Vintage guitars are the embodiment of beauty — both physical and musical. If you are lucky enough to have one or more of these beautiful instruments in your possession, then you want to take great care of it. Here are some common mistakes to avoid in your care.
Mistake #1: Storing the guitar in a humid home.
In many homes, humidity levels fluctuate quite significantly throughout the year. This is not good for your older guitar. When the air is moist, the wood will absorb moisture and swell, and when it is dry, the wood will release water and contract. This can lead to cracking and bowing over time.
If you plan on storing your guitar at home, make sure you invest in a humidifier, dehumidifier, and a humidistat. The humidistat will tell you your home's humidity level at any time. The humidifier will add moisture when needed, and the dehumidifier will take it away as needed. Aim to keep the indoor humidity level between 45 and 55%. If you cannot maintain these levels in your home, consider keeping your guitar in a climate-controlled storage facility instead.
Mistake #2: Using Harsh Cleaners
Especially if the vintage guitar is dirty when you buy it, you may consider giving it a good cleaning with a powerful cleaning solution. But this will probably do more harm than good. The finishes on many older guitars are pretty delicate, and a harsh cleaner that contains ammonia or a textured component will probably remove or weaken the finish. Instead, just wipe the guitar's surface with a cloth dipped in warm water. You can use a little dish soap if needed, but nothing stronger. Dry the guitar off with a soft cloth after wiping it.
Mistake #3: Changing the Strings Without Consulting a Professional
On newer guitars, you can generally change the strings if you prefer something different. But with older vintage guitars, you need to be really careful about the strings. The guitar was probably made with a certain style of string in mind, and a stronger string could put too much pressure on the neck, leading to warping. Consult a professional before changing the strings — preferably someone who works with vintage guitars regularly.
Owning a vintage guitar is an honor, and one that should not be taken lightly. Keep the mistakes above in mind as you care for your guitar, and it should remain beautiful for years to come. For more information, reach out to a company like Cowboy Surfer.