It is a calling. A calling of love and passion for the six string instrument. Adhering to the call whether you are a newbie or a Pro Guitarist, the other fact that we share is that our guitars takes a lot of abuse. Like most things, they require maintenance as they are subject to various factors that if left unattended for a period of time, may render the instrument useless and unplayable.
A good habit to practice is to do a generic check up every time you change to a new set of strings. It’s a good idea to change strings regularly which should generally be about every month or two. Playing on rusty dead old strings is seriously not advisable. The rust on the strings acts like sandpaper when in contact with the frets thus wearing them down faster. And I don’t have to tell you what happens when you get cut by a rusty string .
The most abused part will usually be on the body, Scratches, dings, pick swirls, and chips are most noticeable in this area. Although I myself don’t really mind a few minor scratches here and there (only if I caused it lol!) I honestly find it a little bit weird that some people find the “old beat-up” look cool. And as there is demand, guitar manufacturers starts producing guitars with the “old beat-up” finishing and named them “distress”. I guess it’s like “stoned-washed jeans”. Moving on.
The neck is where the attention of the focus is. It is where the most stress occurs from the tension of the strings. It is also where the most dirt and grime builds up. The more we play or practice the faster it builds up. Needless to say that if the dirt and grime are not removed, it’s not going to be long before your guitar starts to loose clarity and sustain. But fret not as there are countless of maintenance products in the market. They all more or less do the same thing.
The Dunlop System65 Maintenance Kit
Most of these “maintenance kit” products are intended to be used after each playing session. Though it sounds like a chore but keeping your guitar in tip-top shape will definitely ensure years of fun. Like anything else, it will take care of you in some ways if you do the same. Here are the four most important tips by Ovation:
- Keep it clean
- Keep it comfortable
- Don’t hurt it
- Play the heck out of it
1.Keep it clean:
There are many fine cleaning products available for your guitar at your local music store. Invest in a good polish and a couple of lint-free polishing rags.
- Wipe the strings down with a dry cloth after playing. Use guitar polish sparingly on the rest of the guitar.
- If the strings are dead or discolored, change them. This will put less stress on the truss rod.
- On satin finishes, the wood will take on a nice patina (shine) over time. Again, use your polish sparingly!
- Use lemon oil or a “conditioner” on the fingerboard and bridge a couple of times a year, or if the wood looks dry. You’ll need to take off all of the strings to do this.
2.Keep it comfortable:
Generally, if you are comfortable, your guitar will be comfortable. Try to keep the temperature moderate and keep the guitar between 40-60% humidity. Use a humidifier in the case or room if:
- You frequently run the heat or air conditioner.
- You are in the mountains or desert.
- You aren’t sure.
- If you live by the shore, or on a boat you probably don’t need a humidifier. A desiccant (silicon pack) in the case may be needed.
3.Don’t hurt it:
- Do not shock your guitar or subject it to extremes! If you are out in the snow, and enter a warm house or club, do not open the case until the guitar inside has come up to temperature.
- Do not leave your guitar in the trunk of your car! (That will kill your guitar and you will be very sad!)
- Make sure you have the proper case. When you close the lid, be sure to latch it! Carry the case with the lid towards you. Backwards down the stairs and forward going up.
- If you don’t know what you are doing with the truss rod, don’t goof with it. Get to know a good guitar tech.
- Don’t tune it above pitch. The A string should be 110 HZ or cycles per second. Electronic tuners are inexpensive and reliable.
- If traveling by plane, be very careful. Loosen all the strings on your guitar and use the best fitting, best constructed case you can find.
4.Play the heck out of it:
Not only will you feel good and get a rush from playing your guitar, but the more you play will help the solid woods to develop tone. This also helps to keep you in touch with your guitar, should it need maintenance.
On occasion, your guitar will require service. This might include a truss rod adjustment and set up. If you play a lot, you will eventually need your frets dressed or maybe a new saddle or nut.
Enough blogging, play time now…