In the 3rd issue of our Classical Guitar-series, we'd like to discuss proper care and maintenance of your instrument.
A guitar is, more often than not, a lifetime investment and you would want your guitar to always sound as good as they day you bought it (or even better!). This short guide will explain the steps on how to take care of your classical guitar so that it sounds great for years to come.
Temperature and Humidity
In our opinion, this is the most overlooked issue with guitars and most people find out the importance of proper humidity the hard way. Every year we see a great deal of customers in need of repairs due to temperature and/or humidity related problems.
As far as temperature goes, the best thing you can do is store your guitar in a controlled environment, preferably the case. Avoid attics, crawlspaces and basements and be careful when taking the guitar outside. The biggest factor to keep in mind is great and sudden changes in temperature, for example; be careful when taking your guitar from the cold outside to the warmth inside.
For humidity, generally, a constant level between 45% and 55% is ideal for the safe maintenance of a fine classical guitar. If a guitar is subjected to either a humidity level below 40% or to a large, or a large quick drop in humidity, it is highly at risk of cracking or having its seams open. A dried out guitar will sound thin and scratchy. A guitar which has been exposed to excessive moisture will sound dull and thudy. Storage in a controlled environment is also important for humidity control (as mentioned above). We recommend the purchase of a Digital Hygrometer, Oasis Guitar Humidifier (For the winter / cold and dry time-periods) and a Bamboo Charcoal Dehumidifier (For the summer / humid time-periods).
Transportation and Storage
For the sake of proper protection, you really should go with a hard-shell case (over a gig-bag) for your instrument. Hard-shell cases are a great investment because even if you decide to switch guitars, you can use it for another guitar. They also hold their value well if you just want to sell the case.
Likewise, when transporting the guitar you again need to be keeping track of any differences in temperature and humidity. The climate-control rule applies so be sure to get it with you in the car, not in the trunk especially during summer and winter months. When you arrive to a new destination, if you have time then open the case and allow it to get used to the new environment for roughly an hour before you play or tune it. This can be difficult to do if you are pressed for time, but a little planning ahead will greatly extend the life of the instrument.
For storage at home, you can never go wrong by just leaving the guitar in its case. If you want quick access to your instrument, we recommend a stand by Hercules. Preferably a wall-mount, this prevents anyone from accidentally bumping into the guitar.
Cleaning the Body, Strings and Fretboard
Most people slight traces of oil and dirt on their fingers and hands. This can negatively affect both the strings and the wood of the guitar. It is a good idea to change strings once every three months or more, depending on how often you play. When you are changing the strings, take the time to do a little inspection. Check the fretboard, tuning pegs, the neck and make sure everything is looking good. This is a good time to wipe everything down. Use a soft cloth and a guitar cleaning solution. Don’t go with furniture polish or something like that. Just pick up some guitar cleaner, we recommend the Music Nomad One. For the fretboard, we recommend Dunlop Lemon Oil.
If you follow these easy tips, you will be able to keep your classical guitar in great shape and sounding perfect for a lifetime. Next issue we will be discussing the changing of strings and how different strings can affect your tone!