Guitar Care and Maintenance – Strings By Mail

Guitar Care and Maintenance – Strings By Mail


Owning and playing a guitar can be all fun and games, but anything worth keeping should be well worth the effort of the upkeep.


Temperature and Humidity

The greatest enemy to your guitar, (beyond smashing it to bits or setting it on fire like Pete Townsend and Jimi Hendrix), is the ever changing environment where it is played and stored. Temperature and Humidity fluctuations can wreak havoc on your stringed friend. Extreme temperature changes and too much or too little humidity can cause the wood in the body and neck of your guitar to dry out, swell, crack, split, etc… The best way to prevent this from happening is to monitor the temperature and humidity levels using humidity and temperature sensors, as well as using a variety of products available to help you regulate humidity levels for your stringed instruments. While the more common worry is an environment that is too dry, an environment that is too wet can also cause damage. Among many products to increase humidity is one which also automatically reduces humidity when necessary as well as increasing it when necessary, the Planet Waves Humidipack Automatic Humidity Control System.

If you look closely, many vintage acoustic and semi hollowbody guitars have visible cracks that run parallel to the grain of the wood on the soundboard. Some of these cracks are simply surface cracks in the clearcoat due to the soundboard expanding and contracting over time, while some extreme cases have actual cracks that have expanded down into the wooden soundboard itself. Use of good humidity control can avoid that kind of damage as well as damage to the body. Good humidity management also helps maintain good instrument tone.

Your Guitar Neck and Fretboard

Guitar necks and fretboards are also prone to damage from the elements and improper storage. When your guitar’s fretboard becomes too dry due to lack of moisture or low humidity, the fretboard can begin to crack and chip and even cause the frets to become loose. While warm and humid conditions can lead to the neck bending, twisting, and warping, which is often a very expensive fix – and at times, unrepairable.

Not only will taking care of your guitar neck and fretboard make your guitar look good as new, it will keep it easier to play and will provide you with many years of playing. After all, the fretboard is where all the magic takes place. It is the point of contact where your fingers press down on the strings to create those beautiful notes which define what you are playing on your guitar.

A clean neck will hlep strings last longer and conditioning your fretboard will help keep the untreated wood at a desired moisture level. This conditioning treatment comes in a variety of oils, lotions, and sprays, and should be applied whenever you change your guitar strings. Plus, it should provide more inspiration to your playing when you look down at that beautiful “almost new” looking fretboard. Check out Strings By Mail’s selection of instrument cleaning/wax/lube products.

Take a look at these before and after pictures of a neglected Gibson SG neck. The neck on the right is cleaned and ready to be conditioned:



Many guitar players are proactive in their efforts to keep their guitar clean by making sure they wash their hands before they play, and many are also very adamant about wiping down their guitar fretboards and strings after playing to help clean up the dirt, sweat, and oils from their hands and help strings last longer.

Anything you can do to keep your stringed instruments happy and in good condition will end up rewarding you with an instrument that will age gracefully with you and provide you a lifetime of playing.









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