Our top ten tips for easy guitar maintenance
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Our top ten tips for easy guitar maintenance

Following our recent article on the "Top resources for learning to play the guitar", we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to speak to our very own Guitar Technician, Jon Barnes, to give us his top ten tips for easy guitar maintenance. Learning to play the guitar can be a daunting experience initially but an instrument that is easy to play and looks and feels great can really help get you over those first beginner hurdles... 

1.  Keep guitars in a case whenever you can

This will keep them safer from sudden changes of temperature and humidity, making your guitar last longer.  Keep away from radiators, sinks or direct sunlight (such as bedroom windows).

2.  Dusty Guitars? 

Not been played for a while? Use a soft bristle paintbrush to get into those hard to reach places and remove the build up of dust and dirt whilst ensuring not to scratch the finish.

3.  Clean gloss guitar bodies with guitar polish to remove marks and finger prints

I use speed car Turtle wax for an ultra glossy shine. Use a microfiber cloth for best results. This works well on chrome hardware too.  Always test on a small inconspicuous area of the guitar before treating the entire body - particularly with vintage instruments!

4.  Have a satin finished guitar? 

Use a microfiber cloth to remove finger prints from your guitar body. Standard cloths tend not to remove the grease left from finger prints, however microfiber cloths should do the trick.

5.  Treat your fingerboard with lemon oil to put back all the oils the wood needs to last. 

Dab some on a cloth and rub into the fingerboard. Leave for about a minute and wipe off any residue. Apply a second time for particularly dry necks.

6.  Use fine wire wool (000 or 0000 grade) to clean your frets when they’re looking lifeless or tarnished. 

Always rub down the neck with the grain of the wood  (Not suitable for gloss finished fretboards).

7.  When putting on a new set of strings, make sure to stretch/pull them slightly with your fingers. 

Tune them back up and do it again. After a couple of times this should help the guitar stay in tune better.

8.  When tuning a note to pitch (whether by a tuner or by ear) make sure to always tune up to pitch and not tune down. 

The disadvantage of tuning down to pitch is there is less tension keeping the string where it should be and thus more likely to go out of tune quicker. Tuning up to pitch maintains that tension and keeps it in tune where it should be. If you over shoot the tuning first time, simply de tune and wind it back up to pitch again.

9.  Wipe down the strings when you have finished playing.

This will help increase the life of your strings.

10.  Basic truss rod adjustment. 

If you look down the neck from the headstock end to the body end, your neck should be fairly straight with a slight bow in the middle. To adjust, you’ll need the allen key supplied with your guitar. For acoustics the hole is generally located just inside the sound hole by the neck. Electrics tend to be at the headstock end under a truss rod cover. Give the truss rod a small turn to the left for a bit more bow in the neck. Or turn to the right for a bit more hump in the neck. Always check the neck after every slight turn. If you’re not sure, ask a guitar tech/shop. (Be aware, adjusting the truss rod will affect the action on your guitar)

You can read our article "Top resources for learning to play the guitar" here.  Thanks to Jon for providing the tips!

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