Caring for your guitar

Now that  you’ve purchased your new Flindall Guitars instrument, it’s important to look after your guitar so that it continues to give you years of enjoyment.   Your new guitar is a highly crafted instrument built solely using wood, glue and lacquer, all of which require maintenance in order to keep your guitar in tip-top shape.  None of the routine maintenance is difficult, but all are essential in maintaining your guitar.     Let’s look at the following topics to keep your guitar in shape :

1.  Temperature & Humidty
2.  Storage
3.  Cleaning the body of your guitar
4.  Cleaning the fretboard
5.  Tightening neck mortise-tenon bolts
 
Temperature and Humidity

Temp-HumidThe two single most important aspects of guitar maintenance is maintaining the temperature and humidity of your guitar’s surroundings.   Your guitar is built using thin woods which is easily effected by changes in temperature and humidity.   Large swings in either of these can lead to severe structural damage to your guitar.

Strive for a target temperature for your guitar’s surroundings between 72-77 degrees.  Avoid large, quick temperature swings as this can result in lacquer checking – small cracks across the finish of your guitar.  This is timely and expensive to repair.   Never leave your guitar in a vehicle for extended periods of time during the winter and summer months as these temperature extremes can permanently damage your guitar.  If you’re travelling during these times of the year, ensure to use a case, and upon bringing the guitar back inside, leave the guitar in it’s case for a few hours to allow the guitar to slowly equalize with it’s new surroundings.

Always strive for a humidity level of 45 – 55%.  All woods will absorb and dissipate water from the air and that includes the wood in your guitar.   Your guitar was built in a temperature and humidity controlled shop where our relative humidity level is kept between 45-50%.  This is your guitar’s equilibrium state when it was built.  Diverting from this temperature and humidity range will cause changes in you guitar, usually unwanted.  Remember, guitar body woods are thin and coated on one side with lacquer.  This means your guitar will absorb water quickly and not uniformly – only one side of the guitar, the interior, will absorb water quickly.  This will cause the unfinished side of the guitar to swell and the outside to remain constant.   Cracks in the finish, as well as structural failure, can result.

Storage

Consideration needs to be taken on where you plan on storing your guitar while you’re not playing it.  If you plan on displaying your guitar on a wall, ensure either the room or your home is properly humidified.  Temperature is typically easier to maintain in a room, but ensuring proper humidity can be more difficult to achieve.   It’s important to purchase a quality  hygrometer to measure the humidity in the room.   It’s also preferred to hang your guitar on an inside wall, away from a window.   Storing your guitar in a case is the optimal solution on where to store your guitar while not playing it.  It’s far easier to maintain temperature and humidity in a small space such as your guitar case.  Again, a hygrometer in your case is important to measure your case humidity.  While storing your guitar in a case, it’s wise to purchase a sound hole humidifier to maintain the humidity in the case.

We have tested numerous types of sound hole humidifiers and have found two that work exceptionally well and that we highly recommend : 1) the Planet Waves Humidipak system and 2) the B-Band BHS-101 Digital Hygrometer & Humidifier System.

The Planet Waves Humidipak system is truly a hands free, two way humidity control system for your guitar.   The system is comprised of 3 Humidipaks and two pouches – one for your headstock and one for your soundhole.  The humidipak system maintains a humidity level of 45-50% by automatically removing or adding moisture to the air.  We highly recommend this system for those that prefer to store their guitar in a case.

The B-Band BHS-101 Digital Hygrometer & Humidifier system is a great product for those that store their guitar in a case or like to display their guitars on a wall.   This system includes your typical humidifying sponge, however the sponge is connected to a sound hole cover that provides a digital readout of both your guitars temperature and humidity – for both inside and outside your guitar.  A colour coded light on the sound hole cover will also give you a visual indication as to the conditions inside your guitar – no colour – all is well, blue light – too much moisture and a red light – too dry.  This product does require periodic wetting of the sponge versus the handsfree Humidipak system.

Cleaning the Body Of Your Guitar 

Periodically clean the body of your guitar with a soft, warm, damp cloth using water only.   Over time, contaminants will build up on your guitar and it’s important to remove these contaminants before they can harm your guitar finish.  The finish on your guitar is a high-quality nitrocellulose lacquer that can be easily marred by cleaning products that contain solvents such as alcohol or silicone.   Gently wiping down the surface of your guitar will remove most contaminants.  Avoid any type of scrubbing action on your guitar as this will scratch your finish.   After playing your guitar, and before putting your guitar away, it’s also important to wipe your guitar down with a soft, dry cloth to remove any perspiration from your arms or body.

Cleaning Your Fretboard

Clean your guitarGenerally, even with a routinely played guitar, you’ll only need to clean your fretboard twice a year, but it’s good practice to inspect your fretboard with every string change.  Look for checks and cracks in the wood, as well as wood that appears to be dried out.    Your fretboard was initially built with a high quality fretboard oil, which helps prevent drying out of the unfinished wood as well as bringing out the beautiful luster of your fretboard wood.    Natural oils from your fingers will build up over time, and this can be removed with a soft damp (almost dry) cloth.  After every cleaning, reapply a quality fretboard oil to the fingerboard, following the directions on the bottle.

Tightening Your neck mortise-tenon bolts

Currently, all Flindall Guitar instruments are constructed using a mortise and tenon neck to body attachment.   If your guitar is allowed to sit in an improperly humidified room, car etc, there is the remote possibility that the neck joint can become loose as the neck block wood shrinks.  This is not covered under warranty.  We suggest that each time you change the strings on your guitar, check to ensure the neck bolts are still snug.  The neck bolts can be accessed through the sound hole and can be tightened with a standard allan wrench.  Hand tighten these bolts only – do not use an electric drill to tighten.