Guitar Maintenance: The simplest guide

Guitar Maintenance: The simplest guide


As a dedicated guitar player, you must know the importance of taking care of your guitar and how this prolongs its longevity in both in terms of sound quality as well as appearance.

Additionally, whereas guitars are often considered to be low maintenance instruments, regular care is vital as this guarantees the excellent condition of your guitar at all times.

In this article, you will be taken through guitar maintenance tips that you need to consider.

Moreover, this information is useful regardless whether you are an expert or beginner, so read through this article and get to learn of this fantastic albeit simple ways you can keep your guitar in a healthy state.


Apply water to the fretboard when necessary 

There is a belief that you should use lemon oil on your fretboard but this is simply not true. If anything lemon oil is bad for your fretboard as it dries it out. Think about it. Your guitar is a tree at its foundation so what do trees require? Water!

Lemon oil, linseed oil, all of that crap is just a scam and should have no place on your guitar. When you are changing strings simply use a wet cloth to get rid of the gunk and use a dry cloth to dry it off and wipe off any excess dirt.


Change your guitar strings regularly 

You need to periodically change your guitar strings and the number of times you do this is usually dependent on the how often you play your guitar.

Many guitar players change the guitar strings after every 100 hours or three months of playing. Nevertheless, guitars which incorporate coated strings usually last for double the duration standard strings do.

The more frequently you play your guitar, the higher the number of times you should change the guitar strings. Thus, if you only play your guitar as a hobby, you then only need to change its strings after every three months.

Or if you are lazy and don’t want to change your guitar strings often, then invest in Elixir Polyweb strings and they can last you months if not longer and still sound new.


Clean up your guitar each time after playing it

This guitar maintenance tip is often one that is overlooked but extremely important if you want to prolong the life of your guitar.

Each guitar practice session is usually characterized by sweating as well as the production of other bodily fluids as you look to perfect your skills. Nonetheless, before you go ahead and store the guitar in its case, you should always clean it up.

To do this, you should make use of a polishing cloth to wipe out all the grime and sweat from the fingerboard, strings as well as the neck’s back. Moreover, doing this helps in shinning up both the guitar’s body as well as all the hardware.

Therefore, by simply cleaning up your guitar every time after playing it, you prevent its premature tarnishing of the frets, hardware and strings. Additionally, the accumulation of both grime and dust also ruins the guitar’s finish.


Invest in a high-quality tool kit 

There is no worse feeling than having started doing maintenance on your guitar and then realizing you lack the essential tools.

If you are just starting to play the guitar, this will without a doubt, happen sooner rather than later. However, you can avoid this by buying a high-quality tool kit that has everything in one storage unit.

You do not need to invest in all these tools all at once, and can instead start with the crucial ones including;

  • String winder
  • Guitar tuner
  • Wire snipe for cutting guitar strings
  • Polishing cloth
  • Assorted Allen wrenches
  • Different sizes of each flat-head and Phillips screwdrivers  

Moreover, it would be ideal if you bought a toolbox or case to store all your repair tools as you start to build a collection of the necessary guitar repair tools.


Always store your guitar inside a case

It is always advisable to store your guitar in a gig bag or case whenever you are not using it. Likewise, you can also opt to make use of a guitar stand of incredible quality if it is located in a safe spot, that is, a place where there is zero chance of anyone or your pet knocking over your guitar.

Nonetheless, the guitar case remains the safest option to guarantee the safety of your guitar in case you have any doubts.

Many guitar cases incorporate a design that can easily resist light impact falls and thereby safeguard the instrument from dents, scratches and dust.

Additionally, the choice whether to use a gig bag or hard case entirely depends on the environment you often expose your guitar.

For instance, if you tend to handle your guitar roughly, then the hard guitar case is a better fit rather than the gig bag. If not, then the less expensive gig bag is a fantastic option as it but still protects your guitar from dings, scratches and dust.


Use polishes and cleaners in little proportions

There are numerous types of finishes and cleaners that you can use on your guitar. Nonetheless, you should always use them sparingly and resist the temptation of wanting your instrument to sparkle as this is in addition to not being necessary can also result in several other problems.

Whereas there are a few guitars which need lots of care to keep the wood in perfect condition, this hardly the case, especially if you are a beginner or intermediate player.

Instead, you most likely own a guitar that integrates durable finishes as well as necessitates little cleaning now and then. Therefore, all you need is a polishing cloth and a damp rag to get it to have a tidy look.

Whenever you are making use of polish on your guitar, always do it in little proportions while taking into account the kind of finish integrated into the guitar’s design.


Wash your hand before playing your guitar 

This is a guitar maintenance tip that is often ignored despite its importance in prolonging the life of your guitar. Typically, whenever you wash your hands, you get rid of dead skin, oils, as well as dirt, thereby ensuring the fretboard, is free of grime whenever you are playing the guitar.

The accumulation of dirt on the fretboard and strings is among the primary causes of dead strings. Thus, if you want to extend the life of your guitar strings, you always need to clean your hands before playing the guitar.


Avoid exposing your guitar to extreme temperatures 

Extreme temperatures can cause significant damage to your guitar. Additionally, varying changes in temperature usually cause the expansion and contraction of your guitar’s wood, and this eventually leads to adverse outcomes.

For example, you must never leave your guitar overnight inside your case regardless of whether it is in a case or not since these changes in temperature usually damage the wood.

This is worse if you own an acoustic guitar which is more prone to temperature changes.

You should also avoid overexposing your guitar to sunlight as this makes it start fading hence making it have a less appealing look.

Furthermore, the guitar neck alignment is another thing that is affected by changes in temperature levels, and this subsequently necessities you to alter the truss rod to correct the alignment successfully.

Therefore, you should always strive to make sure your guitar is stored in a spot that has stable room temperature.


Make use of a humidifier 

Low or extreme humidity usually leads to changes in the wood of the guitar as well as the warp the neck or any other part.

Fortunately, the use of a humidifier helps maintain the suitable humidity on your guitar; hence why it is used as one of the essential guitar maintenance tips, you need to consider.

Subsequently, you never again have to worry about bends, dips or cracks when you store away your guitar in a case, thereby ensuring your guitar is always in a healthy state.

Moreover, the humidifier is beneficial to both acoustic and electric guitars, but acoustic guitars are more vulnerable to changes in humidity.


Inspect the guitar neck straightness 

You should always examine how straight the neck of your guitar is by finding the neck. Consequently, you should place your guitar on the ground while the neck is pointing upwards and then looking down to the bridge.

Make sure that the neck is relatively straight and any sight of a considerable bow means it requires some adjustments through the truss rod. You can either do it yourself or hire a skilled guitar specialist.

Typically, acoustic guitars are more vulnerable to neck warping, so if you own one, check every so often to make sure it isn’t warped.


Lubricate the guitar nut 

If you realize any issues while tuning your guitar, this most likely is a nut problem which you can minimize by lubricating the nut.

This is typically caused by the string getting stuck in the nut slot, and it is evidenced by clicking as your tune the string and an indication that your guitar has a possible nut problem.

Luckily, you can easily find nut lubricants that are effective at lubrication of your guitar. Moreover, you can also use graphite from the tip of a pencil to minimize clicking as well as to have your guitar in tune, and you will be surprised by its effectiveness.


Stiffen the screws slightly 

Whenever you are doing guitar maintenance, inspecting and confirming that all the guitar screws are correctly tightened is crucial. Therefore, you should tighten any screw that is somewhat loose while simultaneously not tightening it too much because this will cause them to strip.

Frequently, the screws surrounding the tuning peg are the one which gets loose since you always make use of the tuning pegs.

Furthermore, another part that also needs to be tightened is the bridge screws as well as the backing plate if it is integrated into the design of your guitar.

You should do this guitar maintenance task several times a year and replace any stripped screw that you see is worn out.



Having gone through this article, you now have an idea of the guitar maintenance tips that you need to put in place to ensure your guitar works perfectly well and for an extended duration.

Consequently, as a result of doing routine maintenance, you get to enjoy your guitar’s full potential because it will sound and play better.