Learning Centre > Guitar Basics > Guitar Care
Here are some suggestions for
caring for your guitar:
1. Wipe down the neck with a dry cloth after every use to
protect your fretboard and to prolong string life. Sweat, oils,
dirt and grime can accumulate very quickly, and if you wipe the
fretboard frequently, you can make dressing the frets a much
simpler task. You will also prolong string life by removing some
of the elements that cause strings to deteriorate.
2. Dress the frets every time you change strings. If
you play often,a lot of dirt, grime and oils from your hands can
build up on the fretboard. This isn`t good for the strings and
probably affects the sound also. I use a very soft-bristled toothbrush and a little soapy water, and I make sure to wipe the
fret dry after cleaning. Use this routine when your change strings
and your fretboard won`t ever have that `soft` feel.
3. Clean and polish the top, sides and back of your
guitar regularly. You can use a top-of-the line furniture polish
to apply to your guitar, or your can buy any number of polishes
offered by guitar companies specifically for the guitar
application. If you establish a regular clean and polish regimen,
your guitar will always look good. The beauty of the woods will be
enhanced, and if you should ever decide to part with your guitar,
it will bring a premium price because of your efforts.
4. Never expose your instrument to excessive heat or
cold for prolonged periods of time. Heat and sunlight can cause
premature finish checking, and can make the finely-crafted woods
in your guitar look old and faded almost overnight. Cold weather
might not affect the finish so much, but it can cause damage to
binding, inlays and the neck, often requiring unnecessary work
with the truss rod. Guitars need a cool, dry environment, so try
to keep your guitar in that type of setting.
5. Protect your guitar when it`s stored in the case.
I`m talking about humidity here, and it can be one of the most
insidious enemies to the health of your guitar. You can buy a
capsule from your local guitar storethat will stabilize the
humidity in the case; just put it in your case and it will provide
the protection that you need.
6. Regularly check and tighten all screws, strap-pins and
tuning machines. This just makes good sense, because you don`t
want any unneeded rattling or jingling when you`re playing your
instrument, either at a gig or at home for your own pleasure.
7. Make it a point to regularly clean all metal parts
of your guitar with a good metal cleaning compound. Chrome and
nickel are notorious for corrosion and tarnish, particularly in
certain environments, so setting up a regimen to clean your pickup
covers, bridge, and tuning buttons will help in maintaining the
visual appeal of your instrument.
8. Avoid things that can cause scratches, dings and
other scars on your instrument. Don`t wear a belt with a buckle
when you have your guitar strapped on; I have seen many beautiful
vintage instruments which have been ruined by belt-buckle
scratches on the back. Also, buy a stand! Never leave your guitar
propped up a gainst the wall or your amplifier--I`ve seen
irreparable damage done to some quality instruments because they
fell from being propped up. Spend the money and buy a
stand--consider it an investment.
9. At least once a year, carry your instrument to your
local guitar technician for a complete look-over. I don`t set my
own instruments up. My technician knows exactly how I want my
guitars to feel, and he does a fine job. No matter how well you
take care of your instrument, the truss rod will need adjusting
regularly, and the intonation screws on the pickups will need to
be adjusted, to ensure that your are getting the balanced sound
that you want from your guitar. Your guitar may need bridge
adjustments also, so it`s always good to take it in annually to
let the expert make the fine adjustments that will give you the
maximum in playability.
10. My last tip--PLAY YOUR GUITAR!!! There is no
better way to keep your guitar in tip-top shape than to play it
every day. I`ve put guitars up for years, in the case, and have
always been dismayed to see how they `go down` from lack of use.
Play your guitar, take care of it, and it will take care of you.
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