Terry Burrows

The Stratocaster Manual, The Les Paul Manual

Terry Burrows strat photoTwo boards, three pickups, some hardware, and various electric bits and pieces: Stratocasters are simple creations at heart. But setting one up perfectly, repairing it – especially stageside in the heat of a gig – and modding it are all art forms.

These two manuals offer hard-won wisdom. These are not books about how to play your guitar, but how to keep playing them with proper maintenance and repairs. The thorough text and step-by-step color photos detail basic setup, adjustments, repairs, and mods.

Unfortunately, both books waste 30 pages with yet another potted history of the Strat and Les Paul – a story most owners can recite in their sleep – plus another 30 pages with quickie bios of famous players that we all already know all about or likely wouldn’t have bought the guitar in the first place.

Skipping all that, the main text of these guides is smart and relevant, backed with clear, incisive how-to images. These handy owner’s manuals will inspire you to become your own guitar tech.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s August ’16 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.