The Essential Guitar Maintenance Guide

The Essential Guitar Maintenance Guide by Joseph Nicholls

A guitar is basically a delicate instrument which requires you to take care of properly. Just like any other tool or machine, maintenance is very important if you want a better service year in year out. You don't want to find yourself in a situation where you are at a certain gig and to your dismay; a horrible sound is produced from your guitar.

To avoid the embarrassment and cancellation of the show altogether, you need to take care of your guitar. This entails basic maintenance of different parts of your guitar to ensure that when playing, a smooth sound is produced. The process involves using the least costly measures or no cost at all. Here are ways you can maintain your guitar for better performance and many years of service. If you find a good guitar you can check here acoustic guitar reviews

Cleaning your guitar

This is an essential part of guitar maintenance. Once you have finished playing, regular cleaning is essential. The reason for cleaning your guitar is that natural oils, sweat, and dead skin can have an effect on play-ability and appearance of your guitar. To clean your guitar, have a cleaning element with you to prevent marks being left which later corrode the frets or the finish of your guitar.

The cleaning products used to clean the guitar should be the correct one for your guitar. Also, keep a clean dry cloth to wipe your guitar from the stock to the bridge. Do this before and after any play session. You can also apply wood polish using a washcloth or crumpled up newspaper to make your guitar to shine.

It is also recommended that you clean your guitar when changing the string because you will get complete access to the fretboard and bridge. Use a microfiber and rubbing alcohol to clean the string and the same microfiber with a damp cloth to wipe the body. While cleaning the strings ensure that the alcohol doesn't come in contact with anything else apart from the string itself.

Maintain the required humidity

Being that many guitars are made from different types of woods, humidity is vitally important because naturally, wood is reactive to moisture. Acoustic guitars are the most affected due to their thin and delicate construction, unlike the electric guitars.

A higher humidity level will cause the wood to swell hence joints separate at various areas of your guitar due to the excess moisture. This, in turn, will reduce the performance of your guitar in terms of play-ability and action.

On the other hand, when the level of humidity is low meaning that wood lacks any moisture severe consequences will be witnessed on your guitar. Cracks will develop in the guitar's top or the warped neck. You can check the signs of dryness by placing the ruler under the bridge or the edges of the fret will feel sharp when coming away from the wood.

When checking using the ruler, the guitar's top is supposed to slightly bow out hence small gaps are left underneath the ruler towards the outer edges. If the guitar is slightly sunken or flat then take action. To avoid these problems always place your guitar in the case after playing sessions. Also, buy yourself a humidifier, dehumidifier, and digital hygrometer to monitor the level of humidity.

Truss-rod adjustment

Sometimes while playing the guitar, it may seem a bit off. It maybe that the intonations aren't the same as it was or the tad is higher or feels lower hence notes don't ring clearly. Because guitars are made from wood, humidity conditions sometimes affect the playability of your guitar. That is why manufacturers built truss rods to allow subtle adjustments.

Depending on the type of guitar truss rod adjustments require large crosshead screwdriver and an Allen key. There are times manufactures provide these tools in the case. To increase relief, just turn the truss rod anticlockwise and turn it clockwise to decrease the relief.

To gauge your progress put capos over the first and 15th fret. If getting better grips for better playability requires truss adjustments then you need to make the necessary adjustments. In the long run, you will save yourself the hassle of incurring costs by making unnecessary set-ups.

Re-string the guitar

To re-string your guitar, it will entirely depend on kind of guitar and bridge you are dealing with. Most people go wrong on this aspect that is why it is necessary to do it in the correct way. In the case of classical guitars thread your guitar's string through the bridge.

After doing that bring the string back and it will loop under itself with the very end string being trapped at the back of the guitar's bridge. The tension of the string will do most of the work for you hence don't tie anything too tightly.

Although there are various methods of re-stringing the string in classical guitars this is a preferable method to use. For steel- strung guitars the strings are secured with a series of slots. To re-string just pull out the strings with a small-tong-like tool if they are wedged-in but your hands will do the work in a fairly easy manner.

Once you have pulled out the strings, just pull up tightly against the bridge pins the ball ends of your new strings. The string slots will then face upwards to ensure that there is a straight string pull. The pins will then be replaced by firmly pressing down your thumb. Don't do it too tightly to avoid the risk of damaging the pins or the bridge. 

To secure a fit and ensure a straight string-pull that won't slip while playing. You have to deal with the headstock. If it is a solid headstock just loop the string through the tuning post. After doing that turn clockwise the three lower strings and anticlockwise the upper strings. The short end should pass underneath the main length of your string. Once under just bend it back and over in order to lock the string in its place.


Although there are many more methods of maintaining your guitar, these are the main maintenance practices you should master. Maintaining your guitar in the correct way ensures that you receive better service in terms of play-ability and production of sweet sounds.

To keep up with the right practice have the right tools at your disposal and an expert in case you are stuck somewhere.

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