Basic Acoustic Guitar Maintenance – Re-Stringing and Cleaning
Basic Guitar Maintenance
Whenever you have to change the strings on your guitar, it's a good idea to give your instrument a thorough clean from the headstock to the body and under the neck. You can also check for loose parts such as the tuners on the headstock. Basic acoustic guitar maintenance is a must to keep your instrument in top playing condition.
Removing the strings
When removing the strings ensure you remove all the bridge pins at the same time before removing the strings. Start with the low E string (the largest string); reach to the back of the saddle and take out the pins one at a time.
Cleaning the Fretboard
The main reason you need to clean, and keep clean, your fretboard is so that the life of your new strings is maintained. Grime from a dirty fretboard will be absorbed by the strings and the life of the strings will be reduced by as much as 30%. Clean the fretboard, frets and the underside of the neck. A paper towel is perfect for this process.
First you need to tape (use a light, wide paper tape) up the parts of the body either side of where the fretboard extends onto the body to the sound hole; cover the sound hole as well. Use a piece of super-fine grade steel wool to clean the frets and fretboard (lightly); brush away any steel wool particles.
Take a dry piece of paper towel and wipe the fretboard down; then apply a small amount of linseed oil to a clean piece of paper towel and give the entire fretboard a wipe with it. Dry the fretboard with a dry piece of paper towel.
The Body and Neck
A paper towel with a small amount of mild dish-soap can be used to give the body / sides and neck a good clean. Follow this up by buffing the guitar with a piece of dry paper towel
Once the guitar is clean and dry, give it a wax. Turtle wax (or any non-abrasive wax or non-silicone base) can be used on the body / sides and neck. Apply a small amount of wax to a paper towel and wax the entire body / sides and neck thoroughly. Your guitar should now be smooth all over.
Check the nut on the tuner posts; if they are loose tighten them. Once the strings are tightened you need to check the tuner buttons / keys to ensure they are not loose. You can use a Phillips screwdriver to tighten them if they are loose.
Start with low E (thick string) – slide the string into the bridge, lock the pin in place (give the string a tug and you should hear the pin lock in place); then work your way to the high E string. Lock all six strings in place before tightening the strings at the tuner posts.
Starting with the Low E string – pull the string tight (maintain the tension) up to the next tuner post (the A string) and cut the string at the point where it meets the A tuner post with your wire cutters. Now thread part of the end (just enough so that the end of the string is through the 'E' tuner post hole) of the string into the 'E' tuner post hole and tighten. Do not over tighten. Now put the rest of the strings in using the same technique. Give the top three strings (G, B & high E) a little more length (sometimes 1.5 times more than the other 3 strings) before cutting and threading.
Once all the strings are in place – give all the strings a stretch – strings will go out of tune – give the strings another stretch then re-tune; and maybe give the strings a third stretch and re-tune.
Now that your guitar is clean and new strings are in place you will find your instrument a pleasure to play. Basic Acoustic Guitar Maintenance is a must for every guitar owner to keep the instrument in top playing condition.