CARING FOR YOUR GUITAR

Your guitar is made of thin wood which is easily affected by temperature and relative humidity.

This combination is the most important single part of your guitar’s surroundings. Ramirez keeps its factory at a constant 21 degrees celsius and 45-55 percent relative humidity. If either humidity or temperature varies considerably from these factory conditions, your guitar may be compromised. A rapid change in temperature or long exposure to extreme temperatures may cause small cracks in the finish.

We recommend the use of a hygrometer/thermometer to measure the relative humidity and temperature surrounding your guitar.

The best way to clean your guitar is with a warm, damp cloth. This will remove harmful chemicals. Your guitar is coated in the highest-grade finish available and is sensitive. Any type of solvent, especially those found in plastic, vinyl and leather straps, will mar the finish, as will alcohol, citric acid, aftershave lotion, insect repellent, and a number of related substances. Perspiration can also damage your guitar, so keep it dry. We recommend wiping down your instrument and strings with a soft, dry cloth before storing to remove harmful skin oils. Products containing silicone should not be used.

Tuning machines normally need very little care other than periodic lubrication. Enclosed machines, the type with a cover over the gears, are lubricated by the manufacturer, but the open type should be lubricated once or twice a year. Just put a little household petroleum jelly on the end of a toothpick and place the jelly in the gears. Be careful not to use too much because it attracts dust which can wear out the machines

Some types of machines are adjustable for ease of tuning. The open type can be made harder to turn by tightening the screw in the middle of the gear. Check this screw every time you replace the strings because it can work loose. Most enclosed machines have a screw in the end of the tuning knob that will make the machines harder to turn when the screw is tightened. Not much tension is needed, so don’t over-tigthten the adjusting screws.

The guitar probably travels more than any other musical instrument in the world, and it’ll only be a matter of time before you take yours on its first trip. If you’re going to take your guitar on the road with you, remember, it’s not just another piece of baggage. You have to make an effort to protect it.

If you’re traveling by car, don’t place your guitar ride in the trunk. It’s much safer in the back seat because most car trunks are neither heated nor ventilated, resulting in varying temperature and relative humidity. Your guitar is assembled with glues that can be affected by heat causing breakdown and loosening of glue adhesion. Most commonly affected is the bridge.

Air travel has become the most popular mode of commercial transportation, but protection of your instrument is important. Airlines don’t set out to damage guitars intentionally, but a conveyor system can’t tell a guitar from other baggage. Airlines may consider a guitar to be too fragile for their handling and may require that a waiver be signed which limits or removes their liability. Don’t sign such a document if you can avoid it. Even a hard case can’t always protect a guitar from damage from mishandling by individuals or commercial carriers.

Occasionally you can bypass the usual baggage handling system by asking to take your guitar to the boarding area where it can be tagged and hand carried to the airplane. Upon arrival, notify the flight attendant or customer service representative and try to retrieve it at the gate. Not all airlines give you this option.

There are size restrictions on carry-on luggage. It must fit in the overhead bin or under the seat ahead of you. Some flight attendants may allow you to try the overhead bin, but if it doesn’t fit, it may have to be checked as baggage. Loosening the strings and using a soft cotton packing material to keep the guitar tight in its case will decrease the possibility of damage while a guitar is in the baggage compartment. The Ramirez’s hard case will help, but a good case is not a cure-all for careless handling or accidents.

As humidity increases, moisture content of wood increases rapidly, causing it to expand and swell. A gradual increase in humidity won’t generally do permanent damage to your instrument. When very high humidity is combined with high temperature, glue joints could possibly become weakened and may even open slightly. If your guitar is exposed to high temperature or humidity for any length of time, the glue under the bridge could weaken causing the bridge to separate.

Rapid changes in relative humidity are what you want to guard against. If, for instance, you place your guitar near a source of dry heat, the humidity around it will drop much faster than it would naturally, although a sudden dry spell can have the same effect. If the moisture content of wood is rapidly decreased, cracks and severed joints may appear. Don’t place your instrument near to a source of heat or hang it on an outside wall which contains raised humidity.

Should the guitar be exposed to freezing temperatures, let it warm to room temperature while still in its case before use. This gradual rise in temperature decreases the possibility of wood and finish cracks.

Caution should be taken if you choose to use a humidifier to combat low humidity. Moisture in direct contact with the guitar could cause damage, as can the rubber or vinyl parts of a humidifier.

We recommend storing your guitar in its case when not in use. Humidity is easier to control in a smaller space. Don’t bother loosening the strings when putting your guitar away unless it won’t be used again for several months. Constantly tightening and loosening strings quickly ruins their sound.

The Ramirez hard case supports the neck and body of your guitar as evenly as possible. It’s important that you don’t let anything lie under the head (the tuning machine end), as this could damage the neck and body.

Repairs to your instrument should be performed by an authorised Luthier.

The strings are held in place at the bridge by a small notch at the front of each bridge pin. It is important that the pin slot be facing straight forward so the string is properly aligned on the bridge saddle. Make sure that the ball end of the string is pulled up tightly against the inside of the top before inserting the bridge pin.

Too often bridge pins are hammered in so hard that they become wedged and split the bridge. After inserting the string and pin, a solid push with your thumb is all that is needed. The endpin is tapered and is wedged into the bottom end of the guitar. It is not glued in. It should be checked frequently to make sure it has not worked loose.

Download this book written and illustrated by Amalia Ramirez.

José Ramírez Guitars are carefully inspected in their Spanish workshop and re-inspected in South Africa, before making them available to our customers, to ensure that no faults are present. The warranty covers any construction defect, which may occur within a maximum period of two years, of date of sale, according to EU Law.  This guarantee is only applicable to the retail purchaser and does not extend to subsequent owners. Proof of purchase, (a store receipt) is required from an authorised South African Dealer, when registering a claim with the RSA Distributors, Pianoforte Pty Ltd.

Guitar Care
Wood is a hygroscopic material, which is sensitive to environmental changes. As the owner of a finely crafted instrument, it is your responsibility to keep the guitar at property humidity levels, otherwise problems may occur. Please see below

Exclusions
The warranty does not cover:

  1. Any damage caused by improper care including, improper storage, exposure to extreme
    temperatures, and extremities of relative humidity, neglect, abuse and misuse.
  2. Damage resulting from exposure to climatic conditions outside the range of 21 degrees Celsius and 45% relative humidity. Exposure of the instrument to climatic conditions outside of this range may cause the following maladies:
    1. Movement of the fret-board with undesirable impact on the sound.
    2. Buzzing and decrease in sound.
    3. Playability of the instrument, if the action gets too high or too low.
    4. Separation of joints and cracks.
    5. Finish issues developing such as cloudiness or irregularities.
    6. Other issues not described herein, which may be caused by improper care.
  3. Damage or alterations on the label.
  4. Any damage caused by an accident or mistreatment of the instrument during transportation.
  5. The warranty is void if the guitar has been repaired, whenever such repair, altered or the installation of any element, which has not been done in the Ramirez Workshop in Madrid, or in a workshop expressly authorised by Ramirez Guitars.
  6. This warranty does not cover any collateral damage that may occur as a result from use or performance of the instrument.

Warranty claims must be lodged, in writing, with Pianoforte Pty. Ltd. (SOUTH AFRICAN DISTRIBUTOR), by submitting the original document or copy of the purchase of the instrument and details of the claim.

Note
Shipping costs and insurance are the responsibility of the original purchaser. To ensure safe transit between South Africa and Spain, the instrument must be packed safely, in a hard shell case and adequately insured, as we accept no liability of return shipping damage. Upon receipt of the guitar Ramirez Guitars will determine if the guitar meets the warranty stipulated above.  If, at the sole discretion of Ramirez Guitars, the  warranty conditions are met, repairs will be effected at no charge and return shipping will be paid by Ramirez Guitars.