Guitar Maintenance 101

Just like a car, a guitar is a machine that needs regular maintenance to be at its best and last you a long time. 

Here are the basic maintenance steps you should be taking to keep your guitar looking and sounding beautiful! 

 

Cleaning 

Guitars get exposed to a lot of oil and dirt from hands. To keep your guitar clean, wash your hands before playing it – even if they look clean! 

After you’re done playing, wipe off your guitar with a polishing cloth, giving a little extra love to the strings and hardware where your hands spend the most time. Keeping your strings clean will help them last longer. 

The guitar knobs can trap dust and sweat, which will eventually cause a scratching sound. Turn the knob back and forth to loosen the gunk if this happens. You can also use a contact cleaner spray if this happens. 

 

Storage 

Being exposed to either heat or cold is bad for guitars. Extreme temperature changes can cause strings to go out of tune, or even cause the instrument to become warped. Store your guitar in a place where the temperature is moderate and the humidity is consistent (at 45 or 50 percent). Keeping the guitar stored in its case rather than on a stand or on the wall can help you regulate the guitar’s environment. 

 

Changing strings 

Not changing guitar strings frequently enough is one of the top mistakes new guitar players make.

The lifespan of your guitar strings depends on what type of strings you’re using, how often you play and where you play. As a rule of thumb, you should be changing your strings at least once every three months, or whenever they look or feel dirty or are losing tone. 

You should also be cleaning your strings regularly. 


Fretboard maintenance 

Whenever you change your strings, also give your fretboard a thorough cleaning. You can use a fretboard conditioner to keep it looking shiny. If your fretboard is made of maple, don’t use a conditioner as it can damage the finish – simply wipe it down with a microfiber towel. 


Polishing 

Keeping your guitar polished will make it look like it just came out of the box. Start by removing dust and fingerprints with a microfiber cloth, then spray the cloth with guitar polish and gently wipe down the guitar in circular motions. Don’t forget the back of the neck and the headstock. 

If your finish is natural, matte, or satin, don’t use polish and instead wipe the guitar down with a polish cloth. 


More maintenance 

Get step-by-step instructions on how to keep your guitar in top shape with this comprehensive guitar maintenance guide. 

This guitar maintenance checklist will help keep you on track.

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