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Care And Maintenance Of The Guitar

May 22, 2008
Good guitar care requires little time and effort but can reward you with years of playing enjoyment. There is nothing like pride of ownership in a well-maintained vintage guitar. If you eventually sell it the profits can be just as rewarding. A guitar is not just an investment of money. It can represent hours, months and even years of hard work and study, and neglecting it can also be very expensive in the long run.

So here are some easy tips for guitar care and maintenance:

Always keep it in a protective case, or in a sturdy guitar rack, away from any source of dampness.

Keep the guitar away from extreme humidity - you can buy small dehumidifers that fit right into the compartment of your guitar case that will absorb damp air which can warp the wood. Sometimes these accessories are included with the purchase of a top-line guitar, or you can negotiate them with the purchase when buying from a vendor.

Keep the guitar in a climate-controlled room. The rule of thumb is, if the room it is stored in is too hot or too cold for you to live in, then the guitar shouldn't live in it either. Trust me -- I've made dumb mistakes storing guitars in hot attics and then wondered why the necks looked a little off kilter. Bad idea. Keep the guitar in a room where you are comfortable spending a lot of time.

Guitar stores sell a lot of accessories like guitar polish, string cleaners, cleaning cloths and such. I usually use a clean cotton cloth to wipe my guitars off. When I change the strings I will take a clean cotton or flannel cloth and wipe off all dust and dirt from the nut and under the bridge area where it is hard to reach under the strings. It's a good idea to change the strings every few months or so -- the frequency really depends on how much one plays -- but don't let the strings get a rusty or scratchy feeling. The strings should always feel smooth and almost silky, for maximum playability.

Do not leave anything stuck in between or on the strings, like a pick or a capo (capotasto). Return the guitar to its case in the same perfect condition as when you first bought it. Picks can fall inside the hole, and capos can keep unnecessary tension on the neck and strings. Remove anything you put onto the guitar when you first removed it from its case.

Speaking of strings, don't ever store your guitar with high tension on the strings. Keep the guitar in tune, or even better still, lower than in tune, so that the strings are somewhat relaxed. You'll get more play out of them, and better sound. Replacing the strings frequently can be expensive, so their maintenance is important.

With a little care your guitar will provide you with playing enjoyment for years to come.
About the Author
Barbara Salerno is a hobby guitar player and writes articles about the basics of guitar playing for beginners and those needing advice and encouragement.
See http://www.guitar-playing-for-beginners.com .
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