Is it really necessary for a guitar player to learn how to protect a guitar from dust? Is dust going to do any damage to your guitars? We are going to find out the truth about these issues.
A guitar is a very handy instrument, that is why it is very easy to bring it anywhere, but this also means that it needs to be maintained regularly. One of the issues in maintaining a guitar is that it is really prone to dust build-up, especially when its environment is dusty.
So, what is dust? The Oxford Dictionary defines dust as a fine and dry powder that consists of tiny particles of earth or waste matter lying on the ground or on surfaces or carried in the air. Because of its small size, the dust particles inhaled by a human can lead to irritation of the eyes, coughing, sneezing, hay fever, and asthma attacks.
This is why your guitar must be protected from dust, as it can also affect your health. With proper storage and regular cleaning of your guitar, dust build-up can be avoided. Although, in general rule, dust cannot affect your guitar sound or build, but when it starts to build up for a very long time without cleaning, then there are possible repercussions of letting it stay on your guitar.
Can dust damage your guitar?
Generally, a small amount of dust alone cannot damage your guitar. Still, dust builds up inside your guitar, electric or acoustic, attracts and traps moisture, which results in the deadening of the natural resonance of the wood used in the guitar and a degraded sound.
Dust build-up in your electric guitar can affect its electronics and their functionality after some time when it is not removed. Dust build-up in the pickups’ magnetic fields can cause popping and crackling noise, a weak signal, and the worst scenario is that the signal may even be cut out completely.
Dust build-up in acoustic guitars with built-in pickups can trap moisture that damages the wood’s natural resonance, which can affect the sound badly. Dust that is around the pickup can also crackle sound, have poor tone and a weak signal.
Guitar strings can also be a problem for a dust build-up in your guitar. Every time you use your guitar, you grind small amounts of dust into the windings, resulting in a dead tone and faster breakup.
Dust build-up can also lead to mold and rust in your guitar. As dust traps moisture in your guitar, mold also grows in places where there is a lot of moisture. Mold can destroy your guitar if left untreated for a very long time.
Moisture from dust build-up can also be the reason to have some of the guitar parts to acquire rust if left uncleaned for some time. Rust can be a huge problem for guitars, as these can lead to damage that will probably need for replacement.
Rust in electronic equipment can lead to some severe issues with your guitar’s sound. It can cause popping and crackling noises, and it can also cause weak signals, resulting in annoying sounds. If left untreated, the complete functionality of the guitar’s electronic devices can fail and would probably need replacement, which will cost you more.
Rust can also cause damage to your guitar’s hardware. All metal parts of your guitar can be damaged from rust that can be created from dust build-up. From tuning pegs, frets, guitar bridge, strings, and many more, if it is not cleaned regularly from dust, it can be susceptible to damage because of the rust that comes from dust build-up.
The moisture that comes from your guitar’s dust build-up can also cause it to swell tremendously, resulting in the failure of the guitar’s glue joints. It can also cause the guitar’s finish to lift and its neck angle to go very badly.
How To Remove Dust From Your Guitar?
The best and safest way to clean a guitar from dust is to use a cloth to wipe the dust off.
The first step is to wipe the guitar strings, neck, and bridge regularly using a lint-free cloth. For the metal parts, use a soft, dry polishing cloth to wipe them clean. You don’t need to use liquid spray on them as wiping them off will suffice.
Clean the guitar’s body, especially on those finished wood surfaces with cleaning agents created specifically for the guitar. Remember not to use water in cleaning the guitar’s body.
Never use any products that are not made for guitars for cleaning the wood surfaces of the guitar. Do not also use any agents that have ammonia in them. For safety reasons, just use cleaning agents that are made explicitly for guitar.
Do not also use lacquer finishes on the plastic parts of the guitar as they react adversely with lacquer.
How To Protect Your Guitar From Dust?
Proper guitar storage is really needed in order to protect your guitar from dust and other harmful particles that can damage your guitar in the long run.
The first option is to store your guitar in a gig bag. This is the usual way guitar owners try to protect their guitars from dust. It also allows you to travel with your guitar anywhere with the confidence of it being protected from dirty particles and even impacts. You just need to regularly clean the bag to avoid dust build-up externally.
The second option is to store it in a guitar hard case. Guitar hard cases are made to protect your guitar from bumps and impacts, but they are also made to protect your guitar from dust. They also protect your guitar from humidity, extreme climate, or temperature change.
The third option is to store your guitar on a sealed cabinet explicitly made for storing guitars. They can also be a great option to protect your guitar from dust.
The last option is to use cloth covers made for guitars when you do not have any of the three options mentioned above. Although it is not that effective against the other options, it can still prevent your guitar from having dust build-ups if it is appropriately covered.
Overall, every guitar owner must know how to protect their guitars from dust in order to avoid repercussions, as dust build-ups can possibly cause damage to their guitars if left uncleaned. It is the duty of every guitar owner to take good care of their guitars and to preserve their conditions as long as possible.