Preserve Your Vintage Guitar Collection

21 June 2019
 Categories: , Blog

Most vintage acoustic guitars contain a nitrocellulose lacquer finish. This finish is rather thin and glossy and doesn't affect the acoustics of an instrument. Unfortunately, this type of lacquer can crack if a guitar is exposed to fluctuating temperatures, moisture, and sunlight. If you have inherited a couple of vintage guitars that are in relatively good shape, care for the instruments by storing them properly and cleaning the wooden casings, strings, and fretboards after each play session.

Be Mindful About How You Transport The Instruments

Each guitar should be stored inside of a vinyl case during transport. If you did not receive cases with the guitars, purchase some from a guitar store or secondhand shop. If you decide to purchase used cases, check the outer shell of each one to ensure that the vinyl is damage-free. A case that contains a cushioned lining will prevent a guitar from moving around while you are carrying it, and if you accidentally drop the case onto a hard surface, damage to a guitar's exterior may be prevented.

If you are going to be playing your guitars in a social setting, try to plan each event so that the equipment won't be left inside of your vehicle for long durations, which could result in the lacquer surfaces becoming hot or cold. On most occasions, you will probably only be planning on playing one of the instruments, so there is no need to bring both of the guitars along with you for every gig that you are participating in.

If you travel on a hot or cold day and there is no way to prevent the guitars from being exposed to the current temperature, do not remove the instruments from the cases as soon as you arrive at your destination. Instead, carry the cases indoors and allow them to warm up. Slightly open the cases after several minutes have elapsed. Remove each guitar from its case once the exterior of each instrument feels as if it is the same temperature as the room.

Clean The Guitars

Wash and dry your hands each time you are getting ready to play one of the guitars. Avoid smoking, eating, or drinking while in the middle of a play session. Natural oils that are on your skin could be transferred to the strings and other parts of the guitar, even if you are meticulous when keeping your play area clean.

Use a slightly damp rag to wipe off each instrument's exterior. Use a soft, dry cloth to remove moisture from the guitars. Purchase a cleaning agent that is designed for use on guitars and use the agent to remove stains from each casing. 

For more information on how to care for a vintage guitar collection, contact a music store.