Dan Erlewine has been a Guitar Player magazine columnist since 1985 and is a well-known guitar builder and repairman. His book The Guitar Player Repair Guide has sold nearly 100,000 copies and his videos on guitar repair are strong sellers. In short, Erlewine knows guitars, and in this new publication he focuses specifically on electric instruments.
This is a true hands-on guide to guitar setup and adjustment techniques, and includes a number of trade secrets Erlewine has acquired over many years. In addition, there are sections on evaluating a used guitar, finding and using the right tools, personalizing action and intonation, overall guitar maintenance, basic guitar electronics, and troubleshooting.
While some of the information is duplicative of his other books, Erlewine keeps the specifics to electric instruments and their idiosyncrasies. The text is illustrated with over 200 closeup photos and easy-to-follow directions, plus charts and examples of setups used by some of today’s best-known guitarists.
There’s a special bonus at the back of the book, and it’s a first for a publication of this kind: a plastic tool sheet of punch-out radius gauges and action-setting rulers that allow readers to get to work without having to purchase specialized tools. It’s an interesting feature, and a real plus at this price point.
As in his other publications, Erlewine presents information in a straightforward manner that’s easy to understand. With his help, you won’t have to be a rocket scientist to do basic work on your electric guitar.
Backbeat Books is the new imprint for musical publications from Miller/Freeman, and it has many new titles planned for the coming year.
San Francisco: Backbeat Books 2001, Softbound 160 Pages, ISBN 0-87930-601-7, $17.95.
This review originally appeared in VG‘s June ’01 issue.