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Caring for the Finish of your Gibson (or any) Guitar

Gibson instruments are finished with several coats of a high-quality nitro-cellulose lacquer. This finish is hand-buffed to a high-gloss, mirror-like surface. Unlike other less expensive finishes, nitro-cellulose does not detract from the tone of the instrument and ages beautifully.

Exposure to certain synthetic materials, leather straps, and cushions such as those found on some instrument stands could adversely affect the finish. To ensure your finish maintains its beauty, follow these steps:

  • Never cover or wipe your instrument with synthetic materials
  • Always remove the strap from the instrument when not in use
  • Cover or replace guitar stand cushions with cotton cloth

Perspiration can also damage the guitar finish as well as the hardware finish. Always clean your instrument and hardware with a soft, non-synthetic cloth before storing it. To prolong the beauty and durability of the finishes polish it with a good quality carnuba wax, or a wax made specifically by the manufacturer. In this case, Gibson Hi-Gloss wax.

A rapid change in temperature or humidity can result in small cracks in the finish known as “finish checking”. This mostly happens when a chilled instrument is exposed to warm air. It occurs most frequently in the winter when a guitar case is opened in a warm room or studio after being outside. This is a result of the wood expanding faster than the lacquer. While this condition does not affect the tone, it certainly does affect appearance. Warm the guitar gradually by opening the case slowly and fanning it to induce warm air to circulate over the top. If a bright bluish fog appears on the top, close the case immediately and let it warm up for a few minutes. Then lift the instrument a little bit from the case and allow the rest of it to warm to room temperature.

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