Universal Guitar Cleaning Tips
Establishing a regular guitar cleaning routine will keep your instrument in good condition for years to come. One of the quickest things you can do is to wipe it down with some guitar polish every so often. Simply apply a little guitar polish to a soft, clean cloth and use it to remove any smudges from the face, sides, neck, and back of your guitar.
Cleaning your guitar can also save you money. The strings will lose their brilliance and begin to sound dull as the oils from your finger tips accumulate on the fretboard. You could buy new strings, but a little polish can help loosen the dirt and will probably make your old strings sound better so you don’t have to buy new ones right away.
It’s very important to use a polish that is specifically made for cleaning guitars. Regular household products can damage your guitar, so don’t use them!
I once had a student who decided to use furniture polish to clean his guitar. He had just put new strings on his guitar and thought it would be a good idea to oil the wood so it wouldn’t dry out. The strings were absolutely useless after he applied the oil, but fortunately, the guitar wasn’t damaged. However, he wasn’t able to play the guitar until the wood dried out, which was the very thing he was trying to avoid in the first place!
I like using a spray polish because it’s easy to apply. All you need to do is spray on a light coat and then use a polishing cloth to wipe off all the excess gunk and smudges from the surface of your guitar.
Guitar care items can be obtained individually so you can make your own guitar cleaning kit. My own kit includes…
- Guitar Polish
- Polishing Cloth
- Machine Head Lubricant
- String Winder/pin puller
If you want to get a real thorough guitar cleaning job done you will need to remove all the strings.
After you take the strings off you’ll find it’s easier to wipe down each fret and get any grime that has built up around them. It will also be easier to clean around the head and tuning keys of your guitar. When your done you can replace your old strings with brand-new ones to get an extra bright sound.
I use a thing-a-ma-jig for pulling the string out of the capstan hole on the head of the guitar. The thing-a-ma-jig looks like a long narrow, two pronged fork. Needle nose pliers work too. I have also used a nail-file in the past. Whatever you decide to use, just be careful not to scratch your guitar. You can even use your fingers if you want to, but metal strings are sharp and can be difficult to get out. I’ve been poked enough to bleed on several occasions.
The On Stage Universal Guitar Care Kit has everything you need to get started. It comes ready-made with…
- spray polish
- 2 cleaning cloths
- And 3 guitar picks =)
The OnStage polish is very fine, so it cleans your guitar without leaving an oily residue and adds a little shine too. Plus, you only need to use a little bit to do the job, so it lasts quite a long time. You will likely spend less with this package than if you bought each item individually, which makes good economic sense too.
As I sit here writing I can see the dust beginning to accumulate on the top of my guitars. I guess if the weather is crummy this weekend it might be time to get some guitar cleaning done, eh?
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