When it comes to guitars, you can find a whole bunch of information out there. Start talking with any guitar player who has some experience and they can go for days about different guitars, different brands and so on. However, there is one aspect of guitars that constantly gets forgotten. That is right, we are talking about guitar maintenance. Guitar maintenance is extremely important if you want to keep that instrument in its top shape. Today we are going to spend some time discussing guitar maintenance as well as what things you should or shouldn't do with your guitar.
Guitar Maintenance - The Basics
Taking care of your guitar can be hard or it can be easy. It all depends on how much attention you dedicate to the whole process. For starters, one good way to keep your guitar healthy is to get a hard case for it. Gig bags are alright if you have nothing else, but a hard case is the number one accessory that will prolong the life of your guitar. It doesn't have to be expensive but it needs to be sturdy.
Once you have protection covered, you should look into habits that are going to help you get the best performance out of your guitar. The easiest one is wiping the guitar down after use. When we play, our hands sweat. That sweat starts building up on the fretboard, strings, and pickups if you have an electric guitar. If you don't remove the sweat after every use, all of the metallic components on your guitar will start to oxidize soon rather than later.
Humidity is one of the environmental factors that can easily destroy your guitar. This affects both the electric and acoustic guitars although it is much more devastating for the latter. Since guitars are made out of wood, they require a certain level of humidity. If there is too much humidity, the wood will start to bloat up. On the other hand, if there is not enough, it will begin drying up. Both of these phenomena can damage the tonewood beyond repair. That is the worst case scenario. What you will see more often is your neck starting to bend or twist at some point, or your guitar's top begin to deform.
Staying on top of humidity is easy if you have all the right tools for the job. That hard case we have mentioned earlier is a must-have item in this scenario. What most guitar players do is get a small humidifier for guitars and place inside the hard case. This way you are creating a micro climate for the guitar, which will keep it at its desired level of humidity.
The Importance Of Guitar Maintenance
So far we have described what happens in most severe cases, but the lack of guitar maintenance can have a much less obvious impact on your instrument. Before we go any further, we have to emphasize how complex a guitar is. Especially a high-end one. We are talking about instruments which rely on all of their components to work flawlessly in order to deliver the performance they are capable of.
Even if just one of those components suffers, the entire instrument will bottleneck right there. In practical terms, that means that if your fretboard becomes too dirty for lack of care, the guitar might lose its intonation or the sound may become dull. Truth is that most guitar players don't even notice these effects.
It is the professionals that do. Imagine having something like a Taylor 914CE and you are getting ready to hit the stage. All of a sudden, the guitar just doesn't sound right. Maybe you have left it out on a dry day, or maybe you just haven't cleaned it since you got it. Needless to say, that Taylor is not going to perform at the level it is truly capable of.
Truth About Guitar Maintenance
One of the biggest truths about guitar maintenance is that it's not hard. You don't have to go and spend a whole bunch of money on various cleaning solutions and tools. All you really need is some common sense and a piece of cloth. Any kind of maintenance is better than none. That is just a fact. If your guitar has more severe technical issues such as its neck being out of alignment, you have two options.
You can either do the job yourself, which might take some research and learning. Or, you can take it down to the shop and let them do it for you. If you choose the former approach, we urge you to do substantial research on the subject. This is especially true for guitar neck adjustments but also applies to anything else really.
Accessories Deserve Some Love Too
Even though this article was meant to focus mostly on guitars, we have to mention accessories as well. The very first thing that comes to mind is the cables department. If you like your cables and plan on using them for a long time, make sure that you treat them right as well. This means storing the cables after every use, cleaning them from time to time and generally being careful not to damage them during use.
As long as you inspect, clean and store all of your guitar accessories, chances are they will serve you for a long time. All of this takes an extra few minutes to accomplish and is really not that hard to do. After some time, you will be so used to it that you won't even notice.
Guitar maintenance is one of the least talked about, but extremely important subjects related to this instrument. Taking good care of your instrument will not only keep it in perfect condition, but it will also protect its value should you decide to sell it. At the end of the day, we can sum everything up by saying this - take good care of your guitar and it will take good care of you.