Caring for your guitar -- how to keep it unblemished?

Very basic question here and as a guitar owner and casual player for over 30 years, you'd think I'd know better do people keep their guitars looking so pristine? I feel like despite almost a paranoid anxiety around chipping, denting, scratching my guitar, some little thing or another has happened to nearly every guitar I own--no, not nearly--ALL my guitars. 


I recently was blessed to be able to buy 3 french polish classical guitars in the last 18 months. I've lightly scratched a couple (despite using a "Kling-on" guitar protector) and believe it or not chipped (small, almost unnoticeable) one of my guitars when I tripped over my guitar stand!! I also wear a sleeve on the right hand and remove my watch/fitbit when playing. Still, it's to the point where I'm almost anxious to play because these guitars aren't cheap and I always manage to somehow mark them.


Now, all that said, I've recently watched a few concerts online and in not a few, I've noticed that some of the guitars look INCREDIBLY worn and scratched. Others, despite being a few years old (I often see the luthier name and age of the guitar in the verbiage included in the concert info), look amazingly untouched. 


How do people do it??

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    • martinTeam
    • LIVE
    • martin.3
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    Hi Stephen Darrell Oliver !

    My personal view: I don't (because I can't) ⚡😩 My beloved Paco Marin 30 Anniversario's top is in a horrible condition from intensive studying (especially gaining speed with Villa-Lobos #7, so many scratches on the upper half of the top due to relentless scales practice). So I definitely fall into the "INCREDIBLY worn and scratched" category. I might take it to Paco's workshop in Granada early next year to get the top redone though, then it will be (hopefully) shiny again, although I have some deep scratches in there (played a concert in a childrens' hospital and one boy tipped over my notestand which crashed into the top of my guitar)

    I think there's a lot of psychology involved: as long as your guitar looks pristine and untouched, you try to keep it that way. But as soon as the first blemishes happen, we get more and more careless. I think it comes down to the discipline of the first few months 🤓

    On that note though: we plan to have luthier come in for a livestream and talk about caring your guitar!

    Picture 1: The Notestand Tragedy

     Picture 2: The Evolution of the Villa-Lobos Scale

     Picture 3: The Temperature Crack Disaster (masterfully repaired by Hermann Hauser III, now invisible) 

    • Karen Chuplis
    • One bar at a time
    • Karen_Chuplis
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    It is character. Lol. No. I know the pain of that first ding. My Kenny Hill NWP was pristine for about 8 months and then the inevitable cat got stuck in something and crashed into it trying to run away from the monster. Two dings one sent and a scratch. Probably mostly unnoticeable to anyone besides me. It took me a week or three of chanting “it’s the first “history marks” of the story of this guitar” before it stopped bothering me. I personally say be careful but don’t obsess about pristine condition. Things are meant to be used. Using them makes them a bit vulnerable. That’s ok. That’s their story. 

  • I've never really cared much about getting dings or blemishes until recently.

    One way that worked for me is to practice the rasgueado and powerful strummings (like the a-m-i-p quadruplets in the tango en skai) on my cheap factory guitar. It worked well for many years until I stopped playing my cheap guitar as I started not to be impressed with the sound from it.

    I just checked my guitar and noticed two vertical scratched marks I might have gotten last week and I can't stop thinking about it now!!!

  • Related question to dings and scratches is cracks.  Even If a top of a guitar  has had a crack repaired professionally, will the sound production be impacted.   Given the critical nature of the top in sound production I would expect some degradation.    I am currently looking at a luither made instrument for sale and though there is a deep discount I still worry about the crack in the top that has been repaired.  

    • don
    • don.2
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    Stephen Darrell Oliver check out Petrit Ceku's guitar. He play them everywhere and even in the rain. I have zero doubt he wouldn't blink twice if he needed to use it to bat off something and produce the most beautiful tone after. 


    I  got my first luthier made guitar last January in very good condition and under my care,  I have somehow made the french polish so porous that my guitar lift cannot work on it anymore. After using the kling-on to try on again, the kling-on stick on it so hard I needed to use a credit card to scrap it off and now have some marks. 


    I installed Sagework magnets inside and when I wanted to change the position, the 3mm sticker snapped and it is likely to be a permanent fixture inside my guitar now.  I was really upset for a while until I saw Petrit Ceku's guitar. Not that I'm gonna use mine as a weapon anytime soon but the little damages adds some nice stories to my guitar.  The only thing I really worry now is the humidity. 


    I still keep the very first guitar that I used and that is the definition of wear and tear.  A friend gave it to me and we use it to play anything but classical music. 

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