You should try to keep your instrument between 40 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, roughly. At least as important as temperature extremes, are temperature fluctuations. Whenever your guitar has been colder than usual, you should leave the guitar in the case and slowly bring it back to room temperature. Never leave your guitar or banjo in the trunk of your car. Your musical instruments are most comfortable in the same temperatures and humidity that you are!
Your instrument should be kept in a humidity range of 45 to around 65%. You can monitor the humidity inside your case by using a small, inexpensive hygrometer such as the ones sold by D’Addario/Planet Waves, or a similar one from Radio Shack. If you keep your guitar in its case, simply put the hygrometer in with the guitar, and check the humidity every day or two. If you keep your guitar out of the case on a stand, you will have to monitor and control the humidity in the whole room. Allowing the humidity to get too low in dry climates or with wintertime home heating can cause severe problems such as wood cracks and playability issues. We recommend visiting Planet Waves and learning more about what product will work best for you. A small investment here could save a lot of money and trouble in the future.
Caring for the finish
Your guitar/banjo finish needs little care. You should wipe it down with a clean, soft, damp cloth as needed. Then follow up with a soft dry cloth. Old t-shirts work great. We suggest a product similar to Glyde Cote polish. Make sure it is silicone free! Once a year or so, you may want to clean your fingerboard with 0000 steel wool. Then, rub some fingerboard oil into the fingerboard and bridge. Lemon oil works fine for this. Don’t overdo this part, but it is a good idea, especially in early fall, prior to the air getting dry.
Strings and Gauge
All Huss and Dalton Guitars are shipped with D'Addario brand strings. Most larger body guitars ship with mediums, while smaller bodies ship with lights. All H&D guitars can be strung with light or medium strings except the OO and OO-SP models, (www.HussandDalton.com/models.htm) which are braced for light gauge or lighter only. We also usually recommend that guitars with cedar tops be strung with light gauge strings. All banjos can be strung with light or medium.
The action (string height) of your guitar should be around 6- to 7/64ths of an inch under the low “E” string at the 12th fret. (Measure from top of 12th fret to bottom of string) and around 5/64ths on the high “E” string. You may want to have lower action than this, and that’s fine, but keep in mind the playability/buzz threshold that comes in somewhere just under these measurements. If you are not experienced with adjusting the action of a guitar, any action adjustment should be made by a qualified repair person, or here at the H&D shop.
Installing the Strap Button
We recommend taking your instrument to a reputable repair technician to install your strap button. This diagram should assist your technician in the placement of the button. Contact us if you have any questions.
Adjusting the Truss Rod
note:Our truss rod wrench measures 9/64".
First, I will explain our ideas on truss rods in general. You should know that we much prefer having truss rods adjust from the peghead. This allows you much easier access, and allows you to adjust the rod with the strings up to tension, which gives a better reading on where you need to be and where you are. However, some folks like the more traditional look of the body-access truss rod. We have never thought it was a good idea structurally to drill a hole in the upper face brace as is often done to gain access. So, it makes ours a bit more challenging to get the wrench seated properly. You should have received a 9/64" Allen wrench with your H&D guitar. Please note: the Singletree Old Time Banjo has an adjustable truss rod, but the neck must be removed from the pot assembly to allow access. You may want to take this in to a banjo repair person.
Technical Specs: All Huss and Dalton Instruments have an adjustable truss rod. Some Models adjust from the peghead, while traditional series models and slotted pegheads adjust from inside the body. We set the relief at about .011 inch as the spec setup. To measure relief, put a capo on the strings at the first fret. With your left hand, push down the 3rd string at the 12th fret position. Now slide a .011 feeler gauge under the 3rd string at the 7th fret. You should feel a slight resistance, without the feeler gauge pushing the string up at all.
If the rod needs adjustment, remove the truss rod cover on Standard H&D instruments, insert the Allen wrench provided and turn clockwise to tighten, counter-clockwise to loosen the rod. You may want the neck a bit flatter than .011, and that’s okay, but you will want some relief in the neck, and the neck should NEVER be back-bowed.
Adjusting truss rod on body-access models
note:Our truss rod wrench measures 9/64".
Start by assessing the need to adjust in the first place. You can get the factory specs on the necessary relief from the Technical Specs section above. If you need to adjust, first loosen or remove the strings. You may, at this point, want to take a small mirror and a flashlight and look inside the guitar toward the nameplate and find the Allen screw in question. Place the guitar on a bench on its side with the sound hole facing you. Now, reach inside with the Allen wrench and run you finger up the nameplate until it stops. Right above the nameplate, you'll find the Allen screw. It may take a few tries, checking again with your mirror to see, but once you get used to it, you'll be able to put the wrench right in place every time.
These photos demonstrate truss rod access left-handed and with our "show-and-tell" shop piece.
Warning! Do not cut your guitar in half to gain access to the truss rod!
Prior to shipping your instrument to H&D, please contact us for return authorization.
Upon shipping your guitar or banjo by a common carrier such as UPS or FEDEX, you should pack the instrument in its case carefully, with some packing added as a support behind the peghead. If the endpin is not glued in, you should remove it. Loosen the tension on the strings. Remove everything except the instrument from the case. Acquire a box in which the case can be packed tightly. Make sure that you add additional insurance for your instrument to cover the replacement value should something happen. And, don't forget to include pertinent contact information inside the case. We do not recommend mailing your instrument via the US Postal Service.