Project Music’s Guide to looking after your guitar
Project Music’s Guide to looking after your guitar
Here are some of the best ways to ensure the new guitar you have bought from Project Music is kept and maintained in the best possible way. This means it will play beautifully for life and reduce issues; saving you time and money.
Although a guitar can feel very much alive, they have absolutely no homeostasis skills, so you need to maintain a stable, relatively constant internal environment for them. Arguably, good storage is the most important factor when looking after a guitar. To keep the instrument’s environment balanced consider storing the guitar near the centre of the building away from walls. You also need to ensure the guitar’s stand or storage location is not hot, not wet, not damp, not close to a radiator, free from dust and dirt and not where direct sunlight can fall upon the instrument.
A great idea for keeping it away from sunlight, and probably the best idea overall, is to keep it in its case. If you choose to keep your guitar in its case, then keep it vertical, standing up on its base, strap button or end pin if it has one. Usually, storing it vertically is the most obvious, space saving option, but if you find yourself having to store it on top of a cupboard lying flat, then keep the strings face up. Cases are our favourite storage method, but if you have fewer crazed animals and children about than many of us who work at Project Music do, you may prefer a stand or wall hook. These keep your instrument safe respectively by supporting the guitar by the base or off the floor by the headstock. Stands and wall hooks make your guitar a little more vulnerable to the environment but also may encourage you to play your guitar more often.
Looking after your strings mean you will keep your guitar sounding great and it is also a good way to review the overall condition of your instrument. As you play your guitar, your strings will get worn and the sound will start to become muted and less clear. Human’s sweat and the resulting moisture on your skin and the chemicals you use too, can all effect the speed of the corrosion. When you notice a deadening and more muffled sound we recommend replacing your strings. Ideally, replace all strings at the same time and recycle your old ones at your local scrap metal yard.
Project Music ensures your guitar comes with strings that will it give the best results and are happy to fit strings and set it up to suit your style of playing too. We can set it up for you to use lighter string sets, lower the action and we will adjust the bridge, saddle and neck accordingly to prevent fret buzz (depending on your tastes and the guitar structure). We are also very happy to simply replace strings for you and let you know if it needs any other servicing at the same time.
Following on from the strings getting worn out from human moisture, the fret board and finishes can also get worn. We have seen the hardware on electric guitars; tremolos and the bridge where the strings are fixed, become tarnished after a few months of extensive gigging. All this depends on the level of moisture you release when playing, but here are some general guidelines. You can give your guitar a wipe with a lint cloth, do not use and abrasive cleaner, to remove moisture from finger marks from the fretboard and from Nickel plated or gold plated hardware after playing; there are also special cleaning cloths that are available for this purpose if you prefer.
Your fingerboard should also be monitored, if it looks sickly or dry then you could consider oils or similar products to help rehydrate it and clean it. For some guitars it is good to do this each time you replace the strings, but in general if a fretboard looks bad this is often because gunge, dead skin and often grease from food has made it sticky and harder to play and it simply needs a clean, which should ideally be done without the strings on.
Humidity is the amount of water vapour present in the air. It varies all over the worlds and can vary in a location due to weather conditions. Wood is hygroscopic, which means it attracts water and when wood fills with water it swells. Correspondingly, when the wood dries, it shrinks and the strain this causes on a guitar, particularly the guitar top and also the fretboard, is enough to make the instrument unhealthy. If you are noticing sharp frets on your guitar (acoustic or electric) and an unusual low action on your acoustic then humidity packs could be considered. These are placed inside the case, along with your guitar for a number of days, and will help improve the instruments condition.
Protecting your instrument from humidity will keep your guitar in great condition saving you time and money. Project Music is happy to look at your instrument if you are worried about any damage and we will advise you on the best way forward. If humidity is an issue for you then the best action to take is to store your guitar in its case (we refer to our earlier point on storage being the most important factor when looking after a guitar). This is until someone makes an AI guitar that has homeostasis built in as a feature and will adjust its body to the environment all on its own.