Maintaining Your Guitar

guitar maintenance tipsThat guitar you play everyday needs cleaning, maintenance, and readjustments every once in awhile. Let’s walk through five steps to follow that can keep your guitar looking great and sounding fantastic.


Cleaning Your Guitar

When you take off your old strings to change to new strings is the time to clean your guitar. Hit your local music store to pick up soft polishing cloths to wipe on your acoustic guitar. You can even use an old tee-shirt if you’d like. You’re looking to wipe off fingerprints, smudges, moisture areas and more. If you need a cleaner, try looking for creamy cleaners, water-based cleaners or wood oils. Dab a bit of these cleaners onto the cloth and wipe in circular motions all over the guitar body, the frets, the headstock and the sides.


Fingerboard Conditioning

Another area to thoroughly clean is the fingerboard. You should wipe down the strings and fingerboard after each playing session, but if you don’t, then excess oils can build up and you’ll need to wipe those down. Also, as Arizona is a dry environment, your fingerboard may show signs of drying. It’s important to use a wood conditioner with a soft cloth on your fingerboard in between string changes. The wood will get clean and hydrated, and it will also lift any muck and smudges left on the fingerboard.


Guitar Action

You may notice over time that your guitar playing action has been impacted. Perhaps you’ve not gotten the neck of your guitar adjusted recently. Then it’s time to look at the neck, the string action, and shaving off some height from the saddle (which is the piece that’s slotted to hold your guitar strings). If you want to raise the action, try getting a new saddle. To lower the action, you can sandpaper the bottom of your saddle to the desired height so the strings play more easily for you.


Adjust the Truss Rod

Another part of guitar maintenance is an adjustment of the truss rod. This is the steel rod that’s inside the neck of the guitar. You can either tighten or loosen the nut at the end. The result is increased or decreased pressure on the rod itself and the guitar neck. When you tighten the nut, you’ll move the neck away from the strings. When you loosen the nut, the neck will move into what’s known as an up bow position. It’s a delicate maneuver, and you’ll feel a difference in your playing, so proceed carefully with the help of one of our instructors at Scottsdale Music Academy. Click here for more insights into truss rod adjustments.


Acoustic Guitar Humidifier

I mentioned above the dry desert climate we have in Arizona. Dryness could be a factor, if you generally keep your guitar on a stand in your room, and have the windows of your home open during the perfect Arizona fall and winter weather. We recommend using a humidifier piece for your guitar. A guitar humidifier emits a vapor mist that adds some moisture into the overly dry air. Some guitarist store their guitars in a humidifier closet that’s maintained at 30%-60 relative humidity. If you don’t have room for a closet, check out some of the guitar humidifiers to buy.


At Scottsdale Music Academy, we encourage our students to clean and refresh their instruments often. Taking care of your instrument is part of the responsibility we teach to our musicians as they grow their musical careers. Sharing these tips above is a good reminder for all the students and instructors. If you need to learn more about how our music instructors encourage our guitar students to manage their instruments, give us a call 602-751-3537 today – your first lesson is free – or stop by our website. We’re the leading music instruction academy in Scottsdale, conveniently located near the Scottsdale Airpark and Scottsdale Road.


Scroll to Top