Guitar Maintenance: How to Care for a Guitar?

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced musician, taking care of your guitar is essential to keeping it in good condition. Here are a few tips on how to properly take care of your guitar.

how to clean electric guitar

How should I care for my guitar?

So should you keep it in a case, On a stand, or hang your guitar on a wall because it’s a piece of art? Should they clean it? How should you take care of your guitar in general? It’s gonna come down to, a couple of main things and those are paying attention to the temperature and the humidity and then keeping it clean.

guitar maintenance - keep your guitar in a case

Store Your Guitar In The Correct Temperature

It’s no secret that different temperatures can affect the sound of your guitar. You’ve probably been told to store it in a room where the temperature is stable and to avoid extreme changes in temperature. But what does that mean, exactly? And how do you go about doing it? Here are some tips on how to store your guitar at the correct temperature.

how to store a guitar - don't keep it in direct sunlight

So, for any guitar, you don’t want to leave it outside in the sun. And you don’t want to leave it in the rain, right? You want to be careful of what type of environment you put a guitar into, especially a storage unit without AC, without air conditioning, or somewhere it can get really hot. If you’re in a humid area like Florida, they can get really, really humid in there. With temperature and humidity changes, your guitars are made out of wood. So, the wood on your guitar expands and contracts the heat can actually make your guitar bend and warp and your neck can even twist.

Guitar Frets

Let’s say it gets too cold. If you leave your guitar in a cold place, the wood can actually shrink enough to where you can feel the edges of the frets sticking out from the neck. And if you try to slide it can actually hurt. You could cut your finger by doing that.

how to clean your guitar frets

Guitar Maintenance Tips

The first thing is to be very attentive to the temperature and the humidity, the environment that your guitar is in. If you have your guitar in a reasonably cool dry place, like inside where a place, you know, that that’s not wet or humid, that’s somewhere around room temperature. You’re gonna be fine.

The second thing is just to keep it clean in general. So some people’s hands, sweat a lot more than others. Some people never change their strings. There are a lot of things that you can get dirty, for example, all around your frets. Your strings can turn even black because the oils from your hands and bacteria can cause them to start rusting.

how to clean guitar body - how to clean an acoustic guitar

Dust and dirt can start collecting in the bridge or in your pickups or in your knobs. And eventually, that can cause some issues, potentially, electrical issues. Some of the saddles your guitar bridge might not function as well.

And then finally, with the cleanliness of your guitar, I would say take care of the wood as well. If you sweat a lot, or if you play outside a lot, or even for some reason sweat. Over time if you don’t keep your wood clean you could wear some paint off. Some people might go for the distressed guitar look so it could be a benefit.

When you stop playing it, get a cloth and wipe it off. Wipe off wherever you were playing. Wipe the strings. My dad always used to call it, wiping the strings down. Make sure you wipe the strings down when when you’re done playing and before you put it back in the case.

Storing Your Guitar In The Case For Longevity

If you put your guitar in the case more often than not, it’s gonna be more protective than if it was out of the case. If it was out the case, you might knock it over. A dog might chew on it. You never know. Somebody might spill something on it. If it’s in the case, it’s definitely gonna be more protected than if it was out of the case.

However, most people put their guitar in the case and leave it in the case. And the old saying out of sight, out of mind, if you don’t see your guitar, especially if you put it in the closet under the bed, chances are it’s gonna collect dust before you think about it again.

So if you wanna play your guitar more, I suggest leaving it out on a stand, in a cool dry area, it’ll be fine.

Treating Your Guitar Frets

When you treat your guitar fretboard, not only will it sound better but also extend its life.

how to clean your guitar

I recommend using some lemon oil treatment anytime you change your strings. If it’s out in the sun a lot, it starts to dry out those frets and can wear them down a lot quicker.

Don’t lean your guitar against the wall

I remember my brother actually bought this really beautiful marble-colored bass guitar, and the guy that he bought it off kept it leaning in the corner against the wall.

guitar care

That caused the neck to warp permanently. There was nothing we could do to straighten out that neck. Some luthiers recommend we stick in the steam room and steam it and then bend it back into place. It was sad because it was a really beautiful guitar, but it was hard to play because the neck was so warped.

How To Clean An Acoustic Guitar

The body of an acoustic guitar is usually made out of wood. And you wanna be careful with the wood because you don’t want to damage it.

Wiping down the guitar with a soft cloth, that’s gonna get most of the dirt and fingerprints off. If there’s any stubborn dirt or stains, you can use a slightly damp cloth.

I would avoid using any kind of cleaning chemicals or detergents on the guitar body because it might damage the finish.

How To Clean The Guitar Fretboard

The guitar fretboard is usually made out of rosewood or ebony. And you wanna be careful when cleaning it because you don’t want to damage the wood.

how to change your strings

Wiping down the guitar fretboard with a soft cloth, that’s gonna get most of the dirt and fingerprints off. If there’s any stubborn dirt or stains, you can use a slightly damp cloth.

I would avoid using any kind of cleaning chemicals or detergents on the guitar fretboard because it might damage the wood.

How To Clean The Guitar Strings

Since they don’t leave behind any lint or residue, microfiber towels are perfect for cleaning guitar strings. To eliminate extra oil and residue, wash your hands frequently in addition to wiping off the instrument (or grease, sauce, etc.). Keep a small towel nearby to wipe away sweaty hands during the show.

In Conclusion

Caring for your guitar is important to keep it sounding its best. By following a few simple tips, you can keep your guitar in good condition and improve its tone. Regular cleaning and proper storage will help protect your instrument from damage and extend its life. With just a little bit of effort, you can ensure that your guitar will give you years of beautiful music. Have you tried any of these maintenance tips? What works best for you?

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