Every second that you spend cleaning or fine-tuning your guitar is a second that you could’ve spent playing. But how much do you get from a guitar that’s dirty and difficult to play? A new set of strings and a proper setup will remove your frustrations while playing, and encourage you to spend much more time with your instrument.
You don’t have to be a guitar technician to perform basic maintenance like cleaning and polishing, changing strings, or adjusting your guitar’s action and intonation. But you do have to know what you’re doing, otherwise you might end up damaging your instrument. If you’re ready to start taking care of your guitar, then check out the following YouTube channels for basic guitar maintenance.
Update, 3/10/22: Verified contents, links, and videos still good.
The devil’s in the details. Before you get into changing strings or adjusting a truss rod, you need to know how to keep your guitar clean and healthy. The fretboard is a good place to start, as it can deteriorate if it’s improperly cleaned. Or, you know, if it isn’t cleaned at all.
Your Guitar Academy’s videos on basic maintenance, like cleaning the fretboard or polishing your guitar, are some of the best available today. They’re short, to the point, and easy to understand. Your Guitar Academy videos also acknowledge what not to do with your guitar, which is often the most important thing to know when performing repetitive, routine maintenance.
- How to Clean Rosewood Fretboards Properly
- How to Clean Guitars With a Poly Finish
- How to Clean Guitars With a Nitro Finish
- How to Clean Acoustic Guitars
Even if you’ve successfully restrung your guitar in the past, you should take a minute to watch how the pros restring their guitars. There are many ways to put strings on a instrument, and the most intuitive method is often the worst method.
Jim Dunlop’s short series on guitar strings can help you string your guitar quickly, and save you from constantly retuning. The series covers most guitar types, including electric guitars, acoustic guitars, and nylon-string guitars. Host Gary Brawer also shows multiple restraining methods that will work on almost any guitar, so make sure to watch (and try!) them all to see which one you like best.
- RESTRING: Les Paul Style Guitar
- RESTRING: Fender Style Guitar
- RESTRING: Acoustic Guitar
- RESTRING: Classical Guitar
Most people take their guitar to a technician to adjust the action or intonation. And while you should have a real technician look at your guitar every once and a while, minor adjustments can be made at home for free.
JustinGuitar’s series on guitar setups is long and informative. It teaches you how to set up your guitar and explains why certain techniques work and why others don’t. In other words, JustinGuitar’s setup series takes the mystery out of neck and bridge adjustments, so you can quickly get your guitar in good playing order without causing any damage.
These videos are a bit long-winded, but they’re more informative than short 15-minute setup videos. Set aside some time to watch them.
Need some inspiration? StewMac’s videos on crazy guitar repair jobs should push you to clean up your guitar, or even buy a project guitar to learn some useful maintenance, repair, and modification skills. The videos chronicling famous guitars are particularly fun, as you get to learn some trivia along the way.