One of the things that worries us most as guitarists is how to keep our guitars in optimum condition, especially when summer is approaching with all that it entails: travelling for holidays or work subjecting our guitar to sudden changes in temperature, humidity, etc… I hope that this guitar maintenance guide can clarify some doubts and be useful to you. Don’t forget that this is a basic guide because the best thing to do is to take your guitar to a luthier at least twice a year for a thorough check.
As we all know, wood is a living thing that reacts sensitively to changes in humidity and extreme temperatures. During the process of construction of the guitar the bridge and other parts are fixed with glue and an excess of humidity could soften it and cause its detachment. On the other hand, relative humidity below 30% can cause cracks.
To avoid that the guitar suffers with the abrupt changes of temperature we must avoid to leave it near apparatuses of heating, air conditioned, etc. Of course the least suitable place to leave our guitar for a long period of time would be the trunk of the car.
When we change from one place to another with a notable difference in temperature, it is convenient to take the guitar out of its case or cover and without touching it, let it adapt to the new temperature.
Maintenance of the Machine Head
The Machine Head is the only mechanical part of our guitar. Its maintenance is very simple. It is enough to grease it once or twice a year.
To grease it you can use any oil for industrial machinery.
It is advisable to hydrate the tuning fork from time to time, but always after cleaning it and for this there are many oils that can be easily found in any instrument shop. The best way to keep our tuning fork clean is to always play with clean hands and pass a cloth over the strings each time we finish playing, thus eliminating the remnants of sweat that remain on them and end up deposited on the tuning fork and step, lengthen the life of our strings.
Guitar body maintenance
The big mistake is using furniture cleaners that contain abrasives. Not all products contain them, but most do. You can find specific cleaning products for guitars, which do not contain abrasives, in any instrument store. Even so, one of the most effective methods to clean any classical, acoustic or flamenco guitar varnished with polyurethane is to slightly moisten a chamois with water and clean with care.
Do not use these products if the guitar is varnished with nitrocellulose or shellac because there are specific products for these varnishes and there is not as much variety in the market.In case of any crack in the cover, hoops or back, given the complexity of the repair, it is best not to risk it and take the guitar to a luthier nearby or the workshop of the brand to solve the problem. They have the means and the necessary experience. A badly repaired crack can open up over time and ruin your instrument.
As you can see it is very easy to keep our guitar up to date: Avoid sudden changes in temperature and humidity, clean it regularly, lubricate the pegboxes from time to time…If you are not going to use the guitar for a while or if you are going to transport it by plane, to avoid problems in the mast caused by an excess of tension, loosen the strings until you are going to use it.And remember, it is always safer to carry it in a case even if it is not always the most comfortable option.
These are some brands that can help you keep your guitar clean, if you know any more we will be happy to add them: