As much as playing the guitar is fun, there are a few maintenance practices that every guitar owner needs to know. One such practice is cleaning guitar strings and the fretboard. While it seems unlikely, guitar strings can invisibly get dirty and negatively impact the quality of music as well as the longevity of this powerful instrument. For this reason, the strings need to be kept in a pristine condition to avoid the need to change them from time to time and maintain a quality of sound. Cleaning a guitar is not a difficult task as it can involve the use of simple household items such as lemon oil and a damp washcloth when it comes to cleaning the fretboard. Although most people switch out guitar strings once per month, cleaning is essential, especially if you want to use them for an extended period.
How Do You Clean the Strings?
If you are not considering switching your strings anytime soon, it is imperative to clean them as this not only makes your guitar sound better but also last longer. A simple cleaning can entail the use of a wet cloth to eliminate dead skin and gunk, but if you want some thorough cleaning, you should opt for more advanced cleaning solutions.
Can You Use Rubbing Alcohol?
While several forums recommend the use of alcohol when cleaning guitar strings, it should be avoided at all costs since it may bring other detrimental effects to your instrument. When rubbing alcohol lands on the guitar’s neck, it can suck moisture from the piece of wood used to make the guitar, thereby making it prone to damage and breakage. And since you are looking for a way to increase the life span of this instrument, using alcohol to clean it will reduce its longevity. Therefore, it is not a great idea!
What Is the Best Solution?
If you want to get rid of oils, dirt, and grime off the guitar’s strings, it is crucial that you utilize cleaners that are tailor-made for this purpose.Our top choice is the Stringjoy’s Natural Guitar String Conditioner. Reputedly said to be non-toxic, eco-safe and biodegradable, the Stringjoy’s Natural Guitar String Conditioner helps to restore the allure and luster of the strings, leaving them clean and smooth than ever. Their site also indicates that this cleaner boasts organic rust inhibitors made from cold-pressed cranberries and soy-based formulas.
What about the Fretboard?
Besides the strings, the fretboard also needs to be cleaned appropriately. It’s one of the dirtiest parts of the guitar as it comes to contact with your body the most.Although it is a thin strip of wood, the fretboard is an integral part of the guitar. And if it is not thoroughly cleaned, it can be gross and make the notes to sound really awful.
How To Clean The Fretboard
As a guitar player, your fingers are glued on the fretboard most of the time. Therefore, this part accumulates a lot of sweat, oil, and dead skin. And since the grip on this part is always tight, the dirt, sweat, and gunk can be challenging to take off. However, you don’t have to worry as there are excellent cleaners in the market designed purposely for this kind of work. One thing you need to keep in mind is that you can only clean the fingerboard after detaching all the strings. You can use lemon oil to get rid of dirt from this part or leverage outstanding products such as the Guitar Fingerboard Conditioning Kit from Dunlop which has been tried, tested and proven to remove all gunk and dirt. This kit boasts an array of items which are used in the fretboard cleaning process. They include a polishing cloth, a cleaning solution, and conditioner oil to apply after cleaning.
You Can Also Use Ultra-Fine Steel Wool
Another alternative to cleaning your guitar’s fretboard is using steel wool.However, you need to use small-grained steel wool to make sure that you don’t scratch the surface (especially if it is super old). Ultra-fine steel wool is ideal for maple-wood fretboards that don’t have a finishing coat. If your guitar has a finish, you should stick to using a cloth and some warm water to avoid further damage. Make it a habit to do these simple maintenance practices as they are the fastest, cheapest, and easiest things to do.