RB Guitar Repairs® Maintenance & Care

Your RB Guitar Repair instrument is made from solid exotic tonewoods selected for their responsiveness and their beauty.

It’s known that many very fine guitars are not being used, simply because they are in need of regular care and attention. When a guitar is subjected to climatic stress or long term wear and tear it is very unlikely that the guitar will have good sound or playability as good as it should. The action may have become high over time caused by movement in the tonewoods, the tuning may not be accurate anymore and there may be fret buzz.

Regular care, controlled humidity storage and the occasional check over by a qualified luthier will help to keep your guitar in great working order.

Climate and Humidity

Acoustic guitars are carefully constructed from thin pieces of solid wood joined together by glue and these are directly affected by changes in temperature and humidity; the more extreme the change, the greater the reaction.

It is important to understand and be mindful that in climates where there are extremes in temperature and humidity additional precautions must be taken to ensure the proper care of your instrument. RUSSELL BENNETT guitars are built in a carefully controlled humidity environment within the workshop, which provides optimum stability.

Maintaining your guitar’s humidity environment around 45-55% and a room temperature of 18-21c will ensure optimal performance, playability and durability. Humidity levels can be monitored with a hygrometer, ask for advice and availability.

EFFECTS OF TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY

Temperature has a direct effect on the moisture content in the air. In general, in warmer weather the air can absorb more moisture – which results in higher relative humidity, causing the wood to swell. In the winter months, the air holds less moisture and additional factors such as central heating will dry the air even further, lowering relative humidity and causing the wood to shrink. Rapid changes are the most hazardous for your guitar, in order to avoid damage; it is best to keep your guitar insulated in its case. Should your guitar be exposed to extreme cold – let it warm up to room temperature before opening its case to avoid any potential damage.

SYMPTOMS OF A DRY GUITAR

The consequences of low humidity conditions are arguably more severe than those of humid conditions and it is important to be aware and mindful of the symptoms to look out for. In dry conditions (less than 40% relative humidity) wood will shrink.

The following are signs that you need to immediately remedy and seek advice about the humidity environment of your guitar:

  • •The soundboard begins to drop, lowering the action, which may cause buzzing of the strings against the frets.
  • •The fingerboard shrinks leaving the fret ends feeling sharp and protruding from the edge of the fingerboard.
  • •Lacquer checks can begin to appear where the wood is joined, and is a warning sign that your guitar is suffering from environmental stress. In the more severe cases – cracks in the wood itself may appear; seek advice as soon as possible.
  • •The Bridge begins to separate from the soundboard: in a severely dried out guitar, the bridge may lift off completely.

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES INCLUDE (BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO):

  • •Keeping your guitar in its case – this will help safeguard it not only from damage but will also provide a more stable humidity environment by insulating your guitar.
  • •Humidifying your environment – purchasing a room humidifier will help towards maintaining acceptable humidity levels. Humidifying your guitar –purchasing a guitar humidifier will help increase your guitar’s humidity content whilst in its case. Please note: It is very important to carefully adhere to manufacturer’s instructions to avoid any possibility of water damage. Alternatively, you can place some humidifiers in the accessory pocket of your case. Do not hesitate to ask us for advice.

SYMPTOMS OF A WET GUITAR

High humidity situations (above 75%) are more difficult to control but the consequences are arguably not potentially as severe. In high humidity, your guitar will absorb excess moisture, swell and expand. The following are signs that you need to immediately remedy and seek advice about the humidity environment of your guitar:

  • •The sound of your guitar may begin to sound ‘tight’, restricted with a possible loss of bass and volume.
  • •The soundboard begins to rise, raising the action making it unwieldy or even unplayable.
  • •The lacquer to check.
  • •The bracing may become apparent where the top is glued to the internal structure of the guitar.
  • •The glue can weaken and the bridge and/or bindings can lift and separate.

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES INCLUDE (BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO):

  • •Keep your guitar insulated in its case However, please note that the lining of your case can also soak up moisture so it is important to air it out regularly –NEVER leave it or your guitar in the direct sun or too close to a source of heat.
  • •Air conditioning can help dry the air and reduce humidity in your home. Common sense precautions and paying attention to your guitar will ensure that you notice any changes and act upon them before damage can occur.

ACCLIMATISATION:

Your guitar is most susceptible to the effects of changes in humidity and temperature during the first several months of its life. Every guitar settles in with time and small changes can take place to the action and neck profile whilst your guitar is settling into its new environment. Being mindful of your guitar’s environment during this ‘settling in’ period will minimise the impact of unfavourable conditions and keep your guitar playing and sounding its best.

Travel

By car:

Never leave your guitar in a car on a sunny or hot day. The rapid increase in temperature will cause softening of the glue and wood shrinkage, compromising the integrity of your instrument and potentially causing damage. If you must travel with your guitar in a hot vehicle, ensure that the case is not directly in the sun; the best place is in the back seat. A rule of thumb is: if you wouldn’t leave your dog in the car – don’t leave your guitar there either.

By Air:

Prior to leaving prepare your instrument by de-tensioning the strings and ensuring that there are no loose items in the case. You may also wish to place some soft padding material under the headstock area to provide extra support. Your RB Guitar Repairs instrument is supplied with a hard shell case that will provide protection, however this is not infallible. The best place to have your guitar when travelling by air is of course on-board in the overhead compartment or the suit locker. However,the airline may insist that you check-in your guitar.

Special services are available for valuable items, (special handling and identification) please make sure to ask about these at the check-in counter. Avoid signing, if at all possible, any document that limits the airline’s liability for damage.

Cleaning and Care

CLEANING YOUR RUSSELL BENNETT GUITAR

A great deal of attention and care goes into each and every RUSSELL BENNETT guitar and the unique satin/gloss finish is no exception. Ideally, we recommend that you wipe down your guitar with a clean, soft dry cloth every time you play. Regular cleaning with a soft polishing cloth, dampened in warm mild soapy water, then dried off with a dry soft cloth will prevent build-up of sweat and grime as well as remove any potentially harmful chemicals to keep your guitar looking great.

POLISHING YOUR RUSSELL BENNETT GUITAR

Ensuring that you guitar is clean is an important step to keeping your hand sprayed finish looking its very best. However, you may occasionally wish to use a polish. In order to keep your satin and gloss finish looking natural, it is important to select a non-silicone polish which will not build-up and risk changing the look of your guitar.

CARING FOR YOUR FINGERBOARD

For care and cleaning of your fingerboard we recommend that you thoroughly clean it (as above) when re-stringing and periodically use a fine, specially formulated fingerboard oil to keep it nourished and feeling great. In order to keep your RUSSELL BENNETT guitar in optimal playing and tonal condition, it is advisable that it be serviced by a recommended luthier /technician at least once a year. Things that may require attention are the nut slots, saddles and neck profile, and it is also valuable for an experienced professional to give your guitar a ‘check-up’ to ensure that it is not suffering from any environmental stress.

Your RUSSELL BENNETT guitar is designed for a long and active life and is built with extraordinary care and attention to detail. Many of its features are innovative, designed to give unique tonal properties and superior long-term stability. We are always happy to advise you should you have any queries.