Lubricating A Steel Guitar

Here's what I did to lubricate my MSA Legend Steel guitar. It's about 2 years old and a few areas were starting to show signs of friction so I decided to lubricate the entire guitar. Your guitar may be a little different but there should be a lot of common areas and hopefully this will give you a good idea of what's involved. If your guitar has Delrin or other special bushings you might want to contact the builder to see if those should be lubricated.

I chose to lubricate with Tri-Flow, which is teflon based and you have to keep shaking the applicator to make sure the teflon particles are mixed with the oil and making it to the guitar. The pinpoint lubricator tip makes it easy to apply to just the right places and keep it off the other guitar surfaces such as the wood finish and pickup. You need to use a generous amount of Tri-Flow to make sure it penetrates and washes out the affected area. Excess lubricant can easily be wiped off later. Turn your guitar in whatever position is needed to assure the lubricant will flow into the bearing surfaces ( I did not always do that when taking the pictures seen here). Actuate the moving parts a few times to help spread the lubricant. I did the whole guitar except the roller nut with the old strings on it so I could get the changer to move back and forth, then removed the strings to get to the roller nuts and rotate them. Then I wiped off the whole guitar and put new stirngs on it.

I got my TriFlow at Grainger. Click here to see the Grainger page for it. I checked a number of web sites and this is the preferred lubricant of many steel guitarists and generally does not gum up or attract dust. When the Tri-Flow base evaporates you are left with a teflon coating between the bearing surfaces. You can click on the pictures below to read the package information.

The following is a quote from Wikipedia: "In chemistry, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a synthetic fluoropolymer which finds numerous applications. PTFE's most well known trademark in the industry is the DuPont brand name Teflon. PTFE has an extremely low coefficient of friction and is used as a non-stick coating for pans and other cookware. It is very non-reactive, and so is often used in containers and pipework for reactive and corrosive chemicals. Where used as a lubricant, PTFE significantly reduces friction, wear and energy consumption of machinery." The Wikipedia article also has an interesting story about how teflon was accidentally discovered!

This pinpoint lubricator only holds 0.25 ounces but it is refillable. The silver tip is like the needle on the the end of a portable hand air pump. You can unscrew it and the whole top of the container will be open and can be refilled.

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