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As someone who's played mostly electric guitar, what does "proper care" really mean for a gypsy guitar?
Furthermore, what are the repercussions of not doing proper care? Are these repercussions worse with mass made vs luthier built guitars?
I think the care for these guitars is the same as any other acoustic instrument. Humidity needs to be looked after, either using something like in-case humidification, or in-room humidification. I use both. All of my guitars have the D'Addario humidipaks, with the electrics, they help with potential fret spouts, as well as keeping the rest of the guitar generally happy.
My Eastman is built quite well, but it's not in the same league as my Bumgarner. But they both need to use the proper cleaning materials, and make sure that the wood isn't too dry or too wet. If the guitar dries out, it doesn't matter whether it was luthier made or factory made, the wood can still crack, frets can spout and get sharp, and the setup might get funny. I think humidification is one of the most important things we can do for our instruments, along with using the appropriate cleaning materials. If you have a nitro finished guitar, you have to use polish that won't eat it. Ebony and rosewood boards (anything not finished really, so that excludes maple fretboards that are sealed) need to be oiled every so often as well.
Yeah control humidity at around 50% RH by using case humidifiers or whatever you need to do. Store in case when not in use. Do not store case near exterior wall especially if it is really hot or cold outside.
Nice, I've heard good things about D'addario humidifier - does in work in a mono case?
So for a guitar with a French polish top, what would be an appropriate cleaner? I've been using the same Dunlop cleaner and oil on my guitar similar to my electrics.
Mono case is a gig bag and not airtight and also case humidifiers are likely come into contact with the guitar in a gig bag and damage it. So humidifier probably wont work very well.
French polish is the softest and most fragile of all finishes. Do not touch it with anything! I wiped a french polished guitar with a slightly damp cloth once and the whole finish clouded up. If you dont have scratch plate you’ll go through the finish in no time where your fingers/ pick touch the guitar
french polish is highly desirable cos its so thin (its made of insects 🐜). It’s also easy to repair.
however careful you are with it it will mark, just let it happen and dont worry.
For a French polish or other oil finish I would just use a microfiber cloth to gently wipe it down, definitely want to avoid the moisture and friction combo.
Lets see care...bump guitar, throw into case...sometimes. More scratches the better.