Is it Normal For Guitars to Get Scratched? | Tips & Tricks for Guitarists

Hey there! Some links on this page are affiliate links which means that, if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!

Every guitarist values and loves their new guitar. These guitars are made with the most incredible level of artistry using time-consuming processes. Musicians will go to any lengths to prevent their guitars from being damaged by harmful factors. So, is it usual to get scratches on your guitar?

Minor guitar damages, especially scratches, are normal because it’s hard to prevent them. Daily hazards such as picks, belts, shirt hooks, or other objects can potentially cause scratches on your guitar. Taking appropriate care such as regular cleaning, storing your guitar in a cover and using a pickguard may help preserve your instrument’s aesthetic. 

If you play your guitar quite often, it’s prone to get scratches and gradually wear out unless appropriately taken care of. However, we have a few tips to protect your instruments from unnecessary scratches and dents. Keep in mind that taking care of your instrument will stay with you for a long while!

Want to see the latest guitar accessories that are popular right now? Just click here!

The Top 5 Reasons People Quit Playing the Guitar and What You Can Do to Overcome Them

How To Remove Scratches From Your Guitar?

Scratches are abrasions on the surface coating that doesn’t reach the wood beneath. Daily hazards, such as picks, belts, shirt hooks, and other objects can make a brand-new instrument seem old. Fortunately, because they are topical, scratches are usually simpler to fix.

We’ll discuss how you can remove different kinds of scratches from your guitar.

Deep Scratches and Dents

To remove deeper scratches and create a new surface, deeper scratches, like those occasionally marked by strings on headpieces, may require wet sanding with fine-grit sandpaper before buffing. It is advisable to leave this delicate task to experts.

Many fine instrument finishes have less than .010-inch thick films, making it too simple to thoroughly sand through them. This situation should be particularly avoided.

What’s great is that even a significant scratch won’t change how your guitar sounds. Nor will it disintegrate. You may just keep playing to see if you can adjust. Does it continue to upset you? Most of the time, a solution is within reach. 

You can fix scratches using a variety of online instructions and ideas. Do your research before fixing the scratches on your guitar. In addition, consider the following questions:

  • How deeply is the surface scratched? 
  • Where’s the scratch on the guitar? 
  • What kind of wood is harmed? 

Finding the best answer involves taking into account each of these elements. You require specialized tools and skills to execute these repairs on your guitar.

Finish Cracks and Scratches

Finish cracks, which means fracturing in the finish itself, make up the last broad category of scratches. When the coating is thick enough to become rigid, this damage frequently happens to guitars with thicker finishes. 

An excellent finish is light and sufficiently flexible to allow for movement when humidity and temperature vary, which causes wooden items to move and fluctuate. It won’t be able to shift with the wood if it is too thick; it will instead just crack.

Note: Please remember that we are only talking about the finish in this situation and not about fractures in the wood itself!

The ideal outcome is that it will eventually produce the smooth check design frequently desired in old guitars. However, in some situations, particularly those that result from abrupt, significant temperature changes, the cracks are far less visually pleasing.

Finish cracks may frequently be repaired by drawing a healing agent into the crack via capillary action. It’s a tried and tested method to put water-thin cyanoacrylate on coatings to vanish cracks and other issues. 

The glue is absorbed into the split, which adheres to both sides, giving the film new strength and clarity. The same method works with historical varnish, but much more caution must be used. 

Putting these glues next to the varnish can erode the finish in the area, so even a small amount might cause issues. Surface cracks can occasionally be repaired similarly by using varnish retarder, an ingredient created to prevent varnish drying while spraying.

5 Tips to Protect Your Guitar From Scratches

Some claim that a scratch gives your guitar a little extra “mojo” and charm. However, it’s preferable to take all reasonable precautions to avoid scratches from the start if you desire a guitar in “fresh condition.” These tips might be helpful:

  1. Purchase an Adequate Gig Bag

Although it may seem obvious, many guitar manufacturers do not include a complimentary gig bag. For the best protection, use a cushioned one. Put it in a protective case.

Protecting your guitar from the most challenging aspects of air travel can let you sleep well at night or throughout a journey. The best option for preserving your instrument at home is a hard case, mainly if you won’t be playing for a while.

  1. Remove The Tremolo Bar Before Storage

Ensure the tremolo bar is disconnected before placing your guitar in its box since it might shift and damage your instrument’s body.

  1. Don’t Leave Your Instrument Unattended

Keep your guitar on a stand or enclosed in a container. If you’re used to leaving your equipment on the tabletop or couch for lengthy periods, scratches won’t be the worst of your troubles. If your guitar is stored improperly, further issues, such as neck warping may occur.

  1. Get a Guitar Wall Hanging Hook

A guitar hook can considerably reduce the risk of accidents while freeing up some room in your house or studio. 

Instead of placing the instruments on a stand, hang them on the wall to make them inaccessible to kids and animals. This can also prevent toys, claws, and teeth from scratching the varnished surface.

  1. Purchase a Pickguard

Although not all musicians prefer a pickguard, you may wish to add one to yours to prevent scratches on your guitar. Choosing a transparent or “clear” pickguard will preserve the appearance of your guitar.


Q. Can a Qualified Touch-up Artist Make the Scratches on Your Guitar Go Away?

A competent touch-up artist must have knowledge of the finish’s chemical and physical qualities and insight into how the finishing and the repair will develop. Some incredibly talented touch-up artists are out there, and their work occasionally borders on magic.

The Top 5 Reasons People Quit Playing the Guitar and What You Can Do to Overcome Them
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio:

Q. Is It Possible to Polish a Guitar Without the Aid of a Pro?

Simple polishing may frequently make fine scratches vanish. Anyone who wants this should use the Novus #2 liquid polish. Buff the surface with a clean cloth and moderate pressure until the shiny gloss returns. If you’re fortunate, a minor scrape will just disappear.

Final Thoughts

If you own a guitar and are passionate about keeping it clean and aesthetic just like when you first purchased it, this article is for you. Polishing your guitar to freshen up the gloss and lacquer is the easiest way to get rid of small scratches. However, seek professional guidance if there are deeper scratches and cracks on your guitar’s wooden surface. 


Similar Posts

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments