Guitar Maintenance from a Philly Guitar Teacher
Guitar maintenance is an extremely important topic. It’s often overlooked because we guitarists want to get straight to playing! But you need a functional, working guitar in good condition to perform in the first place. Taking maintenance seriously means you get the best out of your instrument, have it sounding its best at all times, and save yourself time and money in the long run.
Here’s a list of the top electric guitar maintenance tips to be thinking about. Take it seriously, and your guitar will reward you with improved playability and tone.
This relates to where in your home you keep your guitar. It sounds basic, but as we own our guitars longer and get more at ease with them and the novelty wears off, it’s very easy to stop taking quite so much care over it. Make sure it’s somewhere safe, where nothing’s going to fall on it, and in a place where the temperature and humidity are reasonably consistent.
Invest in a good guitar case. The ideal solution is a hard case, but they can be expensive, and usually mean you can’t carry the guitar on your back. These things understandably put many people off. Make sure you at least have a padded, thick, durable soft case.
So often guitar damage occurs in transportation. So take care of how you transport your guitar or organize for it to be transported. Especially when that relates to public transport – train or plane travel, for example.
4. Setup and check periodically
Hopefully, any new guitar you purchase is already professionally set up. If not, the store should make that happen for you. Regardless, this doesn’t negate the need to periodically have your guitar’s setup checked and touched up as needed.
5. Regular string changes
Besides being important in refreshing and revitalizing your sound, regular string changes give you a chance to implement some of the cleaning and polishing steps below.
6. Dust and polish
Use a dry cloth to keep your guitar free of dust, and use a professionally recognized brand of fret polish/oil to keep the fretboard smooth, clean and playable.
7. No moisture!
Keep your guitar away from moisture at all times. This doesn’t just mean not spilling drinks on it! It also means don’t attempt to clean it with water, or with any non-recognized instrument-specific cleaning products. Equally, don’t leave it by an open window in heavy rain, or leave it outside!
8. Clean the pickups, too
Don’t forget the pickups! Dust and wool etc. can accumulate and ultimately affect the sound via unwanted noise and static crackling. Use only a dry cloth here! And keep those pickups clean!
9. Take care!
With all these specific cleaning tips, take care! Don’t spray products direct onto the guitar, spray them onto the cleaning cloth. If you’re uncertain, test the product first on a small area on the back or underside of the guitar before continuing. Don’t overdo it, start small, and be careful!
Not having the correct tool, cloth or implement is a quick way to put yourself right off guitar maintenance, period! For this reason, it’s really advisable to get together a guitar-specific toolbox, fill it with all the bits you’ll need so that whatever needs doing, you’re ready for it with ease.