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Gibson.com  >  Service > Owners Info Guide > Caring for the Finish

Caring for the Finish of your Instrument

Your Gibson instrument is 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. This finish, much like skin, requires regular care and maintenance. For this reason, only Gibson Instrument Care Products should be used on ALL Gibson instruments, as Gibson Polishes are also made with a nitro-cellulose base. Using other types of polishes at best will clog the pores of the finish, and at worst, melt the finish.

Exposure to certain synthetic materials, leather straps, and cushions such as those found on some instrument stands could adversely effect the finish. To insure your finish maintains its beauty, please 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 we recommend the Gibson Family of Polishes:

A rapid change in temperature or humidity can result in small cracks in the finish known as "finish checking". In most cases it 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 the appearance. To eliminate the possibility of this happening to your instrument we recommend you warm it slowly 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.