5 Best Guitar Maintenance Tips

guitar maintenance tips

Learning to maintain your guitar is one of the best decisions you can make as a guitarist. Guitar maintenance results in an instrument that looks better, plays/feels better, and sounds better. All of this makes you more likely to want to play your guitar and continue advancing on the instrument.

However, most people don’t know much about guitar maintenance. Or if they do, they think it’s overly complicated and confusing. In this post, you’ll see exactly how simple guitar maintenance can be. The following are the 10 best tips for guitar maintenance. If you utilize them, you’ll be ensuring that you get the most enjoyment and quality out of your instrument,

1. Clean Your Fretboard Regularly

Over time, dirt and sweat from your hands and fingers builds up on the fretboard. Eventually, this fretboard gunk starts to look pretty unappealing. Furthermore, it actually can subtly affect the tone of your guitar, as well as its feel and playability. Think about it: are you going to be more excited to play and practice if your strings and fretboard are clean or if they’re old and gunked up?

Your fretboard is actually the most important part of your guitar to clean frequently. This is because the fretboard gets subjected to more wear and use than any other area of your guitar. Excessive sweat and dust without any cleaning can cause permanent damage. Your salty sweat eventually dehydrates the wood, which can lead to permanent marks or even cracks.

If you want to learn how to properly clean your fretboard, I wrote up a whole guide on how to do so.

2. Get The Most Out Of Your Guitar Strings

One of the things I hear the most from people is that their guitar strings don’t last as long as they like, or they start rusting. There are actually a couple of really easy maintenance solutions for this. First of all, the above tip of cleaning your fretboard is going to go a long way in helping keep your strings clean. Aside from that, it’s also important to wash your hands before playing your instrument. This will ensure they’re as clean as possible before making contact with the strings.

You should also try to wipe down your strings, and the neck of your guitar in general after playing. This will remove a large part of any sweat or moisture that does get on to your strings. And for a final tip, I encourage you to consider coated guitar strings. I’m really like the Elixir Nanowebs for my own acoustic guitars. If you want to learn more about the pros and cons of coated strings, check out my recent post Are Coated Guitar Strings Worth It?

I also wrote an entire blog on 5 ways to prevent guitar string rust. Check it out here!

3. Keep Your Guitar In Its Case

For the longest time, I never really stored my guitars in their cases. I left them out in stands or hung them up on the wall, or even just leaned them against a corner of the room. But in pursuit of getting the most time out of my guitar strings, and keeping my guitar it’s absolute safest, I finally started keeping my guitar in its case. And I’ve noted a big difference.

It makes sense if you think about it: if your guitar is resting out in the open, it’s exposed to all the elements in the air. Things like dust, moisture and humidity are in constant contact with your guitar strings. By keeping your guitar in its case you’re protecting it against moisture and humidity. It might seem like a drag at first, but it will pay off in longer lasting guitar strings.

For more on how to store your guitar, and why you shouldn’t hang a guitar on the wall, check out my recent blog.

4. Learn How To Travel With Your Guitar Safely

Simply keeping your guitar in its case is definitely the safest way to maintain your guitar at home. But what if you do need to travel with your guitar? Perhaps you’re moving with a guitar or want to fly with one for vacation.

When it comes to flying with a guitar, there are a number of important maintenance tips to be aware of. My #1 piece of advice would be to ensure your guitar doesn’t go below deck with the other checked baggage and luggage. This is because the luggage cabin below deck experiences much more pressure and temperature changes than the above deck cabin of the plane.

Also, de-tune or loosen your strings before you bring your guitar on a plane. You can still leave your strings on your guitar, but I recommend tuning them way down to take as much pressure off of your guitar during the flight as you can. This is because pressure changes while you are in the air, and you don’t want any additional pressure (from the strings) also manipulating the neck of the guitar.

I have a full article with 10 tips on how to fly safely with a guitar right here.

5. More Guitar Maintenance Tips

If you want more guitar maintenance tips, I have an entire guide on how to choose, maintain, and care for your instrument.

Because surprisingly few players know how to do exactly those things.

That’s why in this book, I decided to reveal all the secret tips I know when it comes to buying, owning, and maintaining an acoustic guitar…

…Stuff that took me a decade to learn on my own, since it is scattered randomly around the internet (or rarely discussed at all)

In this book you’ll discover

  • how to choose a guitar
    • what to look for in tonewoods
    • guitar body styles
    • how to get a good price
    • whether to buy used or new
  • a curated guide to the 10 best acoustic guitars for beginners
  • how to choose guitar strings, and make them last 10x longer
  • how to maintain your instrument for a lifetime
    • caring for the fretboard
      • should you use fretboard oil? how often?
    • adjusting the truss rod
    • flying and traveling with your instrument safely
    • how to store and display your guitar safely
  • what to learn first on guitar (fingerpicking? flatpicking? etc)
    • where to learn it
    • the best ways and resources to teach yourself guitar for FREE
  • 30 secret hacks to unleash unstoppable guitar motivation
    • how to stay in love with the instrument for the rest of your life
  • much more

So if you’re ready to rocket past your competition…

And learn how to choose, maintain, care for, and fall in love with your instrument for a lifetime to come…

Then you can pick up my Ultimate Buyer’s and Maintenance Guide.

Corbin Buff

Corbin has played guitar for over a decade, and started writing about it on Acoustic World in an effort to help others. He lives and writes in western Montana.

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