One of the best tips is one of the easiest. Clean your guitar on a regular basis. Dirt, grease and other gunk builds up, not only on guitar strings, but also on the fretboard. This can make the neck sticky and gross, which makes playing difficult.
Before playing your guitar, clean your hands with instant hand sanitizer to get rid of the dirt, grease and grime that will quickly build up and compromise your strings and fretboard. You can wash your hands with soap and water, but soap has a tendency to soften your hands and fingernails, which can be bad for playing.
After playing your guitar, wipe it down with a soft cloth or towel. You want to scrub the entire length of each guitar string. Check with your local guitar store for a simple guitar-cleaning kit. A string lubricant, such as Fast Fret, will keep your strings and frets slick and shiny, and will make them last longer.
Get a hard-shell case to store your guitar in. Make sure the case fits your exact guitar well, as not every case will fit every guitar. Even if the salesperson at the guitar store swears your guitar will fit in a particular case, make sure the case supplies adequate support and protection for your guitar.
Many people use soft cases (or “gig bags”). Soft cases are better than nothing, but a hard case is ideal. It’s worth your money to spend more and get the hard-shell case.
Invest in a guitar stand. If you don’t have a guitar stand, your guitar will more than likely end up leaning up against a wall or lying on the ground when you aren’t playing it. This is bad for your guitar, and can lead to accidents and mishaps. A guitar stand will provide your instrument with the proper support and will keep your guitar from warping or getting tripped over.
Never leave your guitar in your car overnight. Not only is this a great way to get your instrument stolen, but the temperature inside your car is usually a bad temperature for your guitar. Too much heat and direct sunlight can make your guitar’s finish fade or even crack. Cold temperatures can damage the neck and the inlays, as well as the truss rod.
If you’re serious about keeping your guitar in great condition, get a guitar humidifier. Especially important for acoustic guitars, a guitar humidifier can also be beneficial for electric guitars. A guitar humidifier is a small device that fits in your acoustic guitar’s sound hole, but you can also place a guitar humidifier in the case with your electric guitar. This will help keep your guitar at a constant humidity level, which can add years to the life of your guitar.
Written by John Rapp
Freelance writer and musician from Indianapolis, IN.
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