Care and Feeding

HUMIDITY

Part of the reason that your guitar sounds SO wonderful is that it is made from solid wood rather than the laminates used in less expensive instruments. Unless you live in the tropics, your baby needs to be kept humidified all winter long, from the time you turn the heat on in the fall till you turn if off in the spring. Regardless of the kind of heat you have in your house, if you do not keep this instrument humidified, it is very likely to shrink from dryness and crack. I have a friend who was lying in bed one night and heard his guitar explode into pieces from dryness. While cracks can be repaired, they will always be visible. So prevention is the best cure!

We recommend that you use two humidifiers in your guitar case, one inside the sound hole and one in the space by the peg head. We sell the several different soundhole humidifiers including the Oasis and the Planet Waves. A Dampit or another Oasis will work for peghead and neck protection. Signs of dryness include depression of the top, very low string action or string buzz, and sharp frets along the edge of the fingerboard. If any of these occur your guitar is too dry. While the guitar company will warrantee your new guitar for defects in manufacture, they specifically state in all the warrantee literature that cracking or any other shrinking due to dryness is not covered.

A word of warning from the repair department:

it is as easy to over humidify a guitar as to under humidify and the consequences are just as dire. If you keep your house humidified, you probably don‘t need case humidifiers. Has your action gotten really high? Have your frets turned green? Is there condensation on the top? Is your top bellied up like and arch top guitar? TOO MUCH WATER!!! To prevent humidity issues in either direction, please invest in a hygrometer. You want the levels to be around 45-50% moisture and this little tool will tell you where you are. Oasis makes a good one to go alone with its’ humidifiers.

The second biggest threat is extremes in temperature.

Don’t ever leave your guitar in a hot car or a cold car; it likes to be at the temperature at which you are comfortable. In the sun in the summer internal car temperatures can reach as high as 140 degrees, which is about where the glue starts to melt. Conversely if a guitar gets too cold, the finish, especially lacquer finishes are guaranteed to crazy if they warm up too fast. So when an instrument gets cold, bring it into your house but do not under any circumstances open the case for at least twelve hours. This gives the finish and the wood a chance to warm up at the same rate.

To keep your guitar clean, use a commercial guitar cleaner and a cotton cloth- an old T-shirt will do- but always rub with the grain when cleaning and polishing. Lemon oil on the fingerboard is good, and if your instrument has open gear tuners, give them a drop of 3-in-one oil each time you change your strings.

Basic Safety

Here are a few words from the wise. Never stand your instrument up against a counter or table. Cats? Dogs? Clumsy friends? Wild kids? Fall down go boom.  Put your instrument on a stand or best, back in the case WITH AT LEAST ONE LATCH FASTENED when you put her down. Even just to get a glass of milk and a cookie. Put your guitar in the van right away when you take it out from the gig. Can you guess how many instruments we’ve seen that have gotten backed over? Or that famous Strad (yes the real thing) that was left on top of the car? OOpsie!