Purchasing a good guitar is always a good investment if you are interested in music. If you’re buying a guitar, it is obvious that you will want your guitar to last for a decent amount of time.
While making the purchase decision, you probably wondered, “How long do guitars last?” Or how long will your guitar be playable?
Well, the answer is a bit complex and depends on several factors.
To be very specific, The average lifespan of an inexpensive acoustic classical guitar, the best guess would be approximately 10 years. On the other hand, even inexpensive electric guitars will survive much longer, more or less 20-30 years.
However, as I already mentioned, there are several factors behind the longevity of your instrument. Such as, how frequently they are in use, if you properly maintain them or not, which strings you use, and so on.
Here, I discussed almost all the topics you need to know before you invest in a guitar.
Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’re going to have a detailed idea regarding the lifespan of guitars (electric, acoustic, and classical), their maintenance, and the factors affecting their lifetime.
How Long Would an Electric Guitar Last?
In the first case scenario, you are a professional guitar player and bring your guitar to all the concerts you perform at. You have the habit of continuing to bang your guitar after every concert.
In that case, your guitar is not going to last more than a decade.
However, in another scenario, you’re just an average guitar player who plays guitar occasionally. If so, you can easily make your guitar last a lifetime!
The wood can be another important factor behind it. If your guitar is made with a plank of good wood, your guitar can last a lifetime as well.
But an electric guitar is constructed of more than just wood. It has pegheads and tuners, fingerboard inlays, frets, a pickup switch, a Tune-O-Matic bridge, volume and tone knobs, a pickguard, and several more elements. The electric guitar’s components all work together to make it function.
Even if the body itself may last a lifetime, small parts like frets and pickups may wear out easily due to frequent use.
So, if you want your electric guitar to last a lifetime, you must repair those worn-out parts.
What Factors Influence the Lifespan of an Electric Guitar?
Temperature and humidity are crucial considerations for electric guitars. Even though your guitar is largely built of solid wood, this will have little effect on its longevity.
The bodies of most electric guitars are made of thicker pieces of wood. Humidity, on the other hand, will affect the metal elements of your guitar.
The stress on the neck itself is much lower with electric guitars, so the neck is less likely to deform or become damaged.
Furthermore, when it comes to the body of the guitar, the producers frequently apply a finish to the instrument. As a result, the wood is not immediately exposed to fluctuations in temperature or humidity in the environment.
It is obvious that, with careful maintenance, the guitar may last you for an entire lifetime. There is a reason why there are so many items dedicated to guitar care and maintenance.
Looking at them, we can see that there are humidifiers that can control the humidity in the air and keep the wood “nourished.” Furthermore, you may acquire lubricants to preserve the fretboard, neck, and any metal portion of the instrument. In this manner, you will be able to safeguard the guitar and keep it in good shape for a long time.
By using one of the cleaners, you will ensure that there are no traces of rust on metal elements such as the bridge, tuning pegs, and so on.
What’s more, you won’t have to undertake extensive cleaning and maintenance every day, or even every month. By doing regular maintenance, you can be sure that your guitar will last for a long time.
Of course, if we are talking about high-end guitars, the materials used to create them will be of the highest quality, so there will be no doubt that the guitar will be able to perform perfectly even after a century!
There are so many Fenders from the fifties on the market today, and they remain rather expensive. Not only do they look great, but the quality of the sound remains perfect.
How Long Would an Acoustic Guitar Last?
Most acoustic guitars can last a lifetime if maintained properly.
Even cheap electric guitars will be able to last a lot longer, around 20 to 30 years under some conditions.
Of course, if we’re talking about high-end guitars, acoustic guitars will last a lifetime.
With similarity to electric guitars, with proper care and maintenance, you can surely prolong the life of the guitar. It is no secret that after five or ten years, your acoustic guitar will sound a bit different.
But there is more good news. Acoustic guitars start sounding better with age if maintained properly and accurately.
However, in order to maintain your guitar’s sound quality, you need to change the strings or the fretboards on a yearly basis, depending on the usage of your instrument!
What Factors Influence the Lifespan of an Acoustic Guitar?
Humidity and heat can have a significant influence on the instrument. If you expose your acoustic guitar to extreme temperatures, the glue may fail, causing the bridge to fall out and your guitar to be damaged.
Furthermore, you should avoid exposing your instrument to excessive heat at all times. An automobile is one example. Cars may become pretty hot in the summer, and keeping your instrument inside can be disastrous.
Naturally, this sounds awful, and it appears that purchasing the guitar is a bad investment, but this is not the case. You can do a lot to guarantee that your guitar lasts a long time without having to buy an expensive one.
The guitar strings can have a significant influence on the instrument’s lifespan. Make sure to replace the strings on a regular basis because they might lose their mechanical qualities over time.
The finish on the body is much thinner than on electric guitars, so the wood will be more visible. You may always purchase oils and other wood-protection treatments. Also, one of the most common mistakes made by novices is not properly preserving their instruments.
When not in use, the instrument should always be carefully preserved. Another string-related point is that you may always use thinner strings, and you should remember to loosen them if you aren’t going to be playing the guitar for a long time.
Finally, appropriate cleaning and care can allow you to extend the life of your instrument. There are so many guitars that have been passed down from generation to generation, proving that acoustic guitars may endure for a long time.
Naturally, the more costly ones will endure longer because the wood used to make them is the best on the market.
How Long Would a Classical Guitar Last?
Well, if you are a professional and you need to play your instrument on a regular basis, your guitar may last up to 30 years. But, of course, for that, you need to take care of your classical guitar properly.
Even if you are not a professional, if your instrument is properly maintained, it is going to last more than 30 years.
But classical guitars get better with age when they are made of quality wood and have been well-cared-for.
They sound better because, as the wood ages, its natural properties change, and it becomes dryer, lighter, and more resonant.
What Factors Influence the Lifespan of a Classical Guitar?
When it comes to wood, classical guitars are identical to acoustic guitars. However, because nylon strings are used in classical guitars, the stress on the neck is much lower. As a consequence, the instrument will survive a little longer.
As with the preceding cases, careful attention is essential. If you devote enough time and attention to your instrument, it will surely survive for a long time.
Naturally, some repairs or changes may be required, but keep in mind that this is very natural.
Guitars do age, and many players think that they improve with time. If you just have one guitar, you will become accustomed to it and all of its imperfections, making it difficult to locate something that can compete with your beloved instrument.
Factors Affecting a Guitar’s Lifespan
Previously, I have already discussed the factors that usually influence a guitar’s lifespan, be it a classical, electric, or acoustic guitar.
We can easily come to the conclusion that there are a few affecting factors that are more or less common in every sort of guitar.
Here are some factors that may play a role in the determination of the lifespan of a guitar:
If you have a guitar, knowing how to preserve it properly would be beneficial. If you aren’t playing your guitar, you must keep it in its case.
When storing it, it should be standing up rather than lying down. Its string tension on its neck should also be maintained.
However, you should loosen them up to two steps while storing them, as they don’t require regular tension. The neck, on the other hand, may bend if there is no strain.
To ensure a steady storage temperature, place your instrument in a room or closet near the middle of the building rather than outside the wall.
If you live in an area where the weather varies frequently, properly storing your guitar will help it stay in working order.
Humidity is another element that might shorten the life of your guitar. It has the potential to become your guitar’s worst enemy, causing significant damage in a short amount of time. If you reside near the coast or in a location with harsh winters, your guitar is likely to be damaged by humidity.
Guitar wood tends to absorb moisture from the air. The neck of the guitar may swell if it collects a lot of moisture. It’s important to note that any modification to the design of the guitar will have a substantial impact on its functionality and tone.
Low humidity, on the other hand, might have an impact on your instrument, since it can cause it to break. Heat can cause moisture to evaporate, causing your guitar’s wood to dry up.
Daylight and Temperature
Temperature and sunlight are two more elements that might shorten the life of your guitar. Temperature fluctuations may cause problems with your guitar’s many components.
Rapid temperature variations might cause your guitar’s wood to expand or contract. Aside from the tuning pegs, frets, pickups, and plastic parts, rapid temperature fluctuations can also impact them. A guitar should be kept at a temperature that is neither too hot nor too cold.
Apart from the issue of temperature, there is also the issue of sunshine. UV rays may fade the color of the guitar and loosen the strings, glue, and frets. It can also cause photooxidation and photodegradation. As a result, when storing your instrument, keep it away from direct sunlight.
Guitars will decline in quality if kept outside due to a variety of environmental elements such as humidity, temperature, UV radiation, and others. It might, however, be valuable for a long time if properly preserved and cared for.
Things You Should Never Do with Your Guitar
Normally, you would do things to your guitar that are harmful to its upkeep.
Here are a few things you should avoid when playing your guitar:
Do Not Allow Your Guitar to Be Exposed to Excessive Humidity & Temperature Changes
Guitars, like grand pianos, are subject to temperature and humidity fluctuations since they are largely comprised of wood.
You’ll notice that acoustic guitars come with silica bags when you buy one. You may believe it is a free gift, but it is not. Its purpose is to absorb moisture.
Keep in mind that excessive temperature changes and a lack of humidification are the two most common causes of guitar damage.
Experts recommend that you store your instrument in a humidified atmosphere with a humidity level of 40–50%.
Avoid Using Water while Cleaning Your Guitar
When cleaning your guitar, avoid using water. Instead, use water-based cleansers.
However, you should not use them directly on your guitar’s surface. Instead, spritz them on a towel to remove any debris that is water-soluble.
If you have a matte-finish guitar, stay away from the creamy polishes since they have a small abrasive texture that can harm the finish.
It’s important to realize that guitars aren’t completely waterproof.
As a result, if you clean your acoustic guitar with water, you risk short-circuiting the wiring. Furthermore, if you put water on an acoustic guitar, you risk ruining the wood and damaging the instrument.
Avoid using Furniture Polish, Window Cleaner, or Soap on Your Guitar
On your guitar, avoid applying furniture polish, window cleaner, or any kind of soap.
It will help if you only utilize goods that professionals recommend. Please do not attempt to clean your guitar using unproven substances, as you may end up hurting it.
Avoid using a tissue or paper towel to clean your guitar
Tissues might have a rough surface that can scratch the finish on your guitar. As a result, you should avoid cleaning the outside layer of your guitar with them.
Furthermore, you should avoid using a paper towel since it may harm the finish of your instrument. Instead, use a soft microfiber or cotton cloth.
Do Not Use Compressed Air to Dust Your Guitar
You might believe that, because your guitar has electronics inside, you can dust it with compressed air. However, if you use compressed air, the dust may be blown farther into the guitar’s inner workings.
Furthermore, pressurized air may leak liquid after each usage. The finish of your guitar may be harmed by this fluid.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Guitars Wear Out?
The short answer is yes. Guitars do wear out. Even if you take the best care of it, there are still things that you can’t change. One of the best examples is frets. Whatever guitar you use, there will be friction between the strings and the metal part of the frets, and over time they will wear out. This is especially noticeable with steel-stringed instruments. Sooner or later, you will need to replace the frets. And the worst thing is that you can do that only a limited number of times. Both frets and fretboard wear from use, and eventually, if the guitar is played enough, re-fretting will be impossible.
Can A Guitar Last a Lifetime?
The answer is both yes and no. If you have only one guitar and play it every day, the chances that the guitar will last you for a lifetime are slim.
However, with proper care, it can last for a big part of it.
Most people that are playing guitar for several hours each day own several guitars, so if this is the case, then the answer is probably yes. One of the arguments you could have is that you need more guitars so they could last longer.
Do Guitars Get Better with Age?
Older guitars often sound better than newer ones as they dry out over time, which causes them to become harder, leading to a more resonant tone with better sustain.
However, the increase in age affects the tone more in acoustic guitars than in electric ones.
As I previously mentioned, everything that is properly maintained may last a lifetime. In the same manner, knowing the above-mentioned elements that may harm your guitar and avoiding them can help you keep your instrument looking fantastic and performing well. If you want to extend the life of your guitar, you need to learn how to properly care for it.
The question of how long your guitar will survive would very certainly evoke a variety of responses. However, the solutions are all dependent on how you care for your instrument. You may always anticipate a longer lifespan for your guitar, but only if you take care of it properly.