During very dry spells the fingerboard and bridge of the guitar will start to shrink. This is noticeable when
you can feel the fret ends protruding and it’s an early warning sign that the guitar is dehydrating. You
must hydrate your guitar either by moving it to a less dry area or using a humidifier or humidipak. There
are many products on the market and it’s better to find the one that suits you best. One way to help
prevent the fingerboard and bridge shrinking is to use a Lemon Fretboard Oil. Kyser, Dunlop and
D’Andrea are just few companies who make this product, or a fretboard conditioner.
Apply a few drops of the oil onto a clean cloth and wipe down the entire fingerboard. This is best done
with the strings off (when changing strings). Apply another drop to the cloth and wipe the entire bridge,
including sides and ends. Any oil that gets on the top can be wiped off using your breath and a soft dry
cloth. It’s difficult to say how often you need to do this, it depends on how dry the area where you live is,
how absorbent the fingerboard and bridge are, how much oil you have previously put on and so on. In
general 5 - 6 times a year. If you notice the fingerboard dry, chalky or pale grey then apply some oil. If
the fingerboard feels oily and there are deposits of oil along the sides of the frets, then you can do
without oiling for a while. Usually year on year you can reduce the amount of oiling, so year two 4-5 time,
Truss rod adjustment.
McIlroys are fitted with a two way truss rod. This means the neck can be bend forward as well as
backwards. During manufacture, we use this to first straighten the neck, level it and then released the it,
allowing the tension of the strings to straighten the neck at final set-up. This can mean that the rods often
go out in the negative position, bending the neck up. After a while the tension of the strings will bring the
neck forward and an adjustment has to be made. This is usually after just a few months and then about a
year later. Access to the rod nut (and it’s good to note that the nut will never fall off) is via the soundhole
behind the large strut. Why? Because we believe that drilling a hole through this strut weakens it.
The tool needed to carry out an adjustment is a 5mm ball end (or ball drive) hex allen wrench. A
screwdriver type is the best but the standard L shape will also work. Ones with a long handle may have
to have their handle cut to allow access. The Ball end is the important part, a standard allen wrench will
not work. With the strings loosened it should take no more than about 10 seconds to make an
adjustment, most of that taken up trying to find the nut but once you get used to it, it will only take
seconds. Anti-clockwise will bend the neck forward creating more relief or easing an overly bent neck.
Clockwise will bend the neck backwards, straightening the neck. If the nut is in the negative position as
mentioned above, then the nut will loosen first and then tighten again as it goes from negative to
positive position. If the nut gets progressively tighter then the rod is already in the positive position and
a half turn at a time is all that’s required to straighten the neck. We recommend that the shop where you
bought the instrument does this for you as part of their customer service.
Simples, wipe with a slightly damp cloth or try one of the guitar polishes, if you don’t like it
stop using it. We have found that some leather shoe cleaners can be very good for cleaning
and also some furniture polish but avoid products with silicone as this seems to leave an
oily shine of the surface. If you use one of these sprays and you don’t like it, wipe
immediately with a damp cloth. We have also found baby-wipes / kitchen-wipes to be very
Oh the controversy, but yes we don't recommend using anything heavier than 0.12 - 0.53 on Cedar tops.
That’s because Cedar is fundamentally weaker the Spruce (but sounds so great) so be nice to your
Cedar guitar and keep the strings light unless you are permanently tuning down, in which case 13’s or
specific DADGAD strings are fine. Phosphor bronze is our preferred choice but go ahead and
experiment. The current default string is D’Addario EXP16’s.
A while back I had a friend call to the factory and he watched me fitting a set of strings. “Ah, that’s how
you do it” was his remark. For those not used to the pinless bridge, make a kink about 20mm (3/4”) from
the end and pass through the hole in the bridge. This kink will help lift the string over the saddle. If fitting
stings at home it’s a good idea to cut a piece or cereal box the same shape as the back of the bridge
and about 2” or so out, this allows you to drop the ball end of the string onto the top without denting it. If
you’re doing it during a gig, then just hold the ball end all the way until it’s close to the bridge as possible.
Pull the string tight and wrap three times around the string post (twice for middle strings and once for
bass). Wrap from the bottm up and poke the end of the string through the post. Wrapping light strings
three times will help prevent string breakage and wrapping from the bottom up will prevent the string
from coming off over the top of the post, simples (must stop watching those Meerkat ads). Cut the ends
and don’t leave them too long as they can cause serious damage to the finish on the headstock as you
tighten the string.