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What Is Your Maintenance Routine, and how often?


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Just curious as to how others with multiple guitars handle this chore.


It seems that some people NEVER do anything, and seem to get by with few problems. I know they will eventually do damage to their equipment, but look at the time they save. =D>


I spend about 4 hours on my 6 working guitars every month.


I look for corrosion on any metal, and replace strings at this time, if needed. I don't gig anymore, so they stay on until they show obvious wear, or lose their tone. Anyone with playing experience can hear the dead ones.


I inspect for cracks in the finish around any area that has stress.


I check for loose nuts and screws, and check batteries at this time also.


Each gets a quick check of the action with a feeler gauge after the strings are cleaned.


Any scratchy pots get a cleaning with electronics spray cleaner.


I lemon oil the fret boards, as needed. Not every month. It seems to depend on how much you play the guitar, and the local climate.


Each gets a good cleaning after all the handling.


I clean the inside of the cases pretty regularly also. A piece of crud in there can ruin your day, when you take the guitar out and notice a scuff in the finish.


Please share your routine here, and maybe offer advice or share short cuts.

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I change strings after 3/4 gigs. It's more of a trust thing. Intonation doesn't change because I stay with 10's on the ES-339. Wipe it down before, after, ect. Not big into fretboard oil, it's gets mine, and some fingerease.


My last Lester was a '72 Recording, and it never needed a trussrod adjustment and it gigged for 14 years.


My previous #1 was a '91 tele that needed a touchup on the truss rod 1 time in about 3/4 years of gigging.


My new ES-339 came perfect from Memphis. Still good after 2/3 months. This guitar is the bomb.


Best of luck.



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Drench in sweat, spit on, smear with blood and spill whiskey on guitars: daily.


Restring with Ernie Ball 10s: typically, every two or three weeks UNLESS I'm playing a gig (new set each time) or doing a session (once at the beginning, and as needed throughout).


Wipe down with Dunlop 65: when I just can't stand the grime anymore.


Don't get me wrong...I adore my guitars, but they're tools and they each get used extensively. I don't have a budget to have "babied" guitars that don't get rigorously played. I also don't really like the look of brand new guitars. Any issues relating to the performance of my guitar are addressed as needed, anything cosmetic takes the back-burner.

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I just complain when my hollow archtop loses its tuning when the temps/air pressure/humidity changes. Otherwise when the strings sound dead, I change 'em.


I do clean the box up a bit if I slobber on it or drop an ash on the neck, but otherwise... not really much. I've never had to dink with much in the way of refixing a guitar otherwise after it's once more or less set up to what I do.

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Constantly checking for cracks in the finish would drive me nuts! If it happens it happens.


I just play them, wipe them down and put them in their case. When the strings feel old, I replace them and oil the board, if needed. Check the neck and I'm good to go. If the neck feels sticky, I sometimes use Gibson pump polish, but usually just a dry cloth...the VOS guitars got a dose of Virtuoso, but that's it.


I do keep a record of everything I do. It's easy to lose track...

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I would like to add a warning on this subject, for anyone that is not savvy on the subject.




A friend of mine RUINED a '73 LP with that stuff. It was a very light color, perhaps called natural. (don't recall)

I tried to warn him, when he first started putting it on his guitars, that it was a scratch cover stain, but he thought it was a good preservative.


Eventually, it seeped through all the little cracks in the laquer, and made the guitar look like a road map.


In short, never use any thin liquid to polish or clean the finish. You'll be sorry.

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GHS Fast Fret. I use it before/during/after I even so much as touch a guitar. Keeps strings, frets, & board feeling like a dream. It prolongs string life to an insane degree.


I guess my routine is Fast Fret, polish when I feel like it, change strings when they sound dead (which isn't too often), and I check intonation etc. every time I play and adjust that kind of thing on the spot.

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Twice a year, april/may and October/November, when the weather really changes here in Canada. I usually change all the strings, set intonation and truss rod if required, and clean. I go over it all with attention to detail. Basically a tune-up twice a year. What ever happens in between - even that requires repair, I don't do until then, that's the only time... I always wipe my prize down after play, but not the others.

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