Basic Acoustic Guitar Maintenance

Guitars are instruments that require regular care and maintenance to maintain their sound and function. Even the cheapest, no-brand guitar can last for years if they are adequately cared for. Keeping your instrument in good working order is not costly but does require a delicate hand and commitment. Here are some tips for essential acoustic guitar maintenance.

Pack It Up

When your guitar is not in use, put it in its case. Seems simple enough, right? So often, you may find it easier to keep your guitar on a stand, at the ready for the next time you want to play. Storing your guitar in its case will prevent accidents, falls, and scratches. Each panel of your guitar is made of a single, thin piece of wood, making it more fragile than you’d expect and more susceptible to damages.

Wipe It Down

The oils on your hands transfer easily to the strings, fretboard, neck, and body of the guitar. These oils are not great for the health of your guitar. Before playing, it’s good practice to wash your hands. After playing, wipe your guitar down with a soft, dry cloth designed for guitars. Be sure to wipe down each string individually.

Swap Your Strings

You’ll need to replace your strings reasonably often, depending on how frequently you play. If you play daily, you may need to swap them out once a month. If you only play once or twice a week, you may be fine only swapping the strings out every few months. If you don’t know how to swap out your strings, you can take your guitar to a local music shop and have them replaced by a professional who can show you how to change them out properly.

Oil Your Fingerboard

To prevent drying, cracking, and wearing, it’s best to oil your fretboard with lemon oil, orange oil, or linseed oil whenever you change your strings.

Temperature Checks

Your guitar can be damaged by extreme temperatures. Do not store your guitar in a hot or cold vehicle for prolonged periods, and keep it out of direct sunlight, even if it’s in a case. Extreme temperatures can cause splintering, cracking, and drying. Be aware of humidity as well, as humidity levels above 45-55% can cause the wood to swell and warp, and low humidity can cause your guitar to crack.

Long-Term Storage

If you aren’t playing your guitar for a while, loosen the strings before storing the guitar. Keeping the strings taut can warp the fretboard and cause the bridge to lift. These damages can cost a fortune to repair.

By practicing proper guitar maintenance, you prolong the life of your instrument and cut down on costly repair bills. Take care of your guitar, and it’ll take care of you.