Guitar Maintenance and Protection – Looking After Your Instrument

Guitar Maintenance - Taylor 614ce

Guitar maintenance is essential to keep your pride and joy looking great and playing better, and here’s some tips how…

In the excitement of owning your first instrument, guitar maintenance can be overlooked. Whilst just about everyone will appreciate that guitars need new strings from time to time, other general TLC is considered less of a priority by many.

However, a few little jobs done periodically, along with some knowledge that will enable you to store it in such a way that it want get damaged, should ensure that it will always look and play well.

Guitar Maintenance & Protection - Guitar Stand

Storing your guitar

In many ways, guitars are most likely to get damaged when not being played. The reason for this is that guitars are often stored in an inappropriate way. Obviously, the most common way for a guitar to pick up damage is by being knocked over, or dinged. If you want to reduce the chances of this, you can:

Store it on a guitar stand – this will provide a safe cradle, so that it cannot be easily knocked over
Keep it in a guitar case – this will prevent it from being knocked or dinged.


Guitar Maintenance & Protection - Guitar Bags and Cases

There also threats to your guitar from the environment itself, too. Don’t panic, it’s not about to be destroyed in an earthquake or washed away by flooding (hopefully). Like all instruments made of wood, they are subject to the effects of extreme temperatures and humidity.

So, how can you protect your guitar from this? Well, just make sure you keep it somewhere that isn’t really hot or really cold, or doesn’t change dramatically in temperature, and isn’t damp or humid.

Guitar Maintenance - Gibson Guitar Care Kit

Guitar maintenance – polish and conditioning

Usually, the best time for some general guitar maintenance is when you change you’re strings. This gives your access the fretboard and body, without having strings in the way.

Cleaning and conditioning the fretboard

  • Once you have taken all of the strings off, wipe fretboard down with a lint-free cloth to remove dust.
  • Then, spray with a fretboard conditioner, such as Lemon Oil, or Gibson Fretboard Conditioner
  • Take a clean cloth, and rub away the dirt and grime way from it.
  • Wipe the fretboard with a clean cloth

Cleaning and polishing the body

  • Like the fretboard, firstly remove the dust from the body with a clean, lint free cloth
  • Apply some guitar polish, such as that available from Stringfellows or Gibson, and give the guitar a good old’ clean
  • For the ultimate finish, use some carnauba wax. Put a little onto a micro fibre cloth and polish all areas of the guitar body. When it dries, remove it by gently rubbing with a polishing cloth, for a perfect shine.

Guitar maintenance can be a surprisingly satisfying process. There’s nothing like taking a guitar that’s looking a bit dusty or grimy, and restoring it to its former glory. A selection of cleaning products and other accessories can be found on the Dawsons website here.

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  1. I’ve always kept my guitars in gig-bags/cases when not in use, and on stands when in ‘ready for use mode’, and the only damage I ever got was a scrape on the headstock while playing the thing and walking into a wall lol

    Cleaning wise, all I’ve ever done is after each time I finish playing, I dry wipe down the whole thing with a microfbre cloth, sometimes using a can of computer-dusting ‘air’ to blow any dust etc from inaccessible areas. Then I get some kitchen paper fold it twice lengthwise and place under strings and slide up and down fingerboard; then repeat with a fresh piece with some WD40 applied, seems to lift most of the crap and leaves a light lubrication on the strings and board. I’ve never used any kind of oil on my boards and all seems fine.

    One other thing I think is useful is to not play the thing with dirty hands, I always wash mine before I pick the thing up, stops all kinds of crud getting on it, I guess it has almost become a ritual to me, these days!!

    All this nonsense seems to work for me, but, as usual, it is all mostly subjective.