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Safety Tips for Guitarists
1. Ear protection - Nothing more important to a musician than hearing, yet many, if not most musicians play at high volumes with no protection. A recent study of 7 million people who suffer hearing loss shows that working musicians top the list. Musicians are also more likely to suffer from tinnitus, a constant ringing/buzzing in the ears. Hearing loss and tinnitus are permanent. I suffer from both, and what I wouldn't give to have my full hearing back and be rid of that constant ringing/buzzing!
So if you play loud, wear hearing protection... I SAID WEAR HEARING PROTECTION! Those squishy ear plugs work well for reducing volume, but everything sounds muffled. You can purchase ear plugs that are made for musicians that reduce volume without cutting out the highs. Prices start at around $30. Get some and use them!
2. Guitar stands - I do a lot of neck and headstock repairs in my business. Number one cause of breakage? Falling off of guitar stands... tripping on chords and knocking them over at gigs... leaning then against the amp and getting knocked over... When you are not actively playing your guitar, it should be in the case or on a good stand. If you leave your guitar on a stand, make sure the stand is sturdy and you keep all cables out of the way so they are not tripped over. When playing live, it's a good idea to tape down anything that can be tripped over. Better yet, between sets, put it back in its case, and stick it back out of reach. I know I looks cool out there leaning against your amp, but I don't want yours to be the next story I hear of how your guitar got busted.
3. Strap locks - The strap buttons that come on guitars do a poor job of securing the strap.
All it takes is one fall to seriously damage a guitar. Straps coming loose is the second most common cause of guitar damage. I like the Schaller design strap locks, but others work well too. Even those round plastic ones or rubber Grolsch beer washers work and are very cheap. Whatever you use, regularly check the strap buttons to make sure they are securely screwed in. They have a tendency to loosen and enlarge the screw hole. A quick fix if that happens is dab a bit of glue on a tooth pick and insert it into the hole. A better solution is to drill out the hole, dowel it, and re-drill. Done correctly the repair will be invisible.
4. Electrical grounding - Some older amps do not have a three-prong, grounded power plug. If you have one, take it to a qualified tech and have one installed. Check all electrical chords for wear. Don't overload electrical circuits. Keep chords taped down.