Here’s the thing. You’re going to play better guitar with all ten fingers. You’re going to read better tab with both eyes. You’re going to mosh better with a head.
This all sounds a bit flippant, but it’s not – this is important, so pay attention.
SAFETY IS IMPORTANT.
Let me just reiterate:
SAFETY IS REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT.
Some of the articles included on guitarless include information on repairing, adjusting and otherwise tweaking your guitar. Many times it’s necessary to recommend the use of hand or power tools for this purpose. Please, please remember that these can be incredibly dangerous. Even something as innocent as a screwdriver can be dangerous, never mind a high-speed router. We cannot be responsible for any damage or injuries (read our disclaimer) and we want you to be safe.
There are some tips below. Follow them. Remember though, that they are not exhaustive. Think hard before you use any tool and really consider if you feel confident in its use. If you don’t, DO NOT use it. It’s that simple. Don’t take a risk – bring your guitar to a professional if you are unsure about anything. It’s not worth damaging your instrument or injuring yourself.
Some Safety Tips
- Always wear safety glasses. I mean that – always.
I used to wear safety glasses only when doing work with power tools like drills and routers. I have had the following in my eye, however: wood splinters from tools I never imagined could cause splinters, solder, lacquer, really sharp offcuts of guitar-string, and dozens of other things. I now wear safety glasses when doing pretty much any work, even restringing guitars. You should do the same.
- Wear the appropriate safety equipment.
Some jobs require dust masks or breathing protection. Some power tools should be used with ear protection.
- Watch your clothing and hair.
No loose-fitting clothes especially around power tools. If you’ve got long hair, tie it out of the way. No dangly jewellery. These things can get caught in power tools and really mess you up. I could show you some, frankly terrifying, safety videos.
- No alcohol or drugs.
Yeah, yeah, I know, what a buzz-kill. Seriously though, save the beers for after the job is done.
- Disconnect the power before changing blades or bits.
Unplug it! Don’t just let it spin down. Don’t just flick the switch. Unplug it. The last thing you need is a router accidentally turning on as you’re holding the bit. Unplug power tools before changing the cutting blade or bit.
- The right tool for the right job.
A screwdriver isn’t a chisel. A 2mm drill bit won’t drill a 5mm hole by wiggling it. Know what tool you need for the job and use it. Don’t substitute.
- Don’t use damaged tools.
Goes for hand-tools as well as power-tools. If it’s damaged, broken, worn out, whatever, don’t use it.
- A sharp blade is safer than a dull one.
Sound counter-intuitive but a you have more control with a sharp blade – you don’t need to force it to cut and it’s less likely to slip. That said, it’s just as likely to cut you if you’re not careful so don’t get complacent.
- Avoid distractions.
Turn off your phone. Make sure your kids aren’t running around your feet. Don’t have a conversation with your buddy. When you’re using tools, give them your full attention.
- If in doubt, don’t!
Seriously. Take your guitar to a professional repair-guy and let him or her take care of it. It’s not worth the risk.
Like we say, this list isn’t meant to be exhaustive. You need to assess the risks in using tools and modifying your instrument. See item 10 and see our disclaimer.