If you love your guitar (be it electric, acoustic, or classical) and you are willing to do anything it takes to properly maintain it, the following article is what you’re looking for.
I will guide you through 4 easy tips that will explain what you need to do in order to keep your guitar in shape, and save money and time doing it.
1. HUMIDITY CONTROL
Extreme humidity fluctuations are dangerous for each and every wooden instrument, and guitars are no exception, particularly the hollow body ones. Some people will say that a dry guitar will sound better and all you need is to keep a de-humidifier in the room; well, they are wrong! What they are actually thinking about is the natural aging process of the instrument that hardens the wood rendering it louder and brighter.
Exposing your guitar to an excessively dry environment will simply cause the wood to break and warp, and you to spend a fortune to repair it. And, as you have probably already guessed, over humidification won’t make your guitar much happier, considering that such an environment will cause the wood to swell up, making it susceptible to cracks, loose its dynamism and its volume. You don’t want that either.
So, what is the right humidity range for you guitar?
All quality guitars (Taylor, Gibson, and Martin included) are built in a controlled environment where the relative humidity is about 47%, which brings us to the tough question: How do we create and maintain such an environment?
The solution that best fits our needs is a humidity control system that controls the humidity and stabilizes it at the right level for your guitar. The humidity system my luthier suggested is MusicSorb.
Music Sorb protects your guitar by maintaining the correct relative humidity range and, because it lasts a year, once you have set it up, it is one less thing to worry about.
All you need to do is drop the MusicSorb Guitar Pack units into your guitar case and keep the case closed as much as is practical, allowing MusicSorb to work its magic; Learn more about it.
2. HOME SWEET HOME
You need a place where you guitar can feel at home. I’ll say it clearly and brutally: the first thing you need when you buy a guitar is its matching hard case. This quality case helps protect your guitar from harmful elements like heat, impacts, and stress, while making it easier to carry it around.
If your guitar doesn’t come with its matching hard case, then buying one should be your first priority, and, even though they can be pretty expensive, not investing in one, in the end, won’t save you any money.
Repairing a guitar can be shockingly expensive. In other words, give your guitar a proper home and you won’t have to think about giving it a proper burial.
3. STRING-CHANGING CONUNDRUM
One of the questions I get asked more frequently is: How often should I replace the strings of my guitar?
Well, it depends… It depends on how “hard” you play (aggressive picking hand, extreme bending), what kind of strings you use, how much you play and other minor factors like where you play (in-doors, out-doors, smoky clubs) and how much you sweat while playing.
Like before every meal, you should wash your hands first! Keeping both your hands and your strings as clean as possible will extend their lifetime, but changing them at least once every 3 to 6 months is advisable. Another interesting question is: how do I tell when it’s time to change the strings?
There are a few indicators you need to watch out for:
- Your strings starting to discolor or rust,
- you’re having a harder time getting the guitar in tune,
- And if it is starting to feel like your guitar is losing its brightness.
While replacing the strings, do not forget to clean the hard-to-reach places that you normally struggle with because, as we are about to see, once again, cleaning your guitar properly is crucial.
4. CLEAN IT, CLEAN IT, CLEAN IT
Cleaning your guitar is an easy task, but an important one nonetheless.
For your everyday cleaning all you need is a microfiber cloth and a little willpower. Every once in a while is a good idea to use specialized cleaning products that will help maintain the original splendor of the guitar, but never use water and soap.
If you chould, you would really be sorry afterwards. You should find the time to clean your guitar every time you play it; it makes it look good and feel good, and, at the same time, it’s an important step to the proper maintenance of your instrument.
Proper maintenance of your guitar is an achievable goal, you need to simply keep in mind a few things:
- Humidity is a threat and nothing works better than MusicSorb to protect your instrument from relative humidity changes.
- A guitar needs a place to call home. Having a hard case in which to store your guitar is essential to its survival.
- How often you should change strings depends on the kind of guitarist you are and on the kind of strings you use, but, if you change them every three to six months, you can’t go wrong.
- Cleaning your guitar often and properly will make it look good but, more importantly, will extend its lifetime.
If you are a passionate guitarist or on the way to become one, or if playing your guitar is crucial to your survival, do not forget that the proper maintenance of your instrument is crucial to its own survival as well. Oh, and it saves you money.