Picture of Guitar Maintenance; The Complete Guide
So now that you have gone out and bought your first guitar (or fifth if you're like me) you need to know how to properly maintain it. This is a colloection of what I have learned from my grandpa, what I have figured out myself, and what I have seen online.
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Step 1: The First Clean Up

Picture of The First Clean Up
If you bought your guitar new or used, you are going to want to do this first. These next few steps will make your guitar look better, feel better, and play better.

Step 2: Remove The Strings

Picture of Remove The Strings
The first thing that you should do as soon as you get home is change out the strings on your guitar. Most guitars that you can buy at stores come pre-strung, or with strings. Buy a good set of strings, as the pre packaged sets are never good sounding. A string unwinder is good for this task, but it is not necessary. Unwind the tuning peg until the string is very loose. Take the string out of the tuning machine's top part. Then pull the string out of the bridge, completely removing it from the guitar. Set it aside for now (if you plan on using it in a later project), or throw it away. Do this for all six of the strings. Be careful not to let the strings slide over the guitar's finish, as it may scrach the guitar. The pictures below are of my Fender Squier Affinity Series Telecaster and my Grenada that was given to me by my uncle before he passed away. To take the string off of an acoustic guitar with the pegs in the bridge, loosen the string, then remove it from the tuning machine. Pull out the peg with piers, but be gentle. The pegs dent very easily. Some of guitars with these pegs have pegs that are easy to pull out, so you can just do it with your hand.
golfbuggy10 months ago

Hey great article. I'm a pro guitarist and have and to learn all this stuff over the years. It pays to look after you're equipment. I ready an article on the same subject here that has a few more tips on cleaning you instrument you might like to read: http://www.functioncentral.co.uk/blog/2014/09/eigh...

Thanks for the info and happy music making!

noingwhat3 years ago
This guy is correct actually. The truss rod does not adjust the action, the nut and the bridge are the only two things that do that. The truss rod is only (supposed) to adjust the curvature of the neck, which is typically going to be almost perfectly flat, but most people will play with a slight forward bow. You never EVER want a back bow though, as this will cause strings to buzz, and quite possible even for them to go dead when played on certain frets.
Robot Lover3 years ago
I am rebuilding a half sized strat and I can't seem to get this one question answered. You seem to be good with guitars so maybe you can answer it. Is a half sized stratocaster's pickguard the same size as a full sized strat's pickguard? Thanks! Anyway, good instructable!
If you have the guitar already you can measure/sketch the size of the pickguard you want by using a strat image template and adjusting the size so that it leaves about 1cm from the edge of the pickguard to the edge of the body. You can always buy pickguard blanks from a site like www.warmoth.com and cut them to size. It's an easy material to work with.
Thanks! I kinda planned on doing that if the one I'm ordering doesn't fit. .
freeza36 (author)  Robot Lover3 years ago
by half size, do you mean the "junior" models that sell new for $100?
it's kinda like that. I don't think it's a child sized one though. I think it's a little bigger than the child sized ones.
freeza36 (author)  Robot Lover3 years ago
is it a Fender brand guitar?
It's a johnson strat.
freeza36 (author)  Robot Lover3 years ago
Yeah i dont know. Strat (stratocaster) is a registered trademark of fender..... I have heard of johnsons before.... I am going to go with no, the pickguard will be smaller on that than on a normal size guitar
freeza36 (author)  Robot Lover3 years ago
is it a starcaster?
genghistron3 years ago
Why are you using acoustic guitar strings on an electric guitar?
freeza36 (author)  genghistron3 years ago
im not. I use the same brand for both, but I do not have any d'ardio (or whatever) electric strings at the moment
genghistron3 years ago
Truss rods adjust the amount of relief or curvature of the neck. The action, or string height above the frets, is a product of the bridge and nut height and the relief or bow of the neck.
freeza36 (author) 3 years ago
so this got featured... wow