Tips for Guitar Care
Tips for Guitar Care
Guitars are beautiful instruments and an important part of guitar ownership is guitar care. Like any other wooden instrument, they must be properly cared for if you want them looking good and sounding great, as the tone and pitch of a guitar can be affected if a guitar has been neglected.
Temperature & Humidity
Not many of us would think it, but temperature and humidity can have a huge impact on a guitar, and can affect the look, as well as the sound quality. If there is too much humidity in the air, this can cause the wood to swell, too little can lead to shrinking. Both of these factors can cause irreversible damage such as warping and cracking. If it is too cold this can damage the finish of the guitar, leaving it prone to future damage, and if it’s too hot this can weaken the glued joints.
The best way to protect your guitar from damage like this is by monitoring the temperature and humidity using a digital sensor like the Planet Waves Digital Humidity & Temperature Sensor. This way you can track and monitor any drops or rises in temperature or humidity and address the issue. The ideal levels are between 45-55% humidity and 18-24c in temperature.
If you use a guitar hanger, avoid hanging it on an outside facing wall. As this is often the coldest wall in a room, and this transfers to the guitar, as does the normal room temperature. This can lead to serious damage, as one part of the guitar is colder or warmer than the rest.
Cleaning is another huge part of guitar care, and it is your opportunity to show your guitar some love and affection. Although, when you are cleaning your guitar be sure to use cleaning products that are safe to use. Not all domestic cleaners are suitable for guitars, as they may contain chemicals that may harm the guitar quality and finish. We would always advise using specific guitar cleaning products, unless advised otherwise.
When it comes it choosing a cleaner it is all down to personal preference, and finding one that you like. A great place to start is the Gibson Luthiers Choice Triple Pack, as it’s easy to use, and covers the 3 main areas of cleaning, strings, body, and fretboard.
Strings can become incredibly grubby as the dirt and grease from our fingers transfers over, making them feel oily, and generally not very nice. The Gibson string cleaner helps to remove this dirt, while lubricating the strings, helping to prevent snapping. The body of a guitar gets covered in all sorts of things including dirt, grease, sweat and oil, which are all thing that can damage, and eat away at the finish. The Hi Gloss Polish helps to remove this dirt, and give your guitar a natural shine. Finally the Fretboard, these can become very dirty like the strings, and because the wood is left untreated it can dry out over time. A fret conditioner helps recondition fret board, preventing damage from getting any worse.
Repairs & Refinishing
Overtime the finish on your guitar will fade and become damaged, and you will want to consider repairing and refinishing it. Although this is something a guitar shop could do for you, this can be expensive, and you can save this money by doing it yourself, while learning a thing or two in the process. We have put together a couple of tips and trick to help you out:
- Before doing anything ensure your guitar is playable. This could stop you wasting time, and money on a guitar that is beyond repair.
- Like with any DIY project you need to plan ahead to ensure you know what you’re doing before you start. It’s a good idea to buy all your supplies at once, rather than making countless orders or trips to the shops.
- Not all wood product are safe for guitars, so ensure everything you buy and use is suitable for use on guitars. You can find guitar finishing supplies at Wood Finishes Direct, or at other Luthier stores online.
- Take your time, there is no rush when it comes to finishing your guitar. The best guitars take weeks to finish, not hours, be patient.
- If there is anything you are unsure about, do some research online, or better, ask us! You will likely find a handy tutorial telling you how it’s done. If this doesn’t help ask an online guitar forum, these are full of people who can help.