Maintaining Your Gear
When buying a guitar, or any other gear, you should always buy the highest quality gear you can afford. Once you get new equipment, you should take the time to make sure it stays in the best possible condition.
A hard-shell case is one of the best things you can buy for any guitar. It offers your instrument the most protection even if you only play it at home. Keeping your guitar in a hard case will prevent it from collecting a lot of dust. Dust can make your knobs have an annoying crackling sound when you use them. A hard-shell case is also the easiest way to control your guitar’s environment. Humidity can affect the condition and playability of your instrument, especially acoustic guitars. The ideal humidity for a guitar is between 40%- 50%. You can buy a humidifier to keep inside your hard-shell case. Having a humidifier will help you keep your guitar in the best possible condition. You can keep your guitar on a stand or wall hanger but be mindful of the environment. Keep your guitar away from windows, vents, and heaters. Too much heat and humidity will cause the guitar wood to swell and cause your guitar to have higher action. Having an environment that is too cold and dry can cause the wood to shrink and crack.
To keep your guitar in the best possible condition, take the time to wipe it down when you are done playing it. You should wipe off your strings and the body of your guitar with a microfiber cloth. Wiping down your guitar after each use will make your strings last longer and keep your guitar looking its best.
For more thorough cleaning, you should buy guitar polish. Over-the-counter cleaners will leave a film on your guitar finish. Buy a cleaner designed for your guitar’s finish. Always spray the cleaning product onto the cloth. If you spray the cleaning solution onto your guitar, it may get into your electronics. You can also buy a fretboard conditioner that keeps the neck from drying out and keep it looking nice. DO NOT use condition if you have a maple fretboard.
A fresh set of strings makes your guitar sound better. You can change them more often if you are playing a lot of gigs. It would be best to change your strings every two to three months.
You should have your guitar set up by a professional at least once a year. A setup usually includes fixing any action (string height) issues. Make sure your guitar does not have any intonation issues (being in tune on all frets). Inspect all your electronics. Give your guitar a thorough cleaning and a new set of strings. A reputable repair person can also help you do any modifications or repairs that you want to be done. It is easy to do some damage to your guitar if you do not know what you are doing. For most people, it is best to have a setup done by a professional.
Your guitar will be more playable, look great, and last a long time by taking these extra steps.
About the author: Brian Fish is a professional guitarist living in Northeast Ohio and is an expert guitar instructor at Guitar Lessons Geauga.