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Electric Guitar Manual

How to Clean a Guitar and Hydrate Fingerboard

LEARN in this Tutorial, How to Clean and Moisturize the Guitar, and about Cleaning the Strings of the Electric Guitar, and the Different Hydration and Cleaning Products.

How to Clean a Maple Fretboard

Guitars with varnished Maple Fingerboard are the easiest to maintain because they do not require any type of hydration (oils). So we can clean the entire guitar (neck and body) with a cloth (microfiber if possible) that is dry or slightly moistened with water only. But we would immediately have to use a dry cloth to remove moisture from the instrument.

Unfinished maple neck

We can find necks with unvarnished Maple Fingerboard, although they are rare. This fingerboard would be more complex to maintain, as it absorbs dirt and sweat like a sponge.

On the other hand, the feel of unvarnished wood is appreciated by many guitarists, despite the problem of staining. Although for many the stains are considered a plus, since they give the neck a Vintage touch.

Carnauba Wax is what is usually applied to these fingerboards. This wax will seal the pores of the wood, and prevents the fingerboard from absorbing as much dirt.

woods on the guitar neck

How to Moisturize the Rosewood Fingerboard

For Rosewood Fingerboards and also for Ebony Fingerboards, Lemon Oil is used both for hydration and cleaning. To apply the oil, moisten a little product on a cotton pad and spread it evenly (if the fingerboard had excess dirt, we would have to remove it before applying the oil).

How to Moisturize the Rosewood Fingerboard

We would do this treatment to the Fingerboard depending on its state of dryness. We apply if we see the fretboard too matte, and we omit its application if the fretboard has a slight shine.

But generally applying lemon oil two or three times a year is more than enough.

How to Clean Guitar Hardware

For the Hardware, with a microfiber cloth and an ear swab for narrow areas, we can keep the chrome in perfect condition. This way we will free the metal parts from any remains that could retain moisture, and we will prevent corrosion.

How to Clean Guitar Hardware

The Les Paul style bridges (Tune-o-matic) are assembled with loose parts, and can be disassembled for easier cleaning (image top right). But we have to be careful when we remove all the strings from the guitar, so as not to end up knocking any part of the bridge against the floor.

In short, we can have our guitar (electric, acoustic or Spanish) perfect, cleaning it regularly, simply using a soft cloth and without adding any type of product. We moisten the cloth if necessary only with water and dry afterwards.

How to Clean Guitar Strings

The best way to increase the life of a set of strings and Fret Crowning is to keep the strings clean.

The first thing to keep in mind would be not to dirty the strings. So before starting to play, we would have to wash our hands (especially in summer) to remove dirt, grease or sweat.

Once the session is over, we will have to clean the strings with a string cleaner. We can also use a microfiber cloth, if possible, and in the process we clean the entire guitar without fear that a rough cloth or kitchen paper could cause scratches or wear on the lacquer of our guitar.

How to Clean Guitar Strings

Before playing we can also lubricate the strings with the cleaner (image on the right) to have a smooth glide of the fingers.

Guitar Maintenance and Setup