It’s only been a couple of months since you bought your new guitar and already it looks like you’ve been playing on it for years and years. Heck! You haven’t even been playing for that long.
But at least you can take solace in the fact that you’re not the only one. This happens a lot more often than you think.
As great as guitars look in the store, the wood can degrade quickly if you don’t take good care of it.
I’ve already talked about cleaning products in a previous article, but now it’s time to go deeper. You have to polish your guitar to get the original shine. More than that, you’ve got to do it if you want to preserve the quality of the wood, the feel, etc.
6 Best Guitar Polish & Cleaner Solutions
Check out my favorite guitar polish so that you can be on your way to restoring your guitar to its former glory.
Table of Contents
- 6 Best Guitar Polish & Cleaner Solutions
- Number One Reason to Polish
- Fast Fingers
- Maintaining Sound Quality
- Silicone or No Silicone?
- Matching the Polish to the Finish
Hosa sells the Lizard Spit guitar polish in 4-ounce spray bottles. Right off the bat, this is a very convenient guitar polish to use. The spray delivery system can help you by preventing uneven or excessive application in sensitive areas.
Once applied, the polymers in the polish will do a good job of delaying dust buildup. It will even protect against fingerprints for a while. Of course, if you play with greasy fingers, which you shouldn’t, it won’t help against that.
This is one of my favorites and also one of the cheaper single-purpose guitar polish sprays on the market. It’s both easy to spread and fairly easy to remove. That’s because the formula doesn’t use silicone. Note that it’s best to apply this either in light sprays or by spraying on a cloth first before using it to polish your guitar. Especially if the wood has an open pores finish.
If you’ve successfully used Music Nomad guitar cleaning products in the past, you should know what to expect of the MN150, also known as Guitar One (like Air Force One, maybe?).
This is an all-in-one cleaner, definitely worth getting in the 12-ounce bottle. The spray delivery system will help you spread the formula evenly in the tightest spaces. The formula works great on glossy guitars. If you have a matte guitar, this is probably not for you.
As an all-in-one cleaner, the MN150 offers more benefits than a traditional guitar polish. For example, this cleaning solution also adds a UV protective coating to the guitar body. It’s definitely something you need if you often rehearse or play live gigs outside.
This guitar polish comes in a 6-ounce spray bottle. It’s slightly pricier than similar products but it also does two jobs simultaneously. This should make up for the higher initial investment, don’t you agree?
The formula’s main purpose is cleaning. It’s great at removing dust, prints, grime, and other common buildups. However, as it cleans it also restores the guitar’s shine, leaving behind not just a spotless piece of wood but also a brighter piece of wood.
I like this solution for one more reason. It’s a formula that you don’t have to be extra careful about not getting it on the strings. You can spray your whole guitar and rub away stress-free. You’ll use it up sooner but it won’t leave any waxy residues on the strings that would require additional cleaning.
If you have a Gibson laying around that needs a makeover, the Gibson Guitar Polish might be the product for you. The formula is ideal for nitrocellulose finishes. This is not to say that it won’t work on a satin or glossy finish.
But, you really get your money’s worth when polishing a nitrocellulose finish. A little goes a long way too. Although this comes in a 4-ounce spray bottle, you’ll find that you only need to use a very small amount to get that classic Gibson shine back.
Another thing that I like about this polish is how well it preserves the smell of a guitar. Mind you, it won’t restore it if you’d stopped cleaning your guitar years ago. But, it will help to maintain the lacquer smell of a new Gibson for years to come.
Even though you don’t need to use too much of it, it’s best to use the polish every time you change your strings or after cleaning your guitar. Avoid getting the formula on the strings as it may leave a thick residue that can affect your playing and the sound.
This is a good guitar polish that comes in a 4-ounce bottle. It’s cheap and designed to accommodate a wide range of instruments, not just your favorite 6-string.
The formula is friendly to all types of guitar finishes, be it glossy, nitrocellulose, or satin. It can be used on the fretboard and the body. But, it doesn’t double as a cleaning agent, so you might want to avoid spraying it on the strings.
If this is your first time buying a guitar polish, you should know that Ernie Ball throws in a microfiber cloth with this purchase. It’s soft and large enough to lessen your workload. It’s also the only thing you should use on the guitar to avoid scratching it or removing the polish.
Because of how few chemicals are used in the formula, this guitar polish only brings out the shine without affecting the colors in any way.
Like most other guitar polish products, the Eternashine Guitar Polish and Scratch Remover can do more than one thing. Its formula doesn’t contain silicone, which means that you won’t have to worry about scrubbing the wood too hard.
Furthermore, this polish also has good restorative properties. No matter how hard you try to go easy on your guitar, eventually you will get some scratches. Even from regular playing. This product can help you restore the look of your guitar by hiding or removing small scratches.
The formula has been designed to work on any color. However, it’s best used on very glossy guitars if you want to maintain a natural-looking shine. As an added bonus, you also get a microfiber cloth, and a good one at that. It’s soft and great for servicing your guitar at every restringing.
Number One Reason to Polish
Although robust, guitars have plenty of sensitive components, especially electric guitars. The accumulation of dust and dirt does more than ruining the look of a guitar but also the electric circuitry. Using a guitar polish on the body will prevent dust buildup.
Not entirely of course, but it will make a significant difference nonetheless. If you regularly polish your guitar, you will find that you won’t have to clean it as often.
Using guitar polish on your instrument is not just a great way of treating the fretboard. It is also a process which ensures that you can slide your fingers more easily up and down the neck.
While it’s true that not every guitarist will appreciate a slippery, smooth guitar. But if your goal is to play fast and shred for hours, it is important to maintain a smooth fretboard.
Maintaining Sound Quality
Any buildup of grime on the guitar will also alter the way it sounds. Using guitar polish and oils can help maintain the quality of the wood, prevent scratching, and most importantly, prevent any unwanted ringing or distortion when you plug your guitar into an amp and crank up the overdrive knob.
Silicone or No Silicone?
Many guitarists still use silicone-based products to polish their guitars. While they are superb at maintaining that iconic gloss and shine, the use of silicone can lead to some complications.
Because silicone leaves a thick residue, it may be hard to use glue for small repairs jobs. It may also require you to adjust the bridge height to separate the fretboard and the strings.
Of course, you could always use two polish products. Whenever you’re using the silicone bottle, use it on parts of the guitar that won’t be affected by a thicker residue.
Matching the Polish to the Finish
This is something that can scare a lot of musicians. How to pair a guitar polish to the wood and finish of the guitar?
There’s no hidden science behind this. Most manufacturers state clearly on the label of their polish the compatible types of guitar.
Rub New Life into Your Guitar
Whether you have a glossy or a matte-finished guitar, cleaning it is not enough if you want it to look and play good.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to pick the right polish for your guitar. Get the best finish and extend the life of your guitar.