Guitar Care and Maintenance
Here are some suggestions for caring for your guitar:
1. Wipe down the neck with a dry cloth after every use to
protect yourfretboard 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 t
oothbrush and a little soapy water, and I make sure to wipe
the fret dry after cleaning. Use this routine when your change strings
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
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
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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