How to clean a guitar? Well if you are a music enthusiast and love playing your guitar, you need to keep it clean. And for that you need to learn how. This post is all about helping you clean your guitar so that you can make good music. Not only does a clean guitar make great tunes but it also looks good. However cleaning a guitar can be quite tricky business. You need certain tools and a few guidelines when cleaning the dirt, grease, sweat, smoke or other things that might have settled on your guitar. If you don’t pay attention to keeping your guitar clean, you risk permanent damage to its quality and resonance.
Here we have some effective tips that allow you to clean all types of guitars. Whether you have an electric or acoustic guitar, these tips certainly will do the trick for you.
- STEP #1 – Removing the strings
In an ideal world you’d be cleaning your guitar every time you changed its strings. This is because with the strings off you get a good access to the fretboard and also avoid damaging them with oil, polish or damp cloth that you might use while you clean. So the first thing that you need to do is to remove the strings. But remember; only remove two or three strings at one time so that you don’t disturb the tension in the neck.
- STEP #2 – Cleaning the Fretboard
Even if you play your guitar frequently, know that you only need to clean your fretboard for like once or twice in a year. This is because, the fretboard picks up natural moisture from the oils on your finger and disturbing it can cause your guitar to go out of tune. Clean the fretboard with a damp cloth. Ensure that there are no visible water droplets on the cloth; wrung it out as much as you can. Keep in mind to clean the fretboard thoroughly and not
transfer dirt with a dirty cloth from one part to another.
If the fretboard is extremely grimy, you can use extra fine steel wool to lightly brush it off. But remember to cover your pickups as tiny pieces of steel wool tend to stick to the magnets in the pickups. For places that are hard to reach, use an old toothbrush, edge of a credit card or perhaps a damp cotton swab.
If your fretboard has cracks or it has dried out, you can use any good fretboard conditioner or one to two drops of mineral oil. Just make sure to wipe off all the excess.
- STEP #3 – Polishing the finish
After you’re done cleaning, it’s important that you polish. Almost all guitars have high quality lacquer finish on them which allows them to age beautifully. However you need to keep one thing in your mind. The lacquer is usually porous so you need to be very careful while you choose a polish. Always squirt the polish on the rag you are using and not directly on your guitar. Polish the front, back and the neck of your guitar.
Note: never use furniture polish on your guitar because the wood absorbs the oil and damages its resonance.
- STEP #4 – Cleaning the tuning keys
To clean your tuning clean you can spray a rag with glass cleaner and polish each of the tuning keys.
- STEP #5 – Cleaning the bridge
You can use a well wrung out damp cloth, a pipe cleaner or an old toothbrush to clean the bridge of your guitar.
- STEP #6 – Polishing pickups
Use an Allen wrench to unscrew the faceplates without disturbing the wiring and use a rust dissolving agent to clean the rust. If the pickups aren’t rusty, simply polish them using a soft cloth. Many people also use Brasso (a metal polisher) to clean the pickups, you can buy it cheap off Amazon and is very effective for cleaning all kinds of metal. Use a piece of cloth or an old sock to smear the material over the pickups carefully, and beware not to let it touch other non-metal parts, especially the wooden part of the guitar.
Brasso is used to polish and clean material such as metal, bronze, gold, and so on. I'm not sure how it will react to a wooden surface, so you better be careful there. Best thing to do if you choose to use Brasso is, watch a few of Youtube videos on how to use it, and read the instructions on the cover of the Brasso case. I also suggest using cloth or other insulating material, to insulate the pickups from the body of the guitar upon using.
- STEP #7 – Replace the strings
Replace the strings or get them changed if you think they need to be. Once this is done, make sure you keep your guitar wrapped up in its case. As tempting as it might be to hang it up on a wall or leave it on a stand, it is essential that you protect your guitar and keep it safe in its case.
ABOUT VINTAGE GUITARS
Remember that the finish on vintage guitars is very thin as compared to the normal ones. This gives them their better tune but also means that you need to take greater care while cleaning them. You should avoid using any polish or water on a vintage guitar. Instead just breathe warm moist air on spots you find dirty on your guitar and wipe them with a dry soft cloth. If you are still unsure about cleaning a vintage guitar you can get professional help. This way you will not have to worry about damaging your expensive guitar and have it cleaned as well.