How To Maintain Your Electric Guitar

This article explains, in brief, how to maintain and look after your electric guitar.

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I am sure that almost all of the UG community owns at least one electric guitar. This article will explain how to look after your instrument and keep it in shop bought condition! Why? Some people may ask why they should bother keeping their instrument pristine. It is true you do not have to. Some players love the feel of a worn neck, or the look of a destroyed finish, others find it repulsive and annoying. It really is all up to you. Personally, chipped and damaged guitars annoy me, so I like to keep my pristine. Also, when selling a guitar, it looks best and will fetch more money if in good condition. The Fretboard If your guitar has a maple fretboard, it should have been finished, so it requires very little extra maintenance. Wipe it down after you play with a microfibre cloth or a special cleaning cloth, making sure you are thorough and the cloth is not scratchy or dirty. If the fretboard is rosewood or ebony, it will need to be 'conditioned' with Lemon Oil. simply apply a small drop of lemon oil on each fret and rub it into the wood thoroughly. Remember that as the frets get higher, they also become smaller, so you will need less oil on the high frets. When wear marks begin to show on the wood in common places you play, you know it is time to oil the fretboard. The Neck The guitars neck is the part of the guitar which most affects the feel. Try at all costs not to chip the neck, as this can be really annoying when you have to play fast and slide up and down the neck. Wipe it down after playing with a cloth (again make sure it is not scratchy) and make sure you clear off sweat. In the finishes section below I will briefly mention any special things that need to be done for certain finishes. The Body Similarly to the neck, try not to chip the body and wipe it down after you play. Many players like to use a polish. Make sure you get the correct polish for your guitars finish (finish information can usually be acquired on the company's website) or better, the company's own brand polish. Apply this with the same unscratchy cloth. Hardware The guitar's hardware may become rusted or stained after use. When you change strings, check the hardware thoroughly for rust and staining and wipe it off. This is particularly common on metal pickup covers. Finishes You need to make sure you know what finish your guitar has! Do not just guess, as that could result in you completely destroying your guitars finish! Some finishes, such as Polyurethane(common on Fender guitars), are very durable and require little extra care. Others, like Nitrocellulose (like on a Gibson), are damaged by rubber. If you leave your guitar on a stand make sure it is Nitrocellulose safe (such as stands made by Hercules) or that you wrap a sock or tissues over the rubber before placing your guitar on the stand. Make sure this does not affect the stability of the stand! Strings Fairly self explanatory. Should be changed fairly often, depending on the brand and the acidity of your sweat. When your strings rust, you should change them Storage Your guitar has to be stored safely to avoid chips and bashes. Make sure it is not just left lying around. You have 2 options when storing your guitar: 1.A Hardcase many higher end guitars come with a hardcase. If they do not, I would reccomend buying one. Good for transport and storage. The safest way to store your instrument. Try and get a case which is a snug fit, as opposed to one which will fit any guitar, as this will prevent the guitar from sliding around and bashing against the sides of the case. A case is not a gig bag, and it should be noted that no gig bag, no matter how padded, will ever be as durable as a case. 2.A stand As I mentioned above, make sure your stand is secure around the guitar and be certain it will not damage the finish. If the stand is a wall hanger, then be sure the guitar is in place before letting go. If it falls, it will be chipped or even break completely! Check all the specs of a stand and make sure it will fit your guitar before buying it! Thank you for reading. Please rate and comment so I can make my next article better!

21 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    hattbroz
    i have a question. some friends of mine said to buy a guitar stand that actually puts pressure on the neck (like a bar or hook that grabs the neck) and some say dont put any pressure on the neck (just make it stand by tilting the body on the stand with the neck hanging) which one is more recommended ?
    NirvanaForever!
    Thanks Man!!! Just The Other Day I HELLA Scratched The Neck!! Lol FUCK!! But Thanks. This Really Helped.
    |Long|
    Fretboards do not need to be conditioned. Also, there is more to it than just 'lemon oil'. As an important part of maintenance you should really look into this before posting the (mis)information.
    soccer6
    NemX162 wrote: A fret is the wire, not the space between them. You seem to have it mixed up, it makes that part confusing.
    no it doesn't
    SwampAshSpecial
    Antonio23 wrote: when i change the strings,i change them 1 by one, instead of taking them all and then replacing them(because i heard that removing them all alters the pressure on the neck and... bad things can happen) so that way, if i apply lemon oil, it will eventually soak the strings a bit. does that affects them?
    it is true there is a small chance of the neck warping etc. if you take all the strings off. I like to do it 3 at a time - no there will not be any 'bad effects' on the strings if they get a bit oily, indeed it may rejuvenate old strings!
    Judas_rising
    hattbroz wrote: i have a question. some friends of mine said to buy a guitar stand that actually puts pressure on the neck (like a bar or hook that grabs the neck) and some say dont put any pressure on the neck (just make it stand by tilting the body on the stand with the neck hanging) which one is more recommended ?
    If u put more pressure on the neck, u'll bend the truss rod. The second method is safer if u don't like taking ure guitar to a guitar tech every 2 months.
    Antonio23
    when i change the strings,i change them 1 by one, instead of taking them all and then replacing them(because i heard that removing them all alters the pressure on the neck and... bad things can happen) so that way, if i apply lemon oil, it will eventually soak the strings a bit. does that affects them?
    jetwash69
    Next time you don't have to invent new words like "unscratchy". There's already enough genuine words out there to make a point. Otherwise, not bad for a first article even if this is well tread territory.
    rygor42
    it was good if youre just practicing writing an article, but as far as maintenance goes utterly useless as it is the basic stuff everyone knows. i know ppl haev already said that but i wanted to have my say and reestablish that point it was written in the proper format, but towards the end the language became less..... professional all in all, good job, but next time write the article on stuff that isnt already out there in "500" different articles and be more specific/detailed/helpful.
    sammo_boi
    well written but yeah i don't think anyone would have really needed to know this.
    dudebud
    Decent enough for a beginner but the first half basically just said "wipe it down"
    SwampAshSpecial
    thanks guys - my first article so I wanted to right something simple - more to help myself than anyone else!
    turtlewax
    Well perhaps he is just getting some experience at writing articles... well written for the most I would say
    Kevy Absolution
    There's really no detail to this article at all. It's just stuff that you'd find in an owners manual.
    NemX162
    A fret is the wire, not the space between them. You seem to have it mixed up, it makes that part confusing.
    spacepick
    Interesting article! I'm just getting to grips with all this stuff after playing professionally for a few years and deciding to invest some time into instrument care it's great to have it made clear. This article has some great tips on the same subject: http://www.functioncentral.co.uk/blog/20... One love guys!!!