Guitar Care

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General Guitar Care Tips

  1. If you play everyday, keep your guitar on a sturdy guitar stand.
  2. If you don't play everyday, keep your guitar in a case or gig bag.
  3. If you will not be playing your guitar for many months store the guitar properly.
  4. Always unplug the guitar when you are finished playing. Leaving the cord plugged in increases the chances of the guitar getting knocked over should someone trip on the cord. Plus, leaving the cord in drains the battery quicker on guitars with active electronics.
  5. Use the correct strings and change strings often.
  6. To keep the finish in nice condition, wax the guitar every time you change strings.
  7. Use the correct length of guitar cable for your situation. In other words, don't use a 50 foot cord if you never go more than ten feet from your amp. Use a 15 or 20 foot cord instead.
  8. Change the battery every six months on guitars with active electronics.
  9. Always plug the amp into a grounded outlet. You could get a nasty shock or harm the guitar's electronics unless you are using a wireless system. If you plan to sing into a microphone while you play an electric guitar, be sure the PA system is plugged into a grounded outlet as well the guitar amp or else you will shock you lips on the mic.
  10. Always wipe sweat off the guitar when you are finished playing. The salts in sweat can corrode metal parts. Some people have a sweat ph that stains the guitar's finish and fret board.
  11. Never leave your guitar in plain sight in a locked car. You'll have to buy a new guitar and a new car window.

Cleaning and Polishing a Guitar

Cleaning the neck
  • Wash your hands before you begin.

  • Remove the guitar strings.

  • Wipe off the neck and headstock with a clean scratch-free cloth.

  • Using a clean cotton cloth, wipe each fret on the neck paying close attention to the crevices where the frets meet the fingerboard.

  • Some players like to apply lemon oil or furniture polish to the fingerboard after cleaning.

  • If the headstock has a finish, wax it with guitar wax. The back of the neck may also be finished. Whether or not the back of the neck should be polished or not is strictly a matter or personal preference.
Cleaning the body
  • Use canned air to blow any dust out of the bridge and pickups.

  • Clean the guitar body with a polish cloth to remove any grime and fingerprints.

  • Use a wax for guitar finishes and follow the directions.

  • Always use a clean, scratch-free cloth.

  • Start with a small test area in an unnoticeable place on the back of the guitar to make sure the wax will not harm the finish.

  • Keep the guitar clean by wiping it with a polish cloth after each time it is played.

Replacing Guitar Parts

Most parts of a guitar are removed using a screwdriver. Pickups, knobs, switches, and the jack, however, require some electrical soldering to remove. Many parts have a standard size and are completely interchangeable from guitar to guitar. This means they can be replaced without modifying the instrument body.

Storing a Guitar

To store a guitar for several months or longer:

  • Loosen the strings so there is no tension on the neck.

  • Place the guitar in a case or gig bag. If none are available wrap the guitar in an old sheet or towel and place inside a large plastic bag. This will keep moisture and dust off the instrument.

  • Store the guitar in an area with a moderate temperature. It is not a good idea to store guitars, especially those with exposed unfinished wood, in an area that experiences extremely hot temperatures.

  • Avoid storing a guitar in areas with excessive humidity. A guitar which remains wet for long periods of time may develop many problems including loose frets, rust, mold, and wood rotting.

  • Choose a place to store the guitar where it will not be knocked over or have items place on top of it.

  • Store the guitar either vertically or lying flat but not leaning on its neck unless it is in a hard shell case.

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