Guitar Maintenance 101
Published on 07 November 2019
Guitars go through a lot, and can get pretty grimy fast. We're talking dirt, grease, and oil. Nasty, right? Whether you're a full-time shredder or a part-time jammer, it's important to care for your instrument properly so you can keep it sounding and looking sweeeeet. If you don't know where to start on your guitar maintenance journey, you've come to the right place. We've put together a simple guitar maintenance 101 to help you get the most out of your axe. Follow these simple steps, and you'll have a super happy instrument. Let's begin...
Keep it clean
If you've ever cleaned your guitar with furniture polish, STOP. Please. Your guitar will thank you later. We don’t advise using furniture polish as they can affect some finishes. While many guitar manufacturers are using virtually impenetrable lacquers which are highly resistant to most common chemicals, it's best to avoid giving your guitar a wipe down whilst also cleaning your coffee table or chest of drawers too.
To keep your guitar in tip-top condition, simply wipe occasionally with a clean, damp (not soaking!) microfiber cloth. Finish off with a separate clean, dry microfiber cloth. Make sure cloths are clean! We can’t overemphasize how important it is to use clean cloths!
Ch-ch-ch-change your strings
Let’s face it… old strings suck. They don’t sound great, they feel horrible and are just nasty! They can break unexpectedly and are difficult to keep in tune… not ideal. It’s important to change strings regularly every, approximately every 100 hours of practice or 3 months, whichever one comes first. But if you’re cranking out the tunes 24/7, obviously we’d recommend to change them as soon as to see signs to wear. With fresh new strings, you'll be feeling and sounding amazing.
Care for your fretboard
Did you know that having a dirty fingerboard can affect your technique and tone? Yup, it’s true. Keeping your fretboard in good nick is super important. When cleaning your fretboard, it’s important to clean it according to its wood.
For Rosewood/Ebony fretboards that aren’t too mucky can be cleaned simply with a damp microfiber cloth and some good old muscle power. However, if you find yourself with a little more dirt on your fretboard than you’d care to admit, using a dedicated fretboard cleaner is a good shout. Since Rosewood and Ebony boards aren’t treated with any lacquer, applying a little oil can ensure that it doesn’t dry out. An uber dehydrated fingerboard can cause cracking and shrinkage, which is something you definitely don’t want!
For those with a maple fretboard, and depending on the amount of dirt, a slightly damp (again, not soaking) clean microfiber cloth and some classic elbow grease will do the job.
The full whack
Lastly, to keep your guitar sounding and feeling amazing, it’s important to get it checked out by a professional every so often. Billy, our resident Guitar Luthier at guitarguitar Glasgow, recommends doing this every six months. This is because the guitar is made of wood (in most cases) and breathes and adjusts to the humidity in the surrounding air by absorbing it through its grain. This causes the guitar to both shrink and swells, which knocks the setup out of balance. This happens when the seasons change too, as your guitar adjusts to cold, damp, warm or dry air.
Well, there you have it. If you have any questions or would like us to go more in-depth about any of the topic we mentioned, let us know and we'll be happy to help.