CARING FOR YOUR GUITAR Print friendly version
To avoid critical damage to your guitar, it is essential
to pay close attention to how it is handled, as well as to humidity and
temperature. Please read the following instructions carefully, and if you are in
doubt about any aspect of caring for your guitar, please contact me. (Thanks
to Armin Kelly for these guidelines.)
HUMIDITY AND TEMPERATURE
avoid shrinkage, cracking, swelling, and warping of your guitar, you must keep
it in an environment which provides fairly constant temperature and humidity
year round. You must have an accurate humidity gauge with the guitar at all
times and you must observe its readings. These can be purchased for about
$30.00. The humidity level should
be between 45% and 55%, and the temperature should be between 65 and 80 degrees.
If your guitar is subjected to a humidity level of 40% or lower, it is at risk
of cracking, having its seams open, or even having its bridge detach itself from
avoid shrinkage and cracking, never leave your instrument next to a heat source
such as a radiator or woodstove, or a cooling source such as an air conditioning
outlet. Low humidity is often associated with cold weather, but dry warm weather
as well as air conditioning in warm humid weather can easily lower a room's
humidity level below what is safe for your guitar.
STORAGE When not being used, your guitar should always be stored in its case, not left in a room's open air. The case slows down moisture loss in a dry environment and moisture absorption in a humid environment. Always latch the case when you put the guitar away.
transporting your guitar in a car with heater or air conditioner on, you should
place the guitar in its case inside a large airtight plastic bag (a garbage bag
works fine) to seal in moisture and protect against excessive dryness. Do not
leave your guitar in the passenger compartment or trunk of a car or anywhere
else where sunlight can overheat the guitar.
tools for monitoring and adjusting humidity levels:
FRENCH POLISH FINISH Your guitar is finished with shellac applied via the traditional French polish method. This finish is thin and very delicate. It can easily be damaged by contact with moisture (including perspiration), alcohol, heat which exceeds room temperature, or if it is struck or scraped with a hard object such as a fingernail, shirt button, or belt buckle. When playing the guitar, you should always place a protective cloth between you and the guitar to screen the finish from perspiration and excessive body heat.
is not unusual for a French polish finish to require touch-up every three to
four years. If touch-up or repair of your guitar's finish is required, please
contact me first.
To clean your guitar, use Meguiar's Mirror Glaze #10 or #18 on a soft cotton cloth.
Rub the guitar gently with the moistened cloth for 5-10 seconds, let dry for
about 20 seconds, then buff the mirror glaze off with a clean, dry cotton cloth.
Do not wax this finish.
FLEXING THE SOUNDBOARD
CHANGING STRINGS Before changing strings, always protect the top with a "String Bib" (supplied with your guitar) or equivalent to keep from inadvertently marking the soundboard.
DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS (pdf file; includes drawing)
Note: this procedure does not include burning a "ball" onto the end of the treble strings, which necessitates checking the strings at the tie block frequently while bringing up to tension. If a ball is used, reverse the way the strings are inserted into the tie block.
you remove all the strings at once, it may take several hours after string
tension is reapplied for your guitar to sound at its best.