Care and Maintenance of your Gaskell guitar/bass
Thank you for purchasing a GASKELL left handed instrument. We hope you will enjoy your guitar for many decades to come. As with anything manufactured with natural products and hardware subject to wear-and-tear, there are a few basic care and maintenance things to know to keep your guitar in top condition and ensure it lasts forever. A Custom-built guitar should be expected to last for decades if respected and properly cared for.
Your guitar is made of timber. Timber expands and contracts with heat and cold and takes anywhere from two to five years to fully "settle." Both the body itself and the fingerboard require periodic treatment in order to maintain continued excellence.
IF YOUR GUITAR HAS A GLOSS FINISH
There are several readily available guitar polishes on the market.
We recommend Dunlop Formula 65 GUITAR POLISH. This is an excellent product specifically made for musical instruments and gives an excellent shine and gloss to your guitar. It does not require a lot of product to do the job so a bottle should last a long time. Please always use a clean and dry cloth and buff only lightly until done. Harsh buffing may cause scratches.
Other polishes include Errnie Ball Guitar Polish, GHS Guitar Gloss and Fender Guitar Polish.
IF YOUR GUITAR HAS A MATTE FINISH
Do not use polishes. Use only light petroleum distillate (naphtha/white gas) products such as Shellite, VM&P Naphtha, Coleman Fuel, or Ronsonol to remove fingerprints or any build ups of dirt or grime. Polishes will ruin the matte finish and create a "spotty" appearance. Note: these products are highly flammable. This is noted on the bottles but we would still like to mention that you should not smoke or have candles or other flames near you when using these products.
IMPORTANT: Furniture polishes and window cleaners are not recommended for cleaning any guitar or bass. Furniture polishes contain silicone and although they can produce a deep and gorgeous lustre, they always leave a film. Window cleaner is usually 90% ammonia and 10% soap. These tend to dry out the surfaces to which they are applied. Prolonged use of furniture polish or window cleaner on guitars will ruin the guitar. Using these products will void your warranty on your guitar.
Normal use will eventually cause you fingerboard to build up with sweat and dirt from your fingers and dust and grit from the environment. An unmaintained fingerboard will eventually dry up and crack and lose its appearance and sound properties. This is true for both guitars and basses.
To remove any build up we recommend you use plain turpentine or Dunlop FINGERBOARD 01 CLEANER & PREP followed by Dunlop 02 FINGERBOARD DEEP CONDITIONER to rejuvenate your fingerboard. If your fingerboard is really bad then there is Dunlop FRETBOARD 65 ULTIMATE LEMON OIL.
No matter what, do not use products that have solvents in them. Rosewood and ebony fingerboards are oily woods. It is for this reason they are used as fretboards. Solvents will dry up the fingerboard and this is the exact opposite of what you want to happen.
Tuners, knobs, jacks, controls, and frets are parts that will wear out over time as they see much use. Keep tuners and jacks clean and free of dust at least with a dry clean cloth.
There comes a time in the life of any guitar which has been played a lot when the frets will need to be replaced. Visual evidence of this will become apparent in addition to the obvious playability difficulties.
If you are concerned about your fret wear or any other hardware issues that have arisen from energetic use then you may need to replace frets. We don't expect that to happen for many years, however the matter is really a "how long is a piece of string" scenario.
Your guitar is fitted with electronic parts that as a complete system are designed to convert an audio signal into audible sound through an amplifier. There is no real maintenance involved other than to apply common sense in the treatment of the pickups on your guitar.
Obviously do not unscrew or adjust the screws on the pickups themselves. The only pickup adjustments you can make is to raise or lower their height. To do anything else that is unauthorized will void any warranty on the pickups.
Be aware that if pickups are too close to the strings they will create a "whine" which is a magnetic reaction between the strings and the poles in the pickups. Proper distance from the strings is crucial in order for the instrument to output correct sound. Setting correct pickup height is part of any standard guitar setup.
Your guitar will require subsequent setups anywhere from every 6 months to several years depending on how much it is used and extremity of weather changes. Our in-house setups always include checking pickup height as part of the standard process.
NOTE: If your guitar is fitted with active pickups (pickups requiring an on-board battery to run them) remember: never leave the guitar plugged in when not in use. To do so will drain the battery and your guitar will not work. To replace the battery simply requires opening the battery box (if installed) or removing the backing plate and replacing the old battery with a new one in the usual way. Any brand should suffice.
When you first purchased your GASKELL guitar your instrument was set up in our workshop here in Australia per your specifications and what you told us about your style of playing. This is an elaborate process as each guitar is personal to each player and every player has their own style and likes and dislikes. For some players a professional setup to the standard of a high-end custom builder may be a new experience.
Over time the action, intonation and playability of your guitar will change. This depends on how much you play versus the passage of time and the natural changes of the seasons. Extreme heat or cold and sudden changes will affect your instrument. This is normal for any guitar, no matter what brand. All guitars require initial and subsequent setups.
NOTE ON GUITARS THAT HAVE BEEN SET UP WITH LOW ACTION. Sometimes there can be a slight acoustic "rattle" that can be heard when you strum the guitar while unplugged. "Acoustic rattle" is not to be confused with "string buzz." They are two completely different things. String buzz happens when the guitar has changed over time and now when you fret a note there is a buzz with the note or just a buzz and no note. You could call it a "dead spot." This can be at different places or in one area of the fretboard. It could be only one string, or it could be all strings. To fix that, the bridge height, nut, and truss rod need to be readjusted to restore the correct neck angle and string height. Acoustic rattle is something else. It can be normal for a guitar with low action but it does not affect the notes and cannot be heard through the amplifier. It does not affect playability. Acoustic rattle is sometimes the trade-off for having a very low action.
A guitar setup needs to include the following steps: 1) checking frets, 2) checking neck angle, 3) checking nut height and cut, 4) checking bridge height, 5) checking intonation, 6) checking tuners, 7) checking all electronics, 8) checking pickup height, 9) cleaning the instrument, 10) restringing the instrument, 11) re-testing. Eventually, your guitar may need full fret replacement, reseating, levelling and recrowning, replacing or upgrading of tuners, bridges, pickups, jacks and nuts. You would not expect this for many years unless you play a lot, or live in a very harsh environment, or are generally very rough on your instruments.
Knocks, chips, scuffs and other impact related marks or damage to your guitar are things which come with "playing guitar." Other than those things, these simple maintenance points can be easily taken care of and will ensure many decades of playing your GASKELL instrument!
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