How to maintain your instrument

The biggest misconception people have is "I haven't played my guitar for over 2 years, so am sure it works fine, since I have never used it, you see."
The reality is that keeping it packed up or sitting idle is actually damaging the instrument beyond repair, and in turn reducing its value drastically (in case of a re-sale). Hence the best maintenance is to play it every now and then.
Well-used acoustic wooden instruments actually become better with age.
'Did you know – that the true sound of a string instrument such as a guitar or a violin that has been made from good quality wood, actually sounds the best only after 12-13 years of its ageing, because that's when the grain of the wood is completely developed.

Find below a few tips to manage and extend the life of your instrument.

• An instrument should always be in its case when it’s not in use. Do not leave it lying around gathering dust. Let it remain protected and secure within the case that it was meant to fit in.
• Acoustic instruments though they may seem hard and sturdy may be prone to internal damage if you rest an object on it. So don’t put anything on it or use it as a stand for whatever reason.
• Extreme weather can be damaging to your instrument. Excess heat, cold, humidity has the potential to seriously damage your music instrument. One of the worst places to keep your instruments lying is in your vehicle.
• Keeping your music instrument clean of dust and grime reduces the risk of damage or degradation of the wood or metal that your instrument is made of.
• Ensure that the case of your instrument is clean and secure. It should not have any holes or look battered.
• Treat your instrument with care. It is a functional object which means that it is not inanimate. It requires your tender care for it to function well and serve you for as long as you want.

The various types of instrument families as follows require different types of care.
I. String Instruments: Require since all string instruments have strings that are common among them, try to keep the strings and the body of the instrument clean with a dry clean cloth.
II. Keyboard Instruments: Besides the actual internal structure of the instruments such as the piano or the keyboard, it’s important to keep the keys of the instrument clean so that dust doesn’t enter the body of the instrument through the keys. Besides that just follow the rest of the directions as mentioned in the first paragraph.
III. Brass Instruments: These instruments can be dismantled and cleaned. Do not attempt to use chemicals to maintain the shine until and unless you are absolutely sure that it will not damage the outer coating of the instrument.
IV. Wind instruments: In order to maintain good hygiene, your wind instrument must be kept clean and dry. Wind blown through the reed of the instrument contains water vapour from your body which may lead to damage of your instrument in the long run.

This article has been contributed by Luke Macedo, guitar faculty artist at Muziclub.

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