Blue Diamond


Blue Diamond


After 20 years in MI, here is What I use to clean my guitar

After 20 years is music retail, what do I use to clean my “wedding present” guitar? The idea to write this blog dawned on me this morning, as I wandered downstairs to organize gear.

I have been in “deep clean acoustic guitar mode” since having office hours Friday of last week. So today I had the urge to dig into my 2006 Taylor 410 and get it cleaned up. This is the guitar my wife bought me for a wedding gift, or rather I asked her to buy. It also represents my very beginnings in the MI industry.

 In 2003, coming off a short bout on the west coast doing the band thing, I found myself working at Freehold Music, the local music store I had frequented in my youth. The shop I worked at didn’t have Gibson, Fender or even Martin. They did have Taylor, and being the store was an old super market, they also had humidity issues too. The first guitars I ever worked on was at FMC, lots of “free set ups when you buy the guitar” type of thing. Usually, that would consist of a restring, filing the bridge saddle if needed, a neck adjustment and, of course, the 0000 brillo or planet waves sheets! Total hack style, please bring your instruments to the pros! 

Anyway, I sold the Taylor 410 as my “go to” high end acoustic for 3 years before leaving Freehold Music to work at Sweetwater in 2006. This guitar has been played, banged around, gone back to Taylor for a refret, and probably lived in about 10 different houses at this point. It is shredded. The pickguard is removed, and it is in need of a restring!

The first thing I did on this guitar was remove the unmatched string set. You can see how much grime has collected. This guitar has been sitting in its case without humidification too. Totally gross.

Grimy frets of Taylor guitar

I have the guitar propped up on a old neck rest from a neoprene guitar set up “tube” kit. The neoprene on that kit just started to disintegrate after about 20 years, so I have replaced it with this Ernie Ball Mat.

 One of the upgrades I got this year is having a dedicated set of wire cutters for my guitars. Before, I was either using my dad’s (seriously) needle nose plyers or randoms from the garage. Great upgrade, got it as part of the Ernie Ball musicians kit.

Dunlop 65 Ultimate Lemon Oil for guitars

The first product I used on the guitar was Dunlop 65 ultimate lemon oil. Why? Because I have it and it was probably free. Either that or it was purchased for office hours. The bottom line is I use it because it’s available. 

I had to do 2 full coats on the bridge and the fret board. If I had 0000 I might have given the fret board the old Freehold Music treatment, but I didn’t, so it will stay rehydrated, but with some mojo intact. After each coat, I wipe the excess with a yellow cloth.

Cleaned frets of Taylor guitar

I also sprayed the gloss top AND matte sides/back down with Ernie Ball polish. Again, I am using that because its available to me, and it does a great job none the less. It’s the first polish I have used in almost 20 years on the satin back and sides.

For cloths, I am using various thicker grey cloths, with multiple west coast pointy guitar company logos on them. These are good for wiping down the very last bit of the polish. I personally like the yellow rags better before they get all fuzzy.

Ernie Ball Paradigm Phosphor Bronz 12's
Ernie Ball Power Peg Winder

I’m tossing on Ernie Ball Paradigm Phosphor Bronz 12’s. I want a deep sounding string that will last long on this guitar. These strings will probably stay on the guitar for well over a year.

Strings go on very easily with the #1 BEST addition to my guitar tune up kit: the Ernie Ball Power Peg Winder. I do wish I had the more powerful one though. Oddly, the older Taylor Tuner buttons do not fit great into the Power Peg.

All guitars are strung up to standard, using whatever random clip tuner I have at the time. This time it’s the Ernie Ball one. It seems to do the job fine, and being the rep, I have a few around.

I top off the Freehold Music guitar spa with some finger ease and into the case with humidification it goes for the day. Later, I will pull it and do some demos to see how it sounds.

So I guess that kind of answers the question on what a 20 year MI vet uses to clean his guitars, whatever is available at the time, with a few new additions this year.