Basic Guitar Care Tips!

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

I have put together this article based on the most common question I get asked: Do my strings need changing?

Here are some tips I thought would be good to share:

Tip 1: Change Strings Regularly.

New strings instantly improve a guitar; improving tone, intonation and durability. I personally change strings on my guitars every 2 months or so, but this varies with each individual. If strings feel rougher, strings have lost their shine and tuning stability is not as good as it used to be, it is probably time for a new set. If a single string breaks, and the other strings are as stated above, it is time for a new set.

Tip 2: String Gauges.

You walk into a music shop and are bombarded with a million different string choices, it is very difficult to know which is right for you. Getting a set that that is drastically different can potentially cause other issues, like a higher action (String height from the neck of the instrument). To be safe here are some recommendations, to be used as a guide:

Squier, Fender and Ibanez, with tremolo system: Gauge 9-42

Epiphone, Gibson and Hardtail Guitars: Gauge 9-42 or 10-46

Acoustic Guitars: Gauge 11-52 or 12-53

Bass Guitars: Gauge 45-100

Tip 3: Winding.

I am often asked how many wraps around the tuning posts the strings should have. For optimum results around a standard tuning peg, on the E-A-D strings I would recommend 2 wraps. For the G-B-E strings I would recommend 2 or 3 wraps around the peg but if you end up with a couple more it is fine, this is a guide. I've known some guitar players use the entire string!

Tip 4: A Quick Clean.

This can often be overlooked, but in terms of long term care, this will help greatly. On a rosewood fingerboard (or similar darker wood) you can use a small amount of lemon oil on the fretboard which helps remove grime. On the body of the guitar use a Body polish for guitars like Jim Dunlop Formula No.65.

I get asked a lot if household furniture polish is okay to use but it is recommended industry wide to stay away, the composition of these have harmful elements.

I also recommend a polishing cloth designed for instruments. A household dust cloth has a dye which can transfer very easily to your guitar.

Restring of a guitar using D'addario NYXL for a student of BIMM Manchester
A PRS about to recieve new strings!

These are guides to help with some questions I get asked frequently. I am only a phone call or email away, my advice is free. If you require any further assistance I am here anytime.

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