‘How to Clean up Your Guitar, for the Average Joe’


New or old, the shape of your guitar rests on the care you put into it.  Sounds obvious right?  It’s incredibly obvious!  That’s why it’s a great starting point.  So, where do you start after realizing, “Hey, maybe I could get in there and clean you up a bit.”?  It’s not as complicated as it might appear.  I mean, a guitar is wood, metal, and strings, and the market already has simplified methods for keeping your instrument in fighting shape.

We’ll start with you.  Take a minute before you play and go wash your hands.  You just ate lunch, awesome pizza, now you wipe your fingers on your shirt and pick up your acoustic for a jam.  No, no, no.  Greasy fingers will not only leave the body nice and muffed up, your strings are going to have that sit there with that lovely pizza grease on them and stay there with it on them.  Clean fingers make for a clean guitar, and a clean guitar makes for a happy guitarist.

Next we’ll take a look at the body.  What can you do for it?  Do your best to take off your rings, your dangling necklace, keep it away from your power sander, simple stuff.  When replacing your strings, be extra super careful that you don’t let one fly and scrape it up, trust me, take that one to heart.  They love to unfurl and lash out at whatever they can get their sharp ends to.  As for actually taking the body and sprucing it up, you can take a can of pledge (only for electric guitars, do not do this on an acoustic guitar) to it and make it look good as new, no need for specialized guitar polish they’ll sell to you for 7.50$.  To take care of stubborn dust underneath the sound hole or your pick-ups, take a rag, gently push it under and through, grab the other end with the other hand, pull it through the other side, run it back and forth, then you’re all set.

Along the fretboard, start by following step numero uno, wash those hands.  Afterwards, your fingers are naturally oil to begin with, so when you’re through playing, your strings are always going to be a little oily, naturally!  Take your dust rag and run it, top to bottom, along your strings.  You can do the same to the head while you’re up there, dust loves to get under those pointy ends to your strings and around your tuners.

If someone has to dive into the electronics, I would only recommend letting a professional take that task, a clean guitar is nothing if you only ever get feedback out of your amp.  The aesthetics can be taken care of by us, but your electronics are not to be tampered with just to save a few dollars.  You already know music is an expensive hobby, and you can make it harder on yourself and your wallet if you don’t take the time to let the man have a look at it.  It isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it.  These guys have shops because this happens all the time, you’re not the first, and you certainly won’t be the last.

Your guitar is important to you.  We all know how careful we are with our instruments, and the horror of your first bump into a wall and the way it keeps us up that night.  We will do our best to keep our instrument in fighting shape, because we’re proud to call it ours. So, fellow guitarists, say it with me!  “This is my guitar!  There are many like it, but this one is mine!”

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