Guitar Care

guita traveling case road travels adventure

5 Important Tips for Traveling With a Guitar

Traveling with a guitar by car is simple; even a gig bag will do if the guitar is not exposed to extreme heat or cold. Traveling with your guitar on a plane can be a much bigger hassle, and if it’s your first time traveling with your instrument via plane, there are a few important things that you should know, even before you purchase your plane tickets. Some airlines may make accommodations for traveling musicians, but others have strict rules about baggage. 1. Use a Case: A gig bag isn't suitable for traveling on an airplane. Luggage is often handled roughly when changing flights or coming down the conveyer belt. Pack accessories such as your capo, picks, & slides in another form of luggage so that they don't come loose in-transit. 2. Button Up: Make sure all of the clasps on the hard-shell case are closed tightly. If you are able to lock the guitar with keys, it is best to do so. Different airlines have different rules about locks on all luggage, so it’s always best to check with the airline first. 3. Carry-on: When checking in at the luggage counter, ask if you can bring the guitar with you as a carry-on. Some airlines do allow this. If it is not allowed, ask them to carry your guitar to the loading area as opposed to tossing it onto the conveyor belt. Also, it is always possible to buy a seat on the plane for your guitar if it is extremely fragile. This is an expensive option, but one to keep in mind. 4. Tag Your Bag: Many guitar cases look alike and you may not be the only musician on the plane! Put an identifying mark on your hard-shell case, so when you retrieve your luggage, you will easily be able to identify your guitar. 5. Stay Loose: Detune and loosen your strings before traveling. Often, TSA will reach inside of the guitar to check for contraband or other items, so before leaving for the airport, detune the guitar yourself. This lowers the possibility of damage when your guitar is checked. Safe travels and... Keep Rockin’!!!!   Guess I've Got That Old Traveling Bone by ©March 28, 2011 Mojave guitar cases by Derek K. Miller ©July 25, 2009
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picking a guitar case

How To Choose the Right Case for your Guitar

Having the right protective case for your guitar can add years to its lifespan and keep it looking newer for longer. With the proper care, a good guitar can last a lifetime, but most guitars won't hold up to major wear and tear. A well-fitting guitar case, selected to suit the needs of the player, is an ideal way to extend your playing enjoyment. Hard-shell cases are the ultimate in guitar protection. While they are commonly the most expensive types of cases, their durability makes them worth the added cost. These cases are made of a sturdy outer layer, which is lined with soft padding and scratch-resistant material. Closed securely with heavy-duty clips, hard-shell cases are ideal for traveling guitar players and those who transport their instrument frequently. These hard-shell cases vary in price, depending on the manufacturer. For example, a Fender hard-shell case retails for around $140.00, while a comparable off-brand hard-shell case can be found for under $70.00. Soft cases are commonly more affordable than a hard-shell case, but do not offer the same amount of protection for your beloved guitar. These cases are ideal for storing your guitar at home, or for light travel. Typically, soft cases come with straps and pockets, for holding music and accessories. They might be lightly padded, with a soft interior lining. A soft case, directly from the manufacturer of your guitar, could cost you around $50. However, aftermarket brands can be purchased for around $25. Determining the amount of protection you'll need for your guitar is the first step in deciding which type of case is right for you. If having a brand-matching case is important to you, you'll have to shop wisely or accept the additional cost. Aftermarket cases are a wise choice, but you'll want to be sure that it fit your guitar properly. For the musician on the go, who may travel by plane or train, getting a sturdy hard-shell case is definitely the way to go. Keep Rockin'!!! Flicker Photos: Guitar In a Guitar Case: Guitar Cases B&W:
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guitar humidity humidor humidifier rain

What You Need to Know About Managing Your Guitar’s Temperature & Humidity

Controlling the temperature and humidity around your guitar is vital to extending the instrument's  longevity. While this may not affect solid-body electric guitars that much, acoustic guitars and hollow body electric guitars can be seriously damaged by fluctuations in their environment.  Acoustic guitars are made from thin sheets of high-quality, natural wood. Just like other natural materials, wood responds to its environment by expanding and contracting. If you've ever noticed that the fit of a doorframe changes with the seasons, you'll understand why this could be dangerous for your guitar. Exposure to too much humidity and heat might over time will cause the wood in a guitar to warp, ultimately changing the sound or producing undesirable hums and buzzes. Adversely, conditions that are too dry or too cold might cause the wood to contract and cause cracks. The ideal conditions for most acoustic and hollow body electric guitars are between 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit and 40% - 50% humidity. If you look closely, you'll notice that in virtually every guitar store, you'll find a humidifier and electric heater which can be adjusted to keep the store's environment stable. Sure you could create your own temperature controlled storage room to avoid long-term damage from improper exposure, but it probably isn't realistic or necessary. If you don't want to install your own storage room like the ones in major music stores, you can to purchase a humidity and temperature gage instead. This will give you the ability to monitor your guitar's environment and, if you notice that the conditions are varying to a point that can damage the guitar, you'll know to simply move them to a better spot.    If you know that you will be bringing your guitar into undesirable and/or extreme conditions (like the cargo hull of an airplane), make sure to remove most of the tension from the strings and store your guitar in a hard case. Once you've returned the guitar to a proper environment, you can slowly tighten the strings back to full tension and play away. While it's probably not something you are going to think about constantly, keeping your guitar in a happy and safe place will keep it in great condition for much longer. While a little heat or humidity isn't going to break your guitar right away, our biggest piece of advice is to make sure that the place you keep your guitar most often is one with as little fluctuation in condition as possible.  Keep Rockin'!!! Back View of Tanglewood Steel String Guitar Opened Up to Show Construction from Flicker by Domanic's Pics. Taken on Aug 6, 2008
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5 Tips to Help Keep Your Guitar Clean

Sure you might be into the grunge look, but if you want to keep your guitar sounding great for a long time it is important to keep it clean!  Taking good care of your guitar is not only important because it keeps the instrument looking nice but also because it will help to stop any corrosion that will effect your guitar's sound. Here are the five most important things that everyone should know about guitar care: 1. Polish Your Guitar's Body: You should polish down your guitar's body often (IE: after every time you play). You can use any clear non-abrasive guitar cleaning spray ($5/bottle). That said, you should never use household cleaners, as they will erode the guitar's polish. To avoid scratching your guitar’s finish, it is best to use a microfiber cloth. This and a little spritz of cleaning spray will remove the dust and any smudges left on your guitar by your arms & hands. 2. Wipe Down Your Strings: In addition to wiping down your guitar's body, you should also wipe down your strings after each play. Cleaning your strings will remove the oil left by your fingers and will help to keep them sounding fresh. You should use a microfiber cloth to wipe down your strings just like you did for the body of the guitar. We don't recommend any string cleaning products, like "Finger Ease", because they tend to gum up the fret board.  3. Clean Your Fretboard: To clean the fingerboard, use a small amount of lemon polish and a microfiber cloth. You only need to do this every once in a while (IE: when you change your strings). Instead of trying to work the microfiber cloth under the strings, remove each string that you that hovers over the part of the fretboard that you are polishing. Please remember, that it's never a good idea to remove all of the strings at once because when your remove all the tension from the guitar's neck, it may bend out of shape. Only take one or two strings off your guitar at a time.  4. Feed Your Guitar:  Due to the sensitive and porous nature of wood, climate changes, erratic temperature, and humidity can effect how your guitar plays.  While you can't control the weather, you will want to keep your guitar "comfortable" by not allowing it to get too hot or cold. Also try to keep your guitar in a room that is not overly humid (IE: between 40-60% humidity). If you live in high altitude or an arid environment, running a humidifier where your guitar is stored may be a good idea.   5. Keep it Safe!: It’s always a good idea to keep your guitar protected in a case. Cases reduce the impact the environment has on your guitar and stops it from picking up dirty when you travel. Guitar case prices range from $20 - 200 dollars and offer a wide range of protection for your instrument. You don't have to spend a ton to keep your guitar protected. While it won’t keep your guitar clean, the most important thing you can do is to take care of your guitar is to play it often! Regular practice sessions with your guitar will help develop the instruments tone and allow you to recognize when it is in need of maintenance. If you notice something is wrong, take your guitar to a professional guitar technician for repairs. Until you hear something buzzing… Keep Rockin’!
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why do I keep breaking my guitar strings

HELP… Why Do I Keep Breaking Guitar Strings?!?

There are several reasons why guitar strings break. It is important to recognize exactly where the strings are typically breaking, so you can get to the root of the problem and keep it from happening again. There are four common types of breaks: bridge breaks, mid-neck breaks, nut breaks, ball end breaks. Bridge Breaks: A bridge break can occur when the saddle is too sharp and the string stretches over it, causing the sharp edge to dig into the string, thus causing it to break. It is important to insure the saddle does not have a sharp edge and if it does, you will want to have it smoothed out. Lubrication can also be applied to the strings at the pressure point to help insure it stretches smoothly over the saddle, which will keep the string from breaking. Mid-Neck Break: If your strings are breaking mid-neck, you’ll want to have your frets checked. Make sure the frets are not bad or worn since this is a common occurrence that causes many guitar players to continue to break their strings. If the fret is bad or damaged in any way it will need to be replaced. If the fret is just abrasive, it can be polished to smooth it out or file and bevel the fret edges. Nut Break: It’s a rare occurrence for the string to break at the nut. Most are made of bone, composite, or plastic that will not cause the string to break. However, if the nut is metal it can cause the string to snap if it has a rough edge. It can be filed down, but not excessively or you will change the height of the strings. Ball Break: Rarely the ball end will break on a string. This is simply due to how the string was manufactured and may have received too much curve, causing wear on this sensitive part of the string. It’s important to remember that everyone breaks guitar strings from time to time. If your strings are very old they are more likely to break, so try to change your strings on a regular basis (1-3 months depending on how much you play). If you have questions on how to properly change strings, watch our videos:  How to Change Strings on an Acoustic Guitar | Electric Guitar | Nylon String Guitar. Keep Rockin'!!!  
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Broken Guitar

How Not to Play Guitar by Andy Mckee [VIDEO]

Ok, so maybe the picture here is a little misleading. Truthfully, Andy McKee's Drifting is an amazing piece of music and a great example of how the guitar can both do many different things that sound cool. That said, there are upside-down and backward hands flying everywhere in this video. This is defiantly not a StumSchool student, but we still like him!  Keep Rockin'!
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