At Silversound Guitar we get a lot of questions from students about caring for their guitar. Because of this, we are having a special event with local Colorado Springs luthier Kevin Rodela. On Saturday June 9th from 4-6pm Kevin will conducting a class on guitar maintenance. I’m not going to give away all secrets, but just prime the pump, as it were. This is just a list of some the most basic things to watch out for when you are taking care of your instrument.
1. Change them regularly
Okay, so most of the string manufacturers like Ernie Ball and D’Addario recommend changing strings every 20 hours of play or so. While, that’s great for the manufacturers it really depends upon the climate you are in and how much you play them. In Colorado for example, where the climate is drier the strings last a little longer. Generally though once they get grimy it’s time for them to go. At the very least probably about every 2 months is a safe bet.
2.Don’t take off all the strings at once
This is especially true if you have a floating bridge of any kind. The strings that act as a counter balance will pop the bridge out of place and create a bigger problem than just dead strings. It also creates an issue with a sudden change in neck tension. Imagine trying to run and someone is holding you back with a rubber band and they suddenly let go. This is the effect of taking off all the strings on your guitar. Instead only remove 2-3 at a time. I prefer to simply do the treble side and then the bass side.
3.Clean it up
While you have your strings off give the fretboard a good wipe down. Don’t use anything acidic though and stay away from soaps. You can use things like linseed oil. Lemon oil can be okay but it is important to be aware of the ingredients. Certain chemical additives can actually damage the fretboard.
4.Scrub but don’t scrape
If you find there is a bunch of grime on your finger board then the best thing to do is start with a fine cloth. Scrub just a little bit and if it still doesn’t come off a light scouring pad or even a super fine steel wool. The key is to get the grime off without scraping up the fretboard.
The Body of the Guitar
5. Take Care of the Body
When cleaning up the body be sure to use a gentle finish polish. Don’t ever use furniture polish. Furniture polish can seep into the wood and even harm your finish depending upon your guitar. Also it is generally a good idea to use a different cloth then the one you used on your fretboard.
6.Make that Bridge Shine
The bridge on most electric guitars is also going to get dust and dirt on it. So to keep that chrome clean and shiny go ahead dig out an old toothbrush. Just get it a little wet and the the bristles will do all the hard work.
To get the grime away from the frets go ahead and break out that toothbrush again. Since it is less abrasive than steel wool or a scouring pad and it get right up against the frets it makes a great gentle tool for the fretboard.
These are just a few tips to get you going. Treat your guitar well and it will treat you well. Kevin Rodela will be dealing out way more info during his sessions on June 9th. Be sure to stop by the studio and check it out. Call for more info or email us.