Fully cleaned. Fully functional.
Keeping your guitar in top shape is a very beneficial habit, to the guitar itself and your playing.
Beyond just changing the strings you can do a lot more to keep your guitar in great shape!
When you wipe the guitar, making sure you use a 100% cotton cloth or cloth that is safe for guitar finishes, make sure to thoroughly wipe the hardware clean of sweat and “grime”. When you change your strings take the time to also wipe the fretboard clean of the build up of gunk from your body’s natural oils, but in addition, make sure to wipe the actual fret wire thoroughly as the metal itself collects impurities. The fret wires should shine as often as you can clean them, when they get dull, it’s time to clean them.
If you have a hard time cleaning the gunk and grime off your guitar make sure you’re using sufficient force and creating enough friction when wiping the frets, if your guitar is very dirty it’s best to clean the fretboard when all the strings are off the guitar. In the event that you’ve tried and tried but there’s still dirt and grime now would be a great time to look into Gorgomyte Fret and Fingerboard cleaner, which works great and is highly recommended by the team here at GearSnobs.
Tip: You can use or “recycle” any old shirt you have lying around as long as it’s 100% cotton.
In addition to wiping your main hardware, it’s great practice to also wipe the screws and smaller pieces as well as they oxidize, dull, and collect dust as well. Even small things like worn paint on the screws bother me personally so wipe your guitar thoroughly each time you finish playing.
Make sure that where the guitar stays most of it’s life is in an air controlled environment most of the time with not too much moisture in the air, as this will warp the wood, but not too dry either, as that can crack the wood.
When you’re not using your instrument make sure it’s properly sitting in a stand as opposed to just sitting it down in the nearest available space. Keeping your instrument in an upright position when not using it will make sure you’re not warping the wood by placing it awkwardly for long periods of time.
The basic guitar stand was designed as a temporary solution for musicians but if you plan on being away from the guitar for more than a couple days, go ahead and put it in a hardshell case, if you don’t have a hardshell case, and you really care about your instrument, you need to get one. If a hardshell case is a bit pricey even a soft gig bag can do the job, it’s just a big big plus to have a case or bag for the guitar instead of keeping it subject to the environment; debris, weather, accidents, etc.
These were just some very basic tips to help maintain the longevity of your instrument and I hope you get some good use out of these tips, and your guitar!