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JeanPaulSartre's avatar

So lots of questions have come up lately about guitars and music making in general. Anyone have a few maintenance tips for caring for their guitars?

Asked by JeanPaulSartre (5779points) February 10th, 2010

I know a couple important things to do in dry climates and in the winter time:
1) Run a “cool mist” (not steam) humidifier in the room. This helps keep the guitar from getting too dry and, worst case, the frets from popping out.
2) Get a bottle of Lem Oil and treat the top of the fretboard once a year by loosening the strings, appling a couple of sprays on a plain white paper towel (paper towels with colored patterns on them will come off onto the guitar) and rub into the top of the fret board. Let the Lem Oil soak in and dry for about 10 to 15 minutes and then wipe off any extra Oil with a paper towel.

I’m interested in what others do to protect their investment.

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17 Answers

Axemusica's avatar

Keeping guitars is a humid room is a plus, but not always needed for electrics. Acoustics on the other hand I would highly recommend it. I do all my own maintenance on my guitars. I change strings often due to how much I play and clean and treat the fretboard after every string change with Dr. Ducks Ax Wax. I rub down the frets and clean each one. Then rub another coat on to sit for about 20mins. After that I remove it all. It can be a lengthily process, but it keeps the fretboard smooth and hydrated. This is a must if you’re using rosewood fretboards since they can get pretty sticky.

Also, during every string change I re-tune intonation and ride height (action). 2 of my guitars are Floyd Rose equip, so it’s inevitable. I’m kind of anal about how my guitars are kept, but a good rule of thumb is: Wash your hands before playing and always wipe it down when you’re done.

davidbetterman's avatar

Don’t leave them out in the garage…

Cruiser's avatar

I’d be leery about too much oil on the finish as long term I would expect the oils to work into the finish and opt for a paste wax finish instead (just my opinion)...keep the pots lightly oiled with white oil…strings in tune, stored standing up in a hard shell case…indoors of course and the best care for a guitar is to play the hell out of it!! Stevie Ray Vaughn once said so!!

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Great answers for everyone! Woo hoo!

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I see that the humidity in finish issues have been covered. All I can add is about the importance of detensioning the strings when it’s not going to be played for a while. I always did this with my classical guitars, but had to learn the hard way about solid-body electrics. I made the mistake of storing my Les Paul Standard with the strings tensioned and now have a warped neck to contend with (and no neck adjustment on this model). I now have to find out if this instrument is worth enough to make repair cost-effective.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land What is this “not going to be played for a while” of which you speak? ;)

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre A week or so. At least that’s what my instructor taught me 40+ years ago.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land A week without playing? lol. I’m kidding, I swear.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre I go months without playing now. I used to be a reasonably competant classical guitarist. I injured my left hand about 20 years ago and now only can play the simplest of pieces requiring little fingerboard work (simple chordal accompaniment for amateur singers is about the best I can do now). You’re into flamenco style?

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land Ah – I’m sorry to hear that! I’ve been playing (mostly Jazz) for a bit over 10 years now and just recently started taking lessons to expand my abilities a bit, so I’ve been learning classical methods for note reading and dabbling in Flamenco.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre My hand isn’t really disabled for most things.If I had the motivation, I could probably get around the problem. (Django Reinhardt only has two usable fingers on his left hand). Lifes journey has just taken me elsewhere. Flamenco is fascinating, lots of tricky bits and that golpe. :)

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land Yeah – it’s really a wild departure from my scales and solo work! I’m enjoying the challenge and the confidence it’s bringing to my playing. I’m glad the hand isn’t a disability for you – but can definitely see how it would impede guitar work… I know my knees prevent me from seriously considering getting back into hockey as well.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre Knees? Ugh…I had to have one of those replaced a few years back. Amazing what they can do with artificial joints now. I can chug along on skis or run, but not setting any speed records.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land Yeah, I imagine I’m eventually going to have to do the same. But I’m hoping that by then they have awesome robot knees that’ll let me jump over buildings…

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre But they’ll cost six million…each, at the rate things are going.I was lucky to have mine paid for by the US Army.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land Ha! Probably – but with inflation that’ll be like 7.50 in today’s bucks, right? I wish…

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