How To Clean Bass Guitar

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I don’t think it is any secret that after playing your bass guitar for a while, it gets dirty. Although it doesn’t look pleasant when your instrument looks dirty, cleaning it is imperative. Not everyone knows how to clean bass guitar. It is one thing to play perfectly but are you taking care of your guitar.

Taking care of my bass guitar is something I value so much because it helps keep it in shape. There are several ways to clean the guitar, but when I want to clean it quickly, I remove the strings and wide using a paper towel or a damp microfiber. If you want to do this, I advise you to dry other metal parts of the guitar, including strings, pickups, screws, etc., to avoid rusting.

Nevertheless, if I want to perfect a thorough cleaning, I have to clean every component. I will share how to clean bass guitar in this write-up, including all the components. Firstly, let’s look at the items you need to perform this thorough cleaning.

What you need

  • Dry paper towels
  • Water
  • Microfiber cloths
  • GHS fast fret
  • Any cleaner (I am using MusicNomad All in 1 Cleaner)

You can use any cleaner of your choice. There are other additional items I use to clean my bass guitar. These include a mechanical pencil, fine-grade steel wool, and lemon oil. It’s not compulsory to get these items, but they come in handy if you want to clean the headstock and neck.

Preparing for the cleaning process

Before starting cleaning your bass guitar, I recommend you wash your hands using soap and warm water. In addition, ensure it is dry before you start, as it will remove any oil or nasty sweat accumulated on your hand. While it might sound awkward, it makes the cleaning process easier.

Cleaning the Strings

I assume you have to remove the strings on your bass guitar because I will share how to clean all the necessary components. Although I don’t clean my strings, if you decide to do so, you double the lifespan of your guitar. With that sorted out, here are a few ways I clean my strings, even though I don’t do it often.

Firstly, I use alcohol to wipe the string as it tends to remove oil and dirt on the strings. I prefer this method because it makes the strings sound like a new strings when playing. However, remember not to allow any alcohol drop to remain as it can cause rust after some time.

The other method I use to clean the bass guitar string is to boil the strings. I know it sounds foreign, but it does work to keep the string new. Just put the strings inside low boiled water and allow them to stay for 15 minutes. Allow it to cool and clean with a dry cloth. Ensure to clean the water properly to prevent rusting over time.

Cleaning the headstock

After cleaning the string, the next thing I clean is the headstock. The machine heads are the first thing I usually clean. I understand cleaning the headstock sound odd. Well, it is also known as the tuners. I usually use a damp cloth to wipe this area. Alternatively, you can use water, but I recommend trying any good all-purpose cleaner.

Furthermore, I lubricate the nuts using a mechanical pencil. I rub graphite in all the grooves in the nut and wipe excess graphite powder using a microfiber cloth. In most cases, I do this once a year to keep the headstock clean.

Cleaning the neck

The next item I clean is my bass guitar neck. I hope you are following the steps on how to clean bass guitar the right way. With this, your guitar will last better. Although I won’t cover all the frets and fretboard, a basic cleaning should do the magic. However, if you decide to clean the fret, you should clean in between the frets because dirt accumulates a lot in that area. A damp clean cloth can do the job here.

Cleaning the body

Whether you think it is stressful cleaning your guitar or not, you have to do it the right way. The body is the most important part I clean because it takes longer than the headstock and neck. Here, you need to clean the pickups, saddles, bridges, strap buttons, etc.

These involve several processes that I won’t talk about in this article. In our next article, I will explain how to clean bass guitar body – all components. However, you can use the all-purpose cleaner and a damp cloth for the general body.

Jim Henneberry

Jim Henneberry

I love playing my guitar, and my kids got hooked along with me.
This is a family thing now - why don't you join the family fun? :)