Okay, you finally got that prized guitar. The one you’ve been saving up for. You know – The ONE.
Of course, you’ve had others but they were okay. This one is different. This one is your baby and you want to keep it pristine.
Here are some ways that guitars become relics before their time.
This is a big one. Extreme temperatures and wonky humidity levels can create disaster.
Guitars need a cool, dry environment, so keep your guitar in a happy place.
Don’t put your guitar in peril by exposing it to excessive heat or cold for long periods of time. Heat and sunlight can mess with the finish and can make it look old and faded fast. Cold weather might not affect the finish much, but it can cause damage to binding, inlays and the neck, often requiring unnecessary effort with the truss rod.
NEVER leave your guitar in a closed vehicle during summer months. Extreme heat can severely damage the instrument and may void the warranty. Guitars can literally come apart if you do this.
Low Humidity can be a disaster. If you live in a dry climate, you gotta be aware of the effect that extreme dry conditions can have on just about anything. Your guitar is especially vulnerable. Get or create a humidity control system.
Gradual changes in temperature and humidity will not usually harm a well-made guitar, but extreme temperatures can really screw things up. Go for climate stability. Generally, ideal conditions for a guitar is air humidity somewhere in the 45-55% range, and temperature between 65-75 °F.
Your guitar strap is your friend – until it isn’t. That sucker can easily slip off of the buttons and your beloved will hit the floor in a split-second. Never put your guitar on without securing the strap properly. You don’t have to spend a bunch of money replacing your strap buttons with fancy metal strap locks (they’re quite unreliable as well). Simply get some Grolsch-style gaskets and slip them on - very reliable and cheap. Hell, they come free with certain beers. Or you can find some here (CLICK THIS).
Your Pets and Children
As loveable as they may be, both are disasters waiting to happen. Just keep them away. If your kid shows interest and is old enough, go get ‘em a starter. That’d be cool and they’ll keep their grubby mitts off yours.
Here’s another really big one. Whether you’re flying or taking a road trip, you must assume that someone along the way wants to hurt it. They do. The Internet is full of stories about this
The least that you wanna do is use your hard case. The next level is to get a really good hard plastic TSA approved case. If you are really serious, get a burly road case. You know, one of those Anvil-style beasts.
Not talking about real travel here. More like, “I’m heading out for my lesson” or “Just heading over to Franks to jam for a little while”. Get a gig bag, use it – every time. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Loaning - Just Say No
Yeah, they’re your best pal. They’d never hurt my precious. Well, not on purpose. Keep you guitar – keep your friend. ‘Nuff said.
Less Obvious Hazards
Your Belt - just take it off. It’s gonna ugly-up your guitar. They don’t call it ‘Buckle Rash’ ‘cause it’s rare.
Your Shirt – “Man that’s a cool Cowboy Shirt! Hey, why’s the back of your Les Paul so Gnarly?
Bad Storage and Display Conditions
Buy a stand! Buy a good one. Never leave your guitar leaned up against the wall or your amp. Flirting with disaster.
Don’t get some wienie, cheap tube steel, folding contraption. That’s just sad. First off, they’re not that stable. Second, they’re quite ugly. And last, they’re often covered with cheap, petroleum-based foam, rubber or vinyl can cause damage over time when in contact with your guitars finish. Geez.
Maintain Your Stick
At least once a year, take your instrument to your local guitar tech for a complete look-over.
No matter how well you store, clean or transport of your instrument, the truss rod’s gonna need adjusting, and the intonation needs to be checked and the pickup heights will need to be tweaked.
Make this a habit. You’ll be glad you did.
Play it every single day. It’s good for it. Trust us.