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 but...how 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??
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)
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.
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.