The guitar is a great instrument to pick up. I, personally, picked it up over 5 years ago, and I had no idea that there was such a degree of maintenance when it came to the guitar. Obviously I knew that the guitar would need new strings once in awhile, but there were additional measures that I had never even thought of that had to be kept in mind. Over time the guitar, just from regular maintenance, can get somewhat expensive, but it’s still definitely worth it.
The general starting costs when someone starts guitar are pretty hefty. Obviously you’ll need to purchase the guitar, an amplifier (granted you’re purchasing an electric guitar), guitar cable(s), guitar picks, and a few other things. Then there’s the optional (yet nice to have) components such as distortion and effects pedals, an array of special guitar picks (click here how to find the right guitar pick for you), and other special accessories for your guitar. Also, you’ll definitely want a guitar tuner as well, as you won’t be able to tune your guitar by ear if you’re just starting out. Keep in mind that some amplifiers come with built in guitar tuners as well.
But aside from those general start-up costs there are maintenance costs as well. You’ll need to get your guitar restrung monthly, and you’ll need a guitar setup about four times a year (I was told it was best to get my guitar setup every season). A guitar setup is where they do an array of maintenance procedures to your guitar such as a basic restring, cleaning, and checking the alignment of the guitar neck.
The biggest basic operation for properly maintaining your guitar is getting new strings every month or so. If you take it to your local music/guitar shop they’ll charge a fee, plus the cost of strings. It is best to learn how to restring your guitar by yourself, especially since you WILL break strings numerous times – especially when you’re just starting out and you don’t know how to use adequate strumming strength. Some guitars are harder to restring than others, and this may cost you additional money if you take a guitar for new strings (or for a broken string). For example, my Jackson guitar has a Floyd Rose bridge, so it’s more of a hassle to change the strings, therefore the shop generally charges me slightly more for the hassle.
Another simple task to keep your guitar properly maintained is to keep is clean and free of dust. Back when I started out guitar my toggle switch for my pick-ups got a lot of dust in it and actually had to be replaced. So dust and clean your guitar once in awhile.
One accessory that is practically a MUST to invest in is a guitar stand. How does this come into effect when it comes to properly maintaining your guitar? It’s a proactive measure to ensure that the guitar doesn’t fall over and break (a lot of people merely lean their guitars on walls or other objects, and I’ve personally seen many guitars fall over. I’ve even seen someone have their headstock broken this way). Plus having a guitar stand looks more professional, and they’re relatively cheap. There are even guitar stands out there that mount to walls, and other stands that hold multiple guitars.
Aside from the guitar itself, it’s very important to properly maintain your accessories as well. Properly coil wires when they’re not in use, check guitar picks for sharp rigid edges from playing, and dust your amplifier, tuner, and pedals.