A properly maintained guitar … really any fine wood stringed instrument … should last for generations.
Here are things you can do to help make sure your guitar lives a long and musical life:
DO YOU HAVE A GREAT GUITAR? KEEP IT HUMIDIFIED!!!! You’re not taking proper care of it if you don’t keep it adequately humidified. It may sound strange but if you take the time to read the “care and feeding” pamphlet included with most new guitars (yes, even solid body electric guitars), you’ll note that it is strongly advised that you maintain a humidity level where you guitar is stored (the case?) at between 45%-55% humidity. Thanks to the prolonged drought in Texas, low humidity, cold weather and indoor heat, we’re seeing more guitars with humidity related cracks, fret ends poking out from dried out fingerboards, and other humidity related problems than ever before. These problems can easily be avoided by keeping your guitar in the case with a case humidifier. They are inexpensive and very effective; you can even make your own with very little effort. When I visited Martin Guitars for their Repair Summit last August we were told that center seam cracks may not be considered a warranty repair if the guitar was not humidified. Many problems and much heartache can be avoided with some simple precautions.
CLEAN YOUR GUITAR! Seems obvious enough like washing your car, but we see lots of folks with nice instruments who never take the time to periodically clean off the sweat, spittle, and effluvia from their guitar. If it’s an electric guitar, take special care around the pickups and hardware to prevent gunk buildup. Occasionally the fingerboard should be oiled and cleaned. Clean the sweat stains on the top of the guitar where your arm crosses the instrument. It gets especially bad looking with dark colored and sunburst instruments. A bottle of guitar polish is an inexpensive investment and will go a long way in maintaining the finish and luster of your guitar. If you’re thinking of selling your guitar clean it first. People will bring stuff in either to sell to us or for us to sell for them that is downright nasty and expect to get top $$ when just a little time and effort will make it much more appealing.