Quick Guide: Instrument Tuneup

A Quick Instrument Tuneup To-Do List: Make Your Gear Sound New Again

Gear and Instrument Tuneup:

Musicians find it’s pretty common for instruments and certain gear to wear down. As time goes on, songs are played repeatedly and gear may not sound as sharp and awesome as they once did.
Fear not, Rivington Music’s here with a small list of possible instrument tuneup solutions!
Most of these issues can be, and most likely will be, maintenance related. With that being said, we’ll begin there. Wear and tear are a common occurrence so a little love might just do the trick.

String Instruments:

Firstly, check the strings if your guitar, bass, cello or other stringed instrument isn’t sounding as pristine as you’d like. A good polish, new strings, and a quick tone check usually will have your instrument sounding like new. Instructables has a pretty solid resource for this topic, a guitar love manual for dummies, if you will. Those who use a bow with your strings should give that some love too. Also, check your pick-ups and jack (on guitars and bass guitars especially), to make sure there’s no circuit or cable-related fault.


The most common way to play the drum kit is to beat it with sticks. Hence, it’s to be expected that your drum kit will need regular attention. In the percussion department, sound issues are usually solved by regular maintenance. This maintenance includes a combination of regular tuning, cleaning and changing of the heads. Make sure to regularly clean the shells inside and out. Also, clean the hardware and polish the cymbals. Drumming Review has a more in-depth article on this topic. Additionally, check your sticks, kick pedal and hi-hat. It makes a difference.


Let’s start with the amp heads or amplifier section of your combo. If you have a valve amp, check the valves, it goes without saying! They need regular loving, changing, and possibly dusting. Apply this to hybrid amplifiers too, as they use valve preamps. Keep in mind, a dead valve can result in an amp sounding much lower than it should.
Solid-state devices are exempt from the valve part. Regardless, a pass or two from a can of compressed air removes accumulated dust. This can only help. Amplifier heads tend to suffer from other issues such as wear and tear on the input jacks. A quick input jack check will tell you if this might be affecting your device’s performance.
Common issues on the cabinet or speaker side are wear and tear on the speaker cones. There are several ways to repair a blown speaker, from doing it yourself to sending it off for repair. Other items on our checklist are; cables, connections, and in some cabinets, fuses. Make sure everything is clean and tight.

Assorted Final Gear:

Aside from maintenance and upkeep, other issues related to gear often come to the acoustics of where they’re played. The shape and size of where you play or perform are all factors that are sometimes easily forgotten. Here’s a blog post from Musika with lots of great information on that topic. Additionally, hardware plays a factor regarding the quality of your cables and microphones. At RMRS we like to buy new, pro-quality gear from GLS audio thereby ensuring we have consistently great overall sound in each studio.

Rehearsal space at Rivington Music

Feeling inspired to practice after an instrument tuneup? Book some music rehearsal time now at Rivington Music.  

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