What according to you is the, let’s say the cheapest way to enhance your guitar’s appearance as well as make its tone better? Cleaning, of course! And how can you possibly do that when you dirt, grease, perspiration and smoke accumulates on your guitar? These few things can do some serious damage to your guitar when you neglect your baby on day-to-day basis. Irrelevant if your guitar is an acoustic or electric guitar, you need to keep some tricks up your sleeves to maintain your guitar!
Ideally, one should clean their guitar every time you change the strings. Simply because, the fretboard is easily accessible with the strings off. Also the strings won’t be harmed while cleaning, which if you don’t, can be added expenses as the strings can get damaged during the process when they come in contact with any polishing oils or micro fiber cloth. It would be preferable and safe if you remove only 2-3 strings at a time, as it won’t cause neck tension on your guitar. While you are frequently playing the guitar or not so often, your guitar should not be cleaned more than twice in a year! The reason for particularly stressing on ‘twice a year’ is because if you happen to clean it often, you guitar will lose natural moisture.
To start with the cleaning you will need a soft, damp cloth. Pick out an old t-shirt, your mom’s unused dupatta (cotton ones of course) or your sock would work too! Make sure you have dried the cloth well enough; we don’t want your fretboard to have any water drops stains. Work the cloth down to the fretboard; make sure you use different portions of the cloth so you don’t end up transferring dirt from one end to another. If your fretboard has not been cleaned in years, and has seen some serious dirt (which I don’t think is possible, but you never know) you may need some extra help. In this case, instead of using just a cloth to clean your fretboard, do some light brushing with an extra fine steel wool. You need to know, that the magnets in your pickups will make tiny particles of steel wool stick to them. It would be best to cover the pickups while cleaning with steel wool. In case, you are finding it difficult to get to certain spots, you can use an old credit card (that is if you still have one), a pipe cleaner or an unused toothbrush.
While you are cleaning the fretboard, you may notice that it has dried out a bit or maybe there are a few hairline cracks developing, in order to safeguard your fretboard against these unwanted problems, you can finish the cleaning process with a good fretboard conditioner. Use two drops of the conditioner on to the fretboard and make sure you wipe off the excess oil with a soft cloth.
Cleaning the fretboard is just not enough, you need to clean the bridge, tuning keys and pickups as well! Don’t forget to spray another dry cloth with a glass cleaner to polish your turning keys to keep them shinning! Use a damp cloth to clean the bridge, nothing fancy, just a cloth and a toothbrush in case it hasn’t been cleaned for long. If you notice that your pickups are looking dusty and rusty, you need to unscrew their faceplates and be careful that you don’t disturb the wiring. Clean your pickups with a rust-dissolving agent. If you don’t see any rust, you can simply polish the pickups with a soft cloth.
That should be about it, a word to the wise, while it is tempting to hang your pretty little baby with joy and pride on the wall or leave it decorated on the stand, it is not a good idea! A better idea would be to keep your guitar safely back in its case as that is where it belongs, not hanging on the wall in dust and dirt.
We hope this article has been helpful to you, check out some good and long-lasting guitar maintenance products that will keep your guitar shinning and shimmering and your budget in place!