Frequently Asked Questions
About Acoustic Guitar

 

How Should I Take Care of my Guitar?

Avoid Climate Extremes
Do not expose it to extremes of temperature.  If it's too hot or cold for you, it's probably too hot or cold for your guitar. Don't expose it to quick temperature changes.  If you're in an area of low humidity (<20%), keep it humidified. Humidifiers that fit in the soundhole are available.  Look at some commercial humidifiers at Musician's Friend

You can also make one out of a plastic prescription bottle, some string, and a piece of a kitchen sponge.

Here is a set of instructions for making your own guitar humidifier:

  1. Get a small plastic prescription bottle.
  2. Using a soldering iron or something like that, poke, oh, about 10-15 holes in the bottle, wherever you want. The holes should be about 2-3 mm in diameter. Make one hole in the bottom.
  3. Get a piece of nice thick string about 40-50 cm long.
  4. Run that string through the hole in the bottom and knot it so it won't come back out.
  5. Cut a piece off a kitchen sponge that will fit in the bottle (but not too tightly).  KIDS - ask Mom before doing this ;^)
  6. Put the sponge in the bottle, put a few drops of water in the sponge, and put the top on the prescription bottle. The sponge should be damp, not dripping wet.
  7. Make sure the outside of the bottle is dry.

When you put your guitar in the case, drop the bottle in the box. (You'll probably have to pull a string out of the way a little to do this, unless you have one of those large soundhole Maccaferris.  It will probably not be necessary to loosen a string to do this, though.)  Leave the string hanging out so you can pull the bottle back out later.

Obviously, you don't want to vigorously shake your guitar and case when this humidifier is installed. Also, on dry winter days, you'll have to put more water in it every two days or so.

NOTE: Contrary to popular belief, using a Prozac prescription bottle will not make your guitar sound mellower ;^), but the content inside might :)

Simple Maintenance

General Maintenance Advice from Jason Nieh's Guitar Notes
Additional advice from the Guitar Advisor

Fretboard Maintenance
This answer comes courtesy of Abe Wechter's of Wechter Guitar "Ask the Guitar Maker" series: "I use a little lemon oil on a cloth. Don't use too much oil; and finish by wiping hard with a dry cloth. I find it helpful to use a toothpick to get right next to the fret in some cases.  You are cleaning gunk off, and the fragrance is nice. What you are not doing is keeping the rosewood from "drying out" and cracking, or even providing an effective barrier coat for moisture retention.  There is a common misconception that you have to nourish' the wood.  You do not.  You want to store the guitar at the proper relative humidity, and just clean the fingerboard very occasionally.  What you absolutely want to avoid is any product that promises decreased friction; if it contains silicone, you are inviting serious problems later on should any finish work be necessary."

Minor Repair or Maintenance
You can find some simple repair advice for fixing buzzing strings, replacing tuning machines, or for the brave of heart, fixing loose braces at:
"The Guitar Advisor".

Traveling With Your Guitar
The Guitar Advisor's answer to this question. 

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