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Thread: Guitar Care and Maintenance

  1. #1
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    Guitar Care and Maintenance

    I've had my 513 for almost 5 years now and I haven't done any maintenance on it really with the exception of the occasional body polish and putting lemon oil on the rosewood fretboard. I'm going to get some cleaning supplies and was wondering what you guys use and have found to work best? Looking to keep the fretboard, bridge, and body looking nice. Any other suggestions on things that I should be doing?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    I play my guitars pretty hard and often. I sweat like pig. No...WORSE than a PIG :-( and my sweat is toxic and corrosive.
    Depending on what exactly you want to do there are lots of products and methods. FWIW though I have never really bought or tried any actual specialized guitar cleaners or products.

    My maintenance regime goes a little something like this:
    I have to change strings after 2 gigs or else I WILL be breaking strings on night 3. I'd say that every second or third stringchange I go over the frets and fretboard with a scotchbrite pad. If the board has a lot of waxy build-up I scrape it off with an exacto. That's only necessary a few times/year usually but polishing-up the frets with scotchbrite is pretty regular for me. Especially if the guitar has been sitting for a week or more. The frets get tarnished and "sticky" until I give them a good polish.
    Oh FIRST and MOST importantly... give her a good wipe-down when you're done with her after each set. Wipe all that nastiness and sweat off it while it's still wet. The old "ounce of prevention blah blah blah.." thing.

    Every stringchange also comes with a quick visual inspection and good cleaning on the body under the strings. I check for pickups backing off and getting lower. I check the truss/neck relief...THAT can change pretty regularly if you live where there are HUGE climate swings...like up here in Canada where it will go from 60 below zero and ZERO RH to literally 110deg with 99% RH.

    For those pick swirls and minor hazing/scuffing, you can get guitar polish or...a lot of people look at automotive products. Always TEST first in a low-vis location. A good product is Meguiar's Scratch-X. It is a very gentle abrasive polish that will get rid of light surface swirls and scratches. Be very careful though...do the test spot and ...there usually isnt a lot of surface thickness of coating on guitars. If polishing by hand I doubt you're gonna burn through the clearcoat but the polishes DO have abbrasives in them so if you use a power buffer and/or polish often...eventually you WILL burn through the topcoat.

    The fretboard sometimes (maybe twice/year?) needs added attention. Sometimes I need to get a little more aggressive and abrasive and will give it a quick rub with some superfine steel wool.
    Since I am a WET player, my RW and ebony boards never really need any hydration or oiling. If you have a dry board, some oil will help but DON'T overoil!!! RW is kinda "self oiling" anyway and adding too much oil can cause problems. It can interact with glues (that glue the board to the neck), can cause swelling that can play havoc with the fret seating. Inlays can come unglued...
    Just don't overoil your boards. It would probably be better to underoil as opposed to overoil.

    Mainly, keep your guitar CLEAN. That will pay off in the long run.
    Keep an eye on neck relief but when that goes wonky on you you wont have to LOOKJ for it. It will let you know all by itself lol.
    PLAY IT!!!
    If it's gonna be a casequeen, maybe loosen the strings a bit for long storage periods. One of those case hydrator units might help. Moreso for acoustics than electrics I'd imagine though. Acoustics are way more finicky than electrics.

    For hardware like bridges and pup covers...again, wiping them down after each play will do a LOT to keep those parts looking and performing as they should.
    If/when they get dirty or tarnished there are plenty of metal polishes out there. Like the polishes there are some ($$) specifically for guitar..or you can probably get the same or better products from the automotive shelf at Walmart. Googling "nickel plated guitar bridge polish" ...or.." chrome guitar parts polish" you'll find plenty of products specifically for guitars.

    It's smart to leave a guitar on a stand where you will SEE it all the time. That makes you play it more...BUT... keeping guitars on stands can be trouble..dust and dirt will get at it. Climatical changes will have more effect and...$$ guitars on stands + hardwood or concrete floors + toddlers = TROUBLE.

    Rule #1 in guitar maintenance though...at least for me is... an ounce of prevention = a much better performing instrument and less work and cost in the long run.
    Clean it EVERY TIME you play it.
    Don't OVERpolish it.
    Don't overoil the board.
    ...ummm...other than that, electric guitars don't require a whole lot of maintenance or babysitting as you know from having owned yours for over 5 years without too much worry or hard work.
    Even when you submerse them is SWEAT and bodily fluids a few times/week...electric guitars are pretty robust. PREVENTATIVE maintenance is key for years of troublefree music making. DECADES even.

  3. #3
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    The Force is weak in ^^ mezzio's Avatar
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    I use PowerChord spray-on cleaner/polish after playing. Its easy, works on every surface type (wood, finish, plastic and metal). I don't gig... yet... maybe a long yet... so I don't change my strings unless they feel horrible, so maybe once a month, when I do ill do a 3 step process (clean, deep clean/scratch removal, finishing wax)... although the scratch removal isn't working so well in the picking area anymore, I've gotten sloppy since starting playing again.

  5. #5
    Simple works for me:

    1. Lemon oil is for cleaning the fingerboard only, then it needs to be immediately wiped off. I only have to clean mine once a year because my hands don't gunk up. It's a cleaning agent, not an "oiling the fingerboard" agent; fingerboards don't really need oiling, and lemon oil is actually naphtha (dry cleaning and lighter fluid with a scent). Use it too often, and it's really not good for the fingerboard and inlays.

    As lemon oil evaporates, it's actually a drying agent, not an "oiling" agent. Use nothing for "oiling" is the best advice.

    2. Soft microfiber cloths are actually less abrasive than cotton. A damp one for a wipedown, followed by a dry, clean one. I use these:

    http://www.griotsgarage.com/product/...ortby=ourPicks

    3. For occasional shining-up duty, I like the PRS cleaner. Waxes simply build up, this stuff works better. I use the above cloths for this duty as well.

    4. For polishing out scratches, Meguiar's New Car Glaze is a good polish, but never use it on nitro. I haven't tried the PRS polish, but it's also not for nitro. My nitro Private Stock hasn't needed anything polished out, so I haven't looked into something for nitro yet, and only would do so if it needed it.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

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    I just ride them hard and put them away wet. Hey, it's rock and roll not the Westminster Dog Show.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by NomadMike View Post
    I just ride them hard and put them away wet. Hey, it's rock and roll not custom car show.
    I see you're following the Official Written Rules of Rock and Roll.

    I never picked up a copy, but then I'm not nearly as awesome a guy.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

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    The smells, the textures, the things not usually seen outside a Petri dish, each has a story and a fond memory to go along with it.
    Good thing I never intend to sell them as they qualify as SuperFund sites.


    Hold on, are you guys saying you don't play with a lit cigarette in the headstock?
    Last edited by NomadMike; 07-03-2014 at 03:47 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member wardog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    ok, you rock dude. Your own theme music TOO!!!

    Fans are waiting on the next Design on a Dime!!!
    I like surprises!!!

  10. #10
    Junior Member kevorkianMetal's Avatar
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    Sergio, you just made my day. It has to be Crystal though right? lol Thanks!
    '13 Custom 24 Artist Grey/Black Quilt (one piece top) uncovered 57/08's. '11 BC Rich Stealth with Quad Bridge, Custom Bone Nut, Seymour Duncan Blackout bridge pickup.'05 Jackson SLSMG Soloist with Seymour Duncan Blackout pickup set.'95 Fender Jaguar '62 reissue with Gibson B59 humbucker in the bridge.'13 Gibson SG 70's Tribute. '99 Mesa Boogie 2 channel Triple rectifier with custom bias mod and "top secret" solo channel in FX loop. Kev-

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by NomadMike View Post
    Hold on, are you guys saying you don't play with a lit cigarette in the headstock?
    I did that with my SG Special, and with several different cigarette "fillings."

    But that was a long time ago...
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

  12. #12
    Bullet the Blue Sky clmazza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    The only way! Awesome....!

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    Well Les, I guess we guitar players were a lot less obsessive back then.

    Sergio, what model, top and finish is that?

  14. #14
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wardog View Post

    Fans are waiting on the next Design on a Dime!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by kevorkianMetal View Post
    Sergio, you just made my day. It has to be Crystal though right? lol Thanks!
    It doesn't have to be Cristal, but it must be french.

    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post

    But that was a long time ago...
    Yeah, at least an hour ago...

    Quote Originally Posted by NomadMike View Post
    Sergio, what model, top and finish is that?
    KL33, basically a solid korina Santana.

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