than that, have fun, and enjoy playing the guitar!

“Any place you would be uncomfortable staying for very long, your guitar would be uncomfortable too.” Cody Garcia, McBride Music & Pawn

If you are looking for a new guitar, or want some free advice on the proper care of your guitar from our staff of experienced musicians, bring your guitar in and pay us a visit. We are an active member of the musical community in Denton and enjoy meeting other musicians. We also supply new and quality used accessories for your guitar in-store and a selection of goods on eBay​.

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