Care for Stringed Instruments
How to keep your instrument in the best playing condition for a lifetime of music.
Dirt, sweat, body oils and other foreign objects can affect the playability & tone of an instrument. Wiping with a clean cloth after playing will provide a clean instrument that is ready for the next session. This also prevents dirt & oils from finding their way into any cracks or crevices and prevents future damage. Using a good instrument polish a few times a year will help to protect the finish and give you an attractive looking instrument.
Sweat & body oils can cause string corrosion which can lead to poor tone, bad intonation and even string failure. Periodic cleaning with a soft cloth will prolong the life of your strings. Strings that sound dead or will not stay in tune should be replaced to get the best out of your instrument.
Most stringed instruments are constructed with thin, light-weight wood. If the humidity gets too low, as in desert climates, the wood will lose moisture and shrink, causing cracks. A humidifier in the case or one that fits inside of the instrument is a good investment.
Heat can be dangerous for any musical instrument. The inside of a car can reach a high temperature of 130-140 degrees. This can cause glue to soften and wood to crack, resulting in serious damage. Care should be taken to protect your instrument from such excessive heat.
Cold temperatures can also cause damage. Wood, glue and finishes will expand & contract at different rates. Cold can cause the finish to “check” or produce fine cracks. This could lead to expensive refinishing of the instrument.
Setup and Repair
Periodic inspections are recommended to keep your instrument in optimum playing condition. During normal use, instruments may require minor adjustments to the neck, bridge, fingerboard or other components. Any cracks or breaks should be addressed immediately to keep it from expanding into a major repair.
Common Sense Tips
When not in use, clean and store your instrument in a protective case.
Do not lean your instrument against a wall or furniture as it may fall over.
Play your instrument often. It will improve your skills and enjoyment of music.
Take your instrument to a qualified repair shop for any setup or repair issues. You will be rewarded with an instrument that will play better and provide a lifetime of music.
Terry James Webb
Luthier, Reno’s best guitar repair service
Specializing in building and repairing stringed instruments.
Reno, NV 89508