Here’s a great video on how to clean your guitar from Jason Becker. He is a former student of mine from years ago and he toured with David Lee Roth for a while in the late 80s and early 90s. Before that he was the lead guitarist for the band Cacophony with Marty Friedman, who would later join Megadeth. And if you’ve never heard Jason play he has been stricken with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) since 1990. He can no longer play or even speak but he still composes music using his eyes to move a computer cursor. Here is an article about him and here is another one.
Here’s what Jason says: “I wipe everything down with a terry cloth towel after every playing session, and I give it a complete cleaning once a week with lemon oil, polish, and cleaning cloths.”
Hi, my name is Jason Becker and I have been playing guitar for over 25 years.
Over the years I have learned some things about guitars that I would like to share with you.
If you take good care of your guitar, it will last you a very long time.
If you have a brand new guitar, there are a few things you should do to get it ready to play.
First, make sure the strings are not old or rusty. New strings sound better and they stay in tune better too. Old strings can cause fret buzz and other problems. After you put new strings on, let your guitar sit overnight so that the tension of the strings can settle down and stretch out a bit (do not play before this).
The next thing to do is to clean the fretboard with some lemon oil and steel wool. This will make the fretboard smooth and help prevent rust from forming in between the frets. The steel wool cleans up any dirt or grime on the fretboard as well. If you do this once every 2-3 months, your neck will be in great shape for years to come!
I wanted to take a moment and share my guitar cleaning routine with you. I’ve been through a lot of different rags, polishes, picks, strings, and tuners over the years and I’ve found what works for me.
I always start by removing the strings from my guitar. Next I use some wood cleaner on the body. This will remove any build up from your hands, straps, etc. Then using a dry cloth, I wipe off all of the polish residue.
Then I use some string cleaner on the neck. Don’t forget to clean the frets too! Finish up by wiping off any excess polish with a soft dry cloth.
Now that you have a clean guitar you can install fresh strings! My favorite brand of strings are Ernie Ball Super Slinky 9’s or 10’s depending on how thick I want them.
After you install your strings you will want to do your final tuning. For this, I use Korg tuners that clip right onto your headstock or stand alone tuners that fit in my guitar case for when I travel. They are great for changing tunings on stage as well!
All done! Now go play!
If you play guitar, you need to clean your fretboard!
Your fretboard is the most contaminated part of your instrument, as all of the grease and gunk from your hands gets absorbed into the wood. This can make your strings hard to press down and also lead to cracks in the wood (which will cost you a lot of money).
I’ve seen lots of great guitarists with nasty looking fingerboards because they do not know how to properly clean it. So I asked my friend, master guitar tech Dave Pomeroy, for some pointers on a good cleaning routine. Here’s what he said:
“To clean my guitars I use a product called Dunlop Lemon Oil. I’ve tried other products and this one works the best. It cleans, moisturizes and protects! Apply it liberally every two months or so.”
I always clean my guitar after playing. I use a soft cotton cloth and wipe off the strings, fingerboard and body. If the strings are really dirty, I might dip the cloth in some kerosene (camp stove fuel). It works great!
I also take off my strings and wipe them down with lighter fluid and then re-oil them with 3-in-One oil. They sound great and last much longer when I do this.
Also, if I am taking a long break from playing, I will lightly spray the fingerboard with WD-40 to keep it from getting dry. Then I will clean it before playing again.
When I practice, I like to keep my guitar clean and polished. It’s important for the intonation and sound of the guitar. If you play a lot, oil will build up on your fretboard and strings. I suggest cleaning your guitar regularly. Here is how I do it: To start off, get a small bowl of warm water and mild dish-washing soap. Dip a microfiber cloth into the bowl, squeeze out the excess water, then wipe down your entire guitar until it’s clean. Then dry it off with a clean dry microfiber cloth.
Now we’re going to polish the frets using a polish/cleaner made especially for frets. You can find this in any music store under the name “Fast Fret.” I prefer to use that because it cleans quickly and smells good too! Take your cloth and put some fast fret on it (a little goes a long way). You want to rub down every fret back-and-forth in one direction (like you would wax a car). Then wipe each fret down with another clean part of the cloth.
Now our frets are nice and shiny! Next, spray some lemon oil on your fret board where the frets are located and rub it in with your finger
I clean my guitar every time I use it. Here’s what I do:
First, I use a dry cloth (t-shirt material or similar) to wipe the fingerboard and strings down. It’s important that the cloth is dry for this part. Then, I’ll take some lemon oil (or other fretboard oil) on a cloth and rub that on the fingerboard and let it sit for a few minutes. After that, I’ll wipe off any excess oil with another dry cloth (sometimes a different one). If you get it too oily, it will be more slippery than smooth.
If you’re not sure if your fretboard is rosewood or ebony, the best way to tell is by look and feel. Rosewood is usually brown with visible grain and feels porous. Ebony looks blacker in color and has a very fine grain look to it (not visible really until you get up close) and feels more like glass than wood.
For cleaning my guitar body, I just use a damp cloth without any polishing agent (I don’t think any polish is necessary). Just wipe off any visible dirt or dust.
If you’re using steel strings on an acoustic guitar, there are two good reasons to change them frequently: tone