Basic guitar maintenance is a pretty simple process. The main task in keeping the guitar maintained is changing out the strings. Other than that, keeping it clean is your daily 30 second job.
You can prolong the life of your strings by using string cleaner made by a number of different string manufacturers. How often you change strings is directly related to how often you play. The more you play, the more often you will change your strings.
After you’ve been playing for a while, you’ll start to notice the difference in the tone of the strings. When you first put on a new set, the tone will be crisp. As you play, the tone will get dull.
I've put together a set of instructions on how to re-string your guitar. After a couple times doing this, you'll be a pro. Like I said before this is the most common and time consuming guitar maintenance task, but the tone you get from new strings is worth the trouble.
Of course, a good polishing every now and then to get rid of the fingerprints is not a bad idea either. It's also a good guitar maintenance idea to keep a polishing rag around to clean off the oil from your hands after every session.
Cigarette smoke is not real good for a guitar, but hey, let's be realistic. Whether you're a smoker or you're playing in a club somewhere, there's going to be cigarette smoke. Just keep a clean polishing rag around to wipe your guitar down.
If you're not going to play your guitar for a while, it's a good idea to loosen the strings to relieve tension on the neck. It makes sense to do this as well if you're traveling with your guitar.
If you happen to live in an area where it gets cold, make sure you let your guitar adjust to inside temperature if it's been out in the cold for an extended amount of time. Whether you have a gig bag or a case, don't take your guitar out right away. Unlatch the case or unzip the bag and let the guitar normalize to the temperature.
This can save you cracked finish at minimum, or a cracked neck at worst. Heat and cold cause things to expand and contract, so give it time to adjust itself. It would be a real downer to have your guitar neck crack because you were a little impatient.
Other Fun Maintenance Issues
The better you get at playing, and the more guitars you get to try out, you'llbegin to notice things you can improve. For instance, at some pont you'll encounter fret buzz, or your intonation will be off. Maybe the neck Is bowed too much. Let's cover these one at a time:
A great site for tips and instruction on all guitar maintenance and repair tips is Guitar Repair Bench. My friend Shaun covers repair tips and instruction for both acoustic and electric guitars, so this is an awesome resource for all your question regarding guitar maintenance. And if you're into building guitars, you can get advice and direction as he expands his website.
That's a good start. As I develop more of the site, I'll be adding more guitar maintenance tips, such as adjusting for intonation and correcting a bent neck. These are a bit more advanced and may need the help of a guitar technician, so we'll hold off on these for now.
Have a guitar maintenance tip you don't see here? Let me know and I'll add it in, with props given to you, of course!
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