How to Properly Care for and Clean Your Guitar

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No matter what kind of finish you is on your instrument, it is best to clean it regularly to prolong its life.

Being able to play the guitar whether professionally or as your hobby is a great way to spend free time. The guitar is also a universal instrument, able to create music that anyone can relate to. This is why knowing how to properly take care of your guitar is crucial. Guitar manufacturers nowadays take the time when choosing the best kind of wood and other materials when creating these instruments. To properly care for and clean your guitar you need to be familiar with the kind of wood it uses.

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There are various types of finishes that are used on stringed instruments including guitars. Vintage instruments are usually covered with sports nitrocellulose lacquer—a thin, hard finish that lets the wood resonate well. However, nitrocellulose is also prone to cracking and checking over time, especially when exposed to constantly changing humidity. To combat this, many modern guitar makers cover the instruments with finishes that provide better protection against natural elements. Most modern finishes typically come in two styles, including gloss and satin. Gloss finishes are shiny and have a glass-like finish; satin finishes have a soft and hazy sheen which can feel and look “unfinished.

No matter what kind of finish you is on your instrument, it is best to clean it regularly to prolong its life. Take note; there are hundreds of products in the market which claim to be a good guitar cleaning product but may cause deterioration in the process. Some cleaners may contain petroleum products or solvents which can damage  nitrocellulose finish. Also, some polishes can contain abrasives which can easily remove the natural patina of instruments. When choosing a guitar care product, choose a material that does not leave behind residues and do not contain petroleum or solvents in its ingredients.

Treat Your Guitar With Care At All Times

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When you own a guitar, always treat your guitar with care, just like how you treated it when it was just at the store. Avoid laying it down on the ground or floor when you are not playing it or doing maintenance on it. The best place where you can keep your guitar is inside its fitted case or something that can hold it the right way. It is your choice if you want a hard case, a gig bag, or hang it on your wall or use a floor stand.

Here are some tips to remember when cleaning your electric or acoustic guitar.

  • Remove your strings only two or three at a time; this will help minimize any sudden changes to neck tension.
  • If you have an electric guitar, start by loosening the strings just a little bit so you can remove the dust that most likely has gathered around the pickups area.
  • If you have an acoustic guitar, start by loosening the strings and removing any dust that has gathered by the bridge.
  • It is not necessary to loosen them much; it is all right to loosen it enough to get a cloth underneath the strings to clean this area. Even when you are not changing strings, try and wipe them with a dry and lint-free cloth after each playing session. Keeping them clean will make them last longer.
  • If you are cleaning your strings when it is still on your guitar, loosen them slightly and pinch a clean, dry cloth around the whole string to clean any leftover finger and fretboard grime.

Keep Your Fretboards Fresh

The fretboards maintenance does not have to be so difficult. In fact, you can do this twice or thrice a year, and it will be all good. One thing you need to remember, do not mess up with your fretboard’s natural moisture.

If your fretboard is oily or grimy, finish off with a light rub over using extra fine #000 or #0000 steel wool. Make sure to cover your guitar’s pickups with another cloth. It’s best to conceal your pickups when cleaning with steel wool. Use an old toothbrush to clean your guitar’s fret.

Cleaner and Finishes

Never use everyday furniture polish to give your guitar a finished clean look. The oils in most furniture polishes will most likely seep into wood may affect the density and sound that your guitar can make.

Always squirt your cleaner on a rag first instead of directly on the guitar. Take the time to read the instructions of these cleaning products.

Your guitar will be able to play good tunes for a long time with proper care and maintenance. The tips above are one of the best that you can follow to ensure proper care for your guitar.

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