Hey everyone! So now that I have had some inspiration to pick up the guitar and do something useful with, I definitely know that learning Maria Elena, and the skills associated with that song, is what I want to learn, but I think I have a little work to do first!
I have been playing around with the tab for this song, but after listening to some other guitars and looking at mine, I felt like it was time to give my baby some tender love and care. So off came the old strings! The strings have been on there for, I would say, five to six years, so it definitely is time for a change. However, that was not the sole purpose of removing them. From being played over the years, gunk from hand oils and dust/dirt has built up on the fret board and it needed to be removed along with the discoloration of the frets.
To take off the dust/dirt, all I had to do was brush lightly with a damp tooth brush. Unfortunately, that did not take care of the discoloration of the frets. My guess is that this is due to some type of oxidization process that has been taking place over time, but I wasn’t sure of what is was or how to take care of it. So, I did the next best thing that any person who doesn’t know something does – ask someone. In this case it was google! Here I found a really helpful resource called “How to Polish Electric Guitar Strings like a Pro” After reading this, I decided to take a chance with what they suggested, but I only used the things that I had around the house – painters tape, natural/non-chemical cleaning solution, and a scrubby. After the painstaking process of taping between all the frets, I lightly spread some clearer on them and started scrubbing and it worked! Needless to say, I now have nice and shiny frets!
Next, it was time to put on some new strings. How invigorating! This process isn’t really new to me at all because I have been playing stringed instruments since I was nine, but this time it wasn’t all that simple… A piece of the nut broke off sometime during the unstringing and the fret board makeover and I didn’t see it happen. This piece is small and where did it go? I know that I didn’t do anything to it to cause it to break off, so when did that happen? After looking on the table and within the crumpled up tape, I did happen to find it! Phew! But with nothing to glue it back on with, I set it back down on the table to look at later. The strings went on without a hiccup except for my low E because it could no longer sit in the grove on the nut, but I thought I would try to dry fit the broken piece to make sure it would still work with the new string. My eyes looked to the spot where I set the piece and it was gone…not good. It was no where to be seen, on or around the table. However to my relief and a few hours later, I found it in the bathroom, on the floor, after stepping on it! What luck!
A few days later, and after a trip to Home Depot, Gorilla Glue solved that problem. It did the charm, and I didn’t even glue my fingers together! Now my guitar looks and sounds awesome – too bad this doesn’t translate to me sounding like a a pro though! Just have to keep on practicing! 😀