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How To Care For Your Guitar

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Maintaining and caring for your guitar is the easiest and most cost-effective way of prolonging its life and maximising its playability. Keeping your guitar in good shape requires only a little time and a few relatively inexpensive products.
What you'll need: 
Guitar stand
Solid-body guitar case
Microfibre cloth
Lemon oil
Clean cotton rag
Toothpicks
Toothbrush
Soapy water
Guitar polish
Replacement strings
1: 
The quickest, easiest step to take in maintaining your guitar is to regularly dust it, wipe it down with a clean cotton rag and then polish it with guitar polish and a microfibre cloth. Avoid using general purpose or furniture polishes as they may contain additives which can damage and dull the guitar's coating.
2: 
Buy a solid-body guitar case whether you intend to travel with your guitar or not; damage can happen at home just as easily as on the road. The solid case will protect your guitar from bumps and falls and will allow you to store it safely.
3: 
If you practice on a daily basis (as you probably should!), make sure you store your guitar on either a guitar stand or mount a guitar holder on the wall. Leaning the guitar against any hard object (walls, couches etc) can warp the neck, making it hard to fix and even harder to play.
4: 
Much of the guitar's wear and tear will be on the neck and fretboard. When changing strings, use the opportunity to clean and treat the fretboard. Use a toothpick to scrape any dirt and grime collected behind the frets. Dip an old toothbrush in warm, soapy water and scrub the areas around the frets thoroughly. Once finished, make sure the fretboard is completely dry.
5: 
Lemon oil is ideal for treating and nourishing the fretboard. Spray a generous amount onto the fretboard before rubbing it into the wood with a clean cloth. Remove any excess oil and allow to dry.
6: 
Avoid exposing your guitar to extremes in both temperature and humidity. These conditions will cause either shrinking or expansion of the wood and metal; neither are good for the guitar.
7: 
Regularly check the tightness of screws and fittings such as machine heads and guitar strap holders; they have a tendency to loosen at inopportune moments.
8: 
Use a chrome polish to remove grease from the bridge, machine heads and pickups and leave the guitar looking its best.
9: 
Replace your strings when they begin to lose their tone and brightness. Not only do old strings not sound as good, they also break more easily. Again, they're bound to break at the worst possible time.
Conclusion: 
A quality guitar is an investment. If you take the time to maintain and service it on a regular basis it will retain its tone and playability and will be with you for the long haul.
Tips: 
Keep a supply of replacement guitar strings. They are inexpensive and can be a life saver if a string snaps.
Warnings: 
Keep water well away from the guitar's electronics.

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