There is no better expert for guitar care than the manufacturers themselves. And, for those of us in the Northern hemisphere, the Winter months can wreak havoc on wood - which means on our precious guitars.
The folks over at Hagstrom Guitars posted on their Facebook page a two part winter guitar care guide for not just Hagstrom, but all applicable wood/materials instruments. We found their information incredibly helpful and thought we would put together in one spot for you:
"As we try to make the best of the weather by keeping our homesteads warm while we pear out into the Nordic tundra from within our warm dwellings, there is also something else going on with our prized possessions that are also exposed to the heat inside of our homes... Our musical instruments.
- Strings lay closer to the fretboard, necks become back bowed (suddenly fretted 1st fret notes sound like a buzz saw), sharper fret ends, are a few of the most common signs that the humidity level is too dry.
- More extreme signs of low humidity levels over longer periods of time might show such issues as:
- Store your instrument in a hard case when not in use – Consider purchasing an “In-Case humidifier” to maintain moisture levels, and REMEMBER to keep it moist. Just by owning an “In-Case humidifier” and not keeping this moist and under close tabs, will NOT protect your instrument from the dry air. It’s ideal to check it once a week, and remoisten as required.
- Does your house have a basement? – Moisture levels in basements are generally higher than the rest of the house, where if stored in a heated basement this is a more ideal environment for your instrument.
- Use a Hydrometer – These come in all shapes and sizes (both digital and analog), where you can keep a closer eye on the humidity level in your home. These can also be placed in your guitar case, which is an essential for the proper storage of your instrument.
- Use a humidifier – Somewhat pricier compared to a incase humidifier, these add moisture to your home and help maintain a consistent humidity level. It’s better for your skin (say goodbye to chapped hands and lips), better for your health, wood furniture, and will even help reduce costs of heating your home (humid air tends to keep a more consistent temperature). The benefits are many, where fellow family members will also thank you.
- When was the last time that you oiled your fretboard? – Oiling your fretboard will help to directly inject moisture levels into your fretboard. This will protect the instrument from dry cracks, sharp fret ends, etc. In more extreme cases, binding can start releasing from the fretboard and fret inlays can suddenly fall out. Keep your fretboard oiled and re-apply once every six months."
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