Tips For Preventing Common Guitar Damage

An electric guitar is not only a pricey investment, but likely a cherished possession as well. In good hands, an electric guitar can last decades upon decades with just common sense care and some regular maintenance. While accidents will happen, some that are almost unavoidable, several of the most common types of damage seen in electric guitars are completely avoidable. With the following tips, you can help ensure that you and your guitar will have many years of happy shredding ahead!


Broken Headstocks

While this might seem obvious, not everyone takes the necessary steps to ensure their ax doesn't end up decapitated. Even though gig bags are inexpensive and convenient, they offer very little protection from hard surfaces. Accidental drops and falls are virtually inevitable and are going to happen, especially if you regularly gig. Do yourself a favor and invest in a hardshell case. This is especially true if you happen to have a guitar with an angled headstock (such as several Gibson models) as they are several times more likely to break with a good fall. While a few dents and chipped paint might not be the worst thing in the world, a broken headstock will require a pricey repair. With that said, the cost of a good case is well worth the added security.



Although many players out there know of the problems that humidity can cause to an electric guitar, few have any idea in how to prevent them. Unless you have some sort of exotic all metal model, you guitar is mainly comprised of wood and thus affected by moisture and heat. And that goes double for acoustic guitars which are much more sensitive to humidity issues. In essence, too much moisture and wood expands; too dry and it shrinks. While it might not be obviously visible, its enough to cause your guitar's finish to crack or your frets to start poking out. Ideally, you want to store your guitar in a room with 47% humidity and at 70 degrees. The best thing to do to regulate humidity for your instrument is investing in a guitar humidifier, a device that evenly distributes moisture in order to keep your ax from drying out. You can also try adding several plants to boost the overall moisture level in your room.



I can't tell you how many times I just shake my head as I see a player leave his guitar in the trunk of his car on a hot day. Just as with humidity, extreme heat will also cause plenty of problems. In temperatures of over 80 degrees, the polyvinyl glue used in most modern guitars can begin to melt. In temperatures of 100 degrees, the glue joints can begin to come apart. Repairs for these easily preventable problems tend to be pricey and complicated. Aside from never leaving your guitar inside your car on a hot day, you can invest in a hygrometer with a temperature gauge on it so that you can ensure that your guitar is being stored in a safe location.


Knobs / Pots

We have all had guitars with crackly knobs, or have pots that will freeze up or short out. If you have more than a few guitars, we all have a few that we play much less than the rest. Sealed guitar pots have internal lubrication, but can dry out when they are not used. The advice is simple: once a month, turn the knobs on all of your guitars. You can use some of the electrical component cleaning supplies out there, but be careful, some will do more harm than good, and can damage your finish. If you do need the knobs lubed, taking it to a tech is the best option, and with good care and knob-wiggling, you should only need the knobs lubed once every few years.



Your Turn to Sound Off!

What's steps do you take to prevent damage to your guitar?

Sound off in the comment section below!


6 thoughts on “Tips For Preventing Common Guitar Damage”

  • Michael Sinks

    Don't lean your guitar on a countertop, table, amp, etc. Hang it on a stand or lay it in it's case. And a Good stand is a must. I use the Hercules.

  • Patrick Lozito

    And the best tip of all, never lend your guitar to anyone.

  • Zal

    I would also caution for active electronic guitars/basses to take your batteries out of the instrument, especially if you are going to be storing it over a period of time....otherwise, you may face the dread of battery leakage over the instruments electronics...and it's no joke!

  • SiNe

    I think strap locks are an essential investment, having had a broken Gibson headstock due to the strap coming off.
    Also, regularly check the strap buttons to make sure they are not coming loose.

  • daddymack

    Strap locks/locking straps! It doesn't matter which type, but as a Gibson owner, I have witnessed a number of strap button failures over the years with typically bad results. SGs tend to have the worst headstock breakage, because they are headstock heavy. All my electrics [10+] have had some form of locking strap system going back thirty something years, and none have headstock damage.
    A good stand is also worth it, and I do not use gig bags. I recently witnessed the death of a Taylor when a player picked up a PA cab, turned, lost his balance and stepped on the neck of his guitar in its gig bag. Had it been in a suitable quality hard case, it would have been no the gig bag ? SNAPPO!

  • Joe

    With decent guitar stands being pretty cheep get one and use it...The little triangle stands should be banned and the inventor should be drawn and quartered...they are garbage and offer less protection than a table or couch to keep your guitar safe.

    Because the neck up at the head stock has no support or protection one tap and it's all over.

    We have to be electric guitar cost can vary between $400 and thousands. But we wont invest $60 in a case and $15 to $30 on a stand...makes no sense.

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