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Guitar Maintenance 101


Whether you a new guitar owner or an experienced musician, keeping your guitar in top condition is key to getting the sound and playability you want from it. Regular maintenance is the best way to keep your instrument looking and sounding like new! This post will provide some useful tips to help you give your favorite instrument all the love it needs for proper care. From restringing and cleaning to moisture control and bridge adjustments, this guide covers everything you need to know about maintaining a classic look, tone, and feel on that beloved axe of yours. Read on for essential insights into preserving both your sanity (and wallet) when caring for your cherished stringed companion!

  1. Cleaning your guitar: The easiest way to keep your guitar is to take steps to ensure it doesn’t get dirty in the first place! You should wash your hands before you play to keep grime off the strings and fretboard and you should always keep your guitar in a case. But even the most conscientious guitar player will need to give their instrument a shine every now and then! First - make sure you know what is safe for your specific guitar. Use a quality guitar cleaning system (we love the Music Nomad products!) and a microfiber towel and get to work! 

  2. New Strings: The rule of thumb is that your guitar’s strings should be changed out every 3 months or 100 hours of playing– whichever comes first. You may know it’s time when you start to notice a dull tone, the strings seem splotchy or dirty, or you have trouble tuning or keeping your guitar in tune. Many guitarists learn to change out their strings themselves, but if you’re unsure, you can always bring your guitar in for a restring at your local Ernie Williamson Music. 

  3. Regular SetUps: Most guitarists who play every day should be getting their guitar set up twice a year to keep it in top condition. If you are playing less regularly, you could get away with an annual setup. However, an idle guitar will still be affected by seasonal changes.Your guitar is essentially a piece of machinery, and like all machines, occasional upkeep is essential to maintain the smooth running of its parts. Since most guitars are made out of wood, your instrument will contract and expand during season changes, causing your guitar to get out of wack! A proper setup on your guitar ensures that you’ve got the right action and intonation to get the most out of your instrument. 

  4. Humidification: speaking of seasonal changes - proper humidification is vital to the overall health of your guitar. This is especially true for acoustic instruments, but electric guitars aren’t immune to dry winter weather. It’s important to keep your guitar in a case with a humidifier if you live in a dry or cold climates. 

Ben Franklin famously advised that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and that couldn’t be more true than when talking about guitar maintenance. It’s a lot easier - and cheaper - to keep your instrument well-maintained than it is to deal with costly repairs on a neglected guitar.