Your guitar requires some basic maintenance and care.
If you neglect your guitar, you may develop problems with it. Which would be a shame after buying something.
Here are several steps to help you take care of your guitar. Following them will help your guitar play well and look good for years to come.
If you have bought a guitar yet and would like to, read our "Ultimate guide to buying a guitar" to help you.
Changing Guitar Strings
Whether you have an electric or an acoustic guitar, you need to change the strings often.
Strings get corroded and this transfers debris onto your fretboard. Your hands also sweat when you play. This sweat reduces the strings life. If your hands sweat a lot, you’ll need frequent string changes.
You are always leaving tiny skin particles on your strings every time you play it too. Sounds gross - but that's why it's useful to change your strings.
How often should I change my guitar strings?
If you have the time and money. Then it would be great to change the strings once per month.
The longer you leave them, the more they lose their tone.
You’ll notice this more on acoustic guitars. Electric guitar strings have a longer life.
That's why it's a good idea to get good quality strings. You can find coated guitar strings last longer. And these need changing less frequently.
To preserve string life, wipe them down with a cloth after you play. Wash your hands before you play to reduce grime build up.
Clean the finish on your guitar
Use guitar polish and a polishing cloth to clean the finish.
Don’t use household cleaners.
You can buy these supplies at a guitar store.
Use a few drops of polish on a cloth. Clean the back, sides, and top of the guitar.
Take the strings off before you do that as it’s easier. Polish your guitar about once per month to remove smudges and debris.
Cleaning your fretboard
Your fretboard can build up with grime and debris.
Before you put fresh strings on, you should clean in the fretboard.
Take a credit card or another thin piece of plastic. You can gently scrape the grime off of the fretboard. There may also be debris by the frets themselves too.
You need to scrape this away. You should only do this if you noticed debris. Usually you only have to do this once every couple of months.
If you're not sure how to clean your fretboard, talk to a guitar technician.
Watch the humidity
If you have an acoustic guitar, watch the humidity.
If you live in really humid climate, a dehumidifier might be useful. This will help maintain the quality of the wood of the guitar.
Keep the guitar out of extremely cold or hot conditions.
Don’t leave your instrument overnight in a car in case of extreme weathers.
Leave your guitar away from radiators and AC units in the house.
Electric guitars don’t need humidifiers. But may be worth getting one, if the guitar is quite expensive.
Using strap locks
Guitars have strap buttons, but straps can fall off of these easily. If you’re standing up, your guitar may fall and suffer serious damage.
Use strap locks that keep the strap secure on your guitar. These don’t cost you a lot and can be a lifesaver for your instrument.
Especially if you want to look cool and have your guitar around your back or do cool stage moves.
Use a Guitar Stand
When practicing, ensure that you use a guitar stand.
Don’t lay your guitar on the bed or against a couch as it may fall over.
A good guitar stand will help keep your guitar secure. And are a good investment.
Keep your guitar in a case when you leave the house
When you’re not using your guitar, keep it in the guitar case. If it’s lying around, it’s easier to knock to over and damage it. You can also buy guitar hangers to hang it on the wall, so it’s out of the way.
Get a good quality Guitar Case
Getting a good quality case to hold your guitar is important too.
There are a number of things to watch out for with a guitar case. For example, are the straps going to last?
Is the case padded that it will protect your guitar if it gets knocked?
Does it have a good quality zip that won't break?
When you put your guitar in. Make sure both your zip closures are near the top of your guitar. This is to reduce any weak points at the base where the guitar might fall out.
(Trust me - I've seen it happen)
Getting your intonation checked
You may want to have your guitar's intonation checked. This ensures that the guitar is in tune up and down the fretboard.
This is best done by a qualified guitar technician. You can do it yourself, but it takes time to learn.
You don't have to do this, but it can make a difference in how the guitar sounds. Beginners may not notice the difference in the tuning, but you will once you've played for a while.
Be careful with your belt buckle
If you wear a large belt buckle, this can damage your guitar. If you're standing up and playing, the guitar body can bang into the belt buckle. It's best to avoid wearing large belt buckles when standing as you play. If you do wear them, you have to be careful to ensure you don't get any scratches on your guitar.
Take your instrument to a guitar technician once per year. Do this to ensure that everything on the guitar is working as it should be. Your guitar technician can do simple checks on your instrument to rule out problems. Just like an MOT for a car.
These are some simple ways to look after your guitar. With a good quality guitar, if you take care of it. A guitar can last more than a lifetime.
Getting the most out of your guitar
If you would like to improve your guitar playing and you live in London, England. Head over to our homepage to learn more about our guitar lessons.
We can teach you how to look after your guitar. But more importantly, how to have fun and enjoy the learning experience of playing guitar.