Guitars in contemporary times are revered as cultural symbols, but behind this status as a popular icon, is the highest level of craftsmanship that involves labor-intensive procedures. Which is why musicians will do everything to protect their guitar from scratches and other damaging forces from ruining their beloved instrument.
A guitar that was given much care when it was being built by a passionate artisan, will not only look stunning, but will also sound and feel great. The guitar is definitely a piece of art, but unlike most kinds of artworks, it is one that could offer the most interaction with its owner.
Our enthrallment for guitar goes very deep, but some of it can be fully understood from the surface as well. Especially if you look at some custom builds, you will be amazed at how far the art and technique of guitar finishing has progressed, not to mention the exotic woods that are available today. Even the most hardcore fans of reliced guitars would cringe at the sight of a scratch on a quilted maple top or buckeye burl.
Minor damages to your guitar, especially scratches, are very common and impossible to avoid. However, you can do your part in preserving the beauty of your instrument by taking good care of your guitar. The better it is treated, the longer it will be able to serve you well, while maintaining its pristine look for years to come.
Protecting your guitar from scratches
Get a proper gig bag
While this sounds basic, a lot of guitar brands out there don’t include a free gig bag. Get yourself a padded one for top notch protection.
Store it in a hard case
Sleep well at night, or on a flight, knowing that your guitar is safe even from some of the harshest elements of air travel. Hard cases are also the best choice for storing your guitar at home, especially if you won’t be playing guitar for more than a week.
Remove tremolo bar before storing guitar
Before putting your guitar on its case, make sure that you detach the tremolo bar first since it could move around and scratch the body of your instrument.
Never leave your guitar lying around
Always keep them on a stand or a case. Scratches will become the least of your worries if you are used to leaving your instrument on the table or couch for extended periods. More complications such as warping of the neck can emerge when your guitar is being stored in an unsafe manner.
Opt for a guitar wall hanger
A guitar hanger can save some space in your studio or home and will significantly prevent some possible mishaps. Hanging the guitars on a wall, instead of putting them on a guitar stand, makes the instruments inaccessible to children and pets, deterring any toys, claws and fangs from scraping some lacquer finish.
Get a pickguard
While not all players prefer having a pickguard on their instrument, you might want to consider equipping yours with one to protect your guitar from scratches. If you don’t wish to compromise the look of your guitar’s “trans aqua burst,” then you may go for a transparent or “clear” pickguard.
Avoid wearing belts
Assuming you’re not comfortable playing the guitar too high like Tom Morello and prefer a more relaxed posture, your belt buckle is expected to graze your guitar’s back all night. If you can’t find a belt that will not be too jarring to your instrument, then you’ll have to change your fashion preference and wear jogging pants to gigs instead.
Don’t wear rings
Aside from the fact that boys and girls will know that you are already married, these shiny metallic things are great at giving guitars some unwanted marks that can last forever.
Don’t wear watches and bracelets
First of all, rock and roll will never be a formal event so you can do away with that elegant timepiece, as well as your gala night-style silver bracelet. Sometimes these gorgeous accessories can do nasty things to your guitar’s finish, so better exclude them next time from your gig lookbook.
Play your guitar properly
Most importantly, the best way to protect your guitar from scratches, dents and other damages, is to learn how to play and handle your instrument properly. Strumming too aggressively with entire arms and shoulders pumping to create a massive downward force, is only for theatrical purposes and will surely inflict a lot of damage on a guitar.
Pluck or strum your guitar in a manner that only the wrist is doing most of the movement. By developing a stronger wrist and learning how to control the weight of your strumming, you can access a wider dynamic range. This will allow you to make your sound louder or even more muscular with only the flick of a wrist.
However, if going all out punk rock on your guitar is your thing, then have it your way and embrace the fact that scratches are a normal part of an instrument’s life.