This is something that I wrote, printed and pasted on some cardboard for my younger customers. It sits on my work counter and is as much for students as it is for the general player. A little care, a few precautions can improve string life – a recurring expense – and the overall life of your instrument dramatically.
Interestingly, these points are valid irrespective of the kind of guitar – acoustic or electric – that you possess.
The photograph is only for representation, and you can read the 10 points here:
Check your score
- My guitar is always in its bag/case and after I finish playing, it returns there.
- If I know that I won’t be playing for more than 2 weeks, I de-tune my guitar and keep it in its case.
- I have a soft, 100% cotton, old t-shirt which I keep in my case to wipe body oils off my guitar – before and after playing it.
- I have another, thicker piece of cloth with which I wipe each guitar string – before and after playing – pinching it between my thumb and forefingers.
- I always wash my hands properly before touching my guitar.
- I change strings at least every three months.
- When I change strings, I give my guitar (especially the fretboard and headstock) a good cleaning.
- When I change strings, I also check the hardware on the headstock – if it has got loose.
- I know the specifications of my guitar: fretboard radius, action at the 1st fret, action at the 12th fret, nut and saddle height, width and radius.
- I always keep a spare set of strings and a string winder in my case.
The penultimate point, I feel, merits an explanation.
Once you know the specifications of your guitar, you are better off in two ways:
- Checking the specs once your guitar comes back from the repair guy, and
- Being able to tell a new guitar repairman the specs that you would like to see on your instrument. By being able to quote the specifications on your guitar, suddenly, you will be seen as someone who ‘knows’. Rest assured, the chances of you being taken for a ride become near negligible.
I will be thrilled to know how much you scored, or, if you would like to add some points towards maintaining an acoustic instrument.