HOW TO CARE FOR Your Guitar HOW TO CARE FOR Your Guitar W ith proper care your guitar will afford you many years of pleasure. However, since it is a wooden instrument, it is much more vulnerable to wear and damage than some other instruments. Here are a few suggestions to help you care for your guitar. T emperature and Humidity: Other than neglect or outright abuse, temperature and humidity are your guitar’s worst enemies. To phrase it simply, avoid all extremes and sudden changes in temperature and humidity. Room temperature of 68-75 degrees and a relative humidity of 35% to 45% are best. It’s a fact that making music “exercises” the whole brain and mind, contributing to increased performance in math, science and reading. Music study helps children understand symbols, exercise problem-solving and improve their motor proficiency. W hen the relative humidity is extremely high the wood in your guitar will swell and the instrument may suffer a loss of resonance. An extremely high temperature coupled with high humidity may soften the glue and cause the joints to separate. During periods of extremely low humidity the wood in your guitar will dry out and may crack. Also, bringing your guitar through a rapid temperature change from cold to warm may cause the lacquer to crack. S torage: A good case is your guitar’s first line of defense. Your guitar belongs in its case whenever it’s not being played. When stored outside the case it’s entirely too easy for your instrument to be damaged. Store your guitar away from drafts and radiators or other heat sources as they have a tendency to dry it out. Never store your guitar in a car as it may be subjected to great temperature extremes. When bringing your guitar inside from freezing temperatures, allow it to warm up to room temperature while still in its case. When traveling, get the heaviest, most durable case you can afford. If you travel by air, try to carry your guitar on the plane instead of checking it with your regular baggage. H umidifiers: Your acoustic guitar’s second line of defense is a guitar humidifier. If your instrument is built of solid woods, the humidifier you should use is the type that fits inside the guitar case. Simply soak it in water and place it near your guitar. As the moisture evaporates it will be asorbed by the guitar. S traps: Because of the weight of an electric guitar we strongly recommend the use of a strap while performing or practicing. Even while seated, a high quality strap will help you balance and maintain control of your guitar. A guitar is cumbersome enough and the extra mass of an electric guitar just compounds the problem. A djustable bridges and tremolos: The bridge on your electric guitar is designed to adjust two different ways. First, string height can be adjusted for ease of playing. Second, the intonation of each string can be adjusted so that it will play in tune all the way up the fingerboard. These adjustments are made at the factory, but further adjustments may be necessary. EXPLODED DRAWING OF ELECTRIC GUITAR Tuning Key Assembly Strap Button String Guide Assembly Guitar Body Fingerboard Pickup Frets T remolo bridges were once simple, spring-loaded devices. Most are still springloaded, but in addition to the height and intonation adjustments most current tremolo bridges offer bridgemounted fine tuners and string locking devices near the nut and on the bridge as well. These bridges are extremely complicated. All bridge adjustments should be made by a qualified guitar repair person. In addition, care should be taken not to strip the threads when installing a tremolo arm. Pick Guard Guitar Neck Pickup Selector Switch Bridge Assembly Input Jack Tremolo Arm Volume Knob Tone Knobs Truss Rod Adjusting Nut Music can positively influence a child’s language, social and emotional maturation. And music offers children a positive, creative, life-long means of self-expression. On top of that – making music is fun! E lectronics: Pick-up heights are adjusted at the factory but may need to be altered occasionally. Using the adjustment screws on either side of the pick-ups, they can be raised to increase their volume or lowered to keep them from interfering with string vibration. If your pick-up selector switch develops static, moving the switch rapidly back and forth through all the positions a few times will usually clean the contacts. If not, have the contacts professionally cleaned. The volume and tone controls may loosen after a time. Continuously turning the knob in one direction will damage the electrical connections. Have a reputable repair person repair your controls. Broken output jacks can be avoided by looping the guitar cable between the guitar and strap at the point where the strap attaches at the end pin. C leaning: The most important advice to remember about cleaning is to wipe your guitar thoroughly with an absorbent cloth after each playing session. Ocassionally, you’ll need to clean using a damp cloth which has been wrung almost dry. Finish by wiping with a dry cloth. “When all other things pass away, music and art are still the things that are remembered. Music is one of the things like the ability to laugh that has kept mankind going for all of these thousands of years.” – Charles M. Schultz Polishing need not be done more than three or four times a year. When you do polish or wax, use a soft cloth and a special guitar polish. Please aviod using household cleaning agents as the solvents and chemicals used in them could damage your guitar’s finish. Synthetic guitar straps can also damage your guitar’s finish when left in contact with the guitar. C hanging strings: One of the nicest things you can do for your guitar is to change strings frequently. New strings make your guitar sound better and a guitar that sounds better is more fun to play. Don’t wait for your strings to break before you change them because they’ll wear out long before they break. Constant stretching, natural acids from the moisture in your hands and hard playing can wear out a set of strings in a few days or weeks. Early signs of wear include flat, shiny spots where the wound strings intersect the frets, dirty or corroded strings, and a dull, lifeless sound. The entire set should be changed one string at a time in order to keep constant tension on the neck and bridge. Replace the strings with the same type the guitar originally came equipped with. Never replace nylon strings with steel strings or steel with nylon. Once the strings have been changed, six-string guitars should be tuned to concert pitch (A-440) and 12-string guitars one whole step lower. For any other questions on guitar care, or for accessories you may need to care for your guitar, call or visit the Schmitt’s nearest you.
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