Instrument Care
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Instrument Care

Your Huss & Dalton instrument will last for generations following these simple care suggestions. If you have any questions/concerns, please send us a note using our Form.

Temperature

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!

Humidity

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 Humistat or D’Addario.  Of course, there are apps for this now! 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 play ability issues. We recommend learning more about what product will work best for you and your environment. A small investment here can save a lot of money and trouble in the future.

Finish Care

Our finish on all instruments is a catalyzed urethane and 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 Paul Beard’s Resolution Guitar Polish. Whichever polish you use, 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 & Gauge

All Huss and Dalton Guitars are shipped with D’Addario brand strings. Most larger body guitars ship with mediums, (EXP 17) while smaller bodies ship with lights (EXP 16). All H&D guitars can be strung with light or medium strings except the OO and OO-SP models, 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.

Action

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.

care-strap-button

Adjusting the Truss Rod (peg head access)

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 peg heads 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.

Contact us with any questions.

Adjusting the Truss Rod (body access)

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.

care-truss-rod
care-truss-rod-2

Shipping

Please contact us for return authorization prior to shipping any instrument to us.

We suggest following these steps to ensure safe travels:

  • Remove everything inside your case.
  • Include your complete contact information.
  • Loosen the tension on the strings.
  • Remove the pickup battery.
  • Remove the end-pin if it is not glued in.
  • Add additional packing underneath the peghead inside the case to offer more neck support.
  • Acquire a box in which the case can be packed tightly using packing materials.  Your cased instrument should not ‘rattle’ around inside the shipping box.
  • Additional insurance is available for your instrument to cover the replacement value should something happen.  UPS will only cover up to $100.00 as a default.
  • Very important:  We DO NOT recommend mailing your instrument via the US Postal Service.