Stuck Stuff: Removing tun-o-matic Bushings

Stuck Stuff: Removing tun-o-matic Bushings

It’s occurred to me that a lot of a guitar repairer’s time is spent removing things from guitars. Sometimes that just involves unscrewing some screws but, other times (often?), some additional effort and knowledge is required to safely remove something. 

Like various ‘bushings’. Read on…

Safely Remove Tuner Bushings

Removing a tuner bushing from a guitar headstock can take a hunk of lacquer with it. 

Taking out the tuner bushing on this guitar chipped the lacquer around it

Same applies to those little ferrules on the back of your Tele, or those big ferrules on the back of your bass. Or anything else that has little or big ferrules or bushings. The lacquer can adhere to the bushing and when you remove it some of the lacquer comes too. Grrrr!

The trick is to get the lacquer to let go. 

Heating the tuner bushing softens the lacquer underneath and helps prevent chipping when removing.

Do that by heating the bushing. Just hold a soldering iron against it. You don't want it to be red hot or anything, but a bit of heat evenly through the bushing will soften the lacquer under it. This makes it a safer job to remove the bushing. 

Out and safe. 

Bushing safely removed with no chipping.

Good for installing too

By the way, this also works when you're installing new bushings or ferrules. Heating them as they're pressed in can soften the finish and help prevent is chipping as the new hardware is forced in.