Care and Feeding
PROPER CARE GUIDELINES FOR YOUR NEW RHEMA GUITAR
Please take the time to read all the information below.
"Proper Care Guidelines" and all Amendments if any, which I include with all new Rhema Guitar paperwork. I express to my customers that after they buy my guitars and the guitar leaves my shop, my policy is that the original owner and I remain in a sort of permanent "partnership" that insures the future and ongoing well-being of this rather fragile and highly-optimized instrument. This "partnership" will be in force as long as they own their Rhema Guitar. My role in the partnership is to cheerfully and promptly repair or refurbish any fault of mine in the construction or design of the instrument, and the original owner’s role is to strictly follow the "Proper Care Guidelines." If there is evidence that the customer has not kept up his/her role in the partnership, i.e., followed the guidelines, I will charge for the repair. This is a fair system for all parties and works rather well.
KEEP YOUR INSTRUMENT IN A PROPER HARD CASE WHEN NOT IN USE
The case acts as a "shock absorber" for damaging temperatures, humidity shifts, and against physical damage. Repair shops are kept busy by instrument owners who leave their instrument on their bed or leaning up against the wall. Remember, the best way to protect the outside of the instrument is the case. The finish is not a protector, it's simply for keeping dirt off the wood, and for making it look pretty. The instrument should only be in two places: in your arms or IN THE CASE. Instruments on stands are ok, until you walk into them. Keep the instrument/case away from heat sources. Storing or transporting the instrument in a soft, padded gig bag voids the warranty.
PROTECT YOUR INSTRUMENT AGAINST EXCESSIVE DRYNESS
As soon as the furnace in your home heats up, the air starts to bake dry. A dry environment for your instrument causes its wood to shrink. The instrument's design and construction allows its plates to "move" to some extent in response to humidity shifts, but prolonged and chronic dryness will cause them to eventually crack. If you can't humidify the air in your house during the heating season with a humidifier, then at least keep a moist sound hole humidifier in the instrument throughout the heating season. Ideally, it is best to keep your guitar humidified to between 45 and 60% humidity for the optimal environment. Protruding fret-ends, dropped action, shrunken glue seams, wood cracks are evidence of excessive dryness. Failure to keep the instrument appropriately humidified during the winter heating season voids the Warranty. (This tends to not be an issue in environments that are normally 60% humidity or above year round). A humidifier in your home or studio is an excellent idea, as long as its humidistat is adjusted and set correctly. Place the instrument across the room from the humidifier. It is common for an instrument stored in an excessively high humidity environment for the wood to swell and the action to become higher than normal. Slowly bringing it back to recommended humidity levels will allow your guitar to return to normal. This instrument was constructed and maintained in a shop with a constant 40 – 45% humidity. This is the ideal level for construction.
PROTECT YOUR INSTRUMENT FROM TEMPERATURE SHOCKS
Allowing the instrument to freeze and then exposing it to sudden extreme heat WILL crack your instrument.
Example: after leaving your instrument in the trunk of the car overnight in the wintertime, the frozen instrument is then brought inside and pulled out of its case to play in front of a raging wood stove or furnace… CRACK! If the instrument feels icy to the touch, return it to its' case and place it in a cooler room until it warms slowly.
PROTECT YOUR INSTRUMENT FROM FREQUENT FREEZING
The instrument can be frozen without damage (see previous paragraph for exception). However, frequent freezing and thawing will cause unsightly "spider-webbing" in the case of lacquer, polyurethanes, or shellac to appear in the finish: it's the wood moving under the thin, glass-like finish.
PROTECT YOUR INSTRUMENT FROM EXCESSIVE HEAT
As long as it's placed in a well-ventilated area, the instrument can withstand heat up to 110º Fahrenheit. (Above that temperature the glue will begin to release). In a closed automobile or in a windowed alcove, the direct rays of the sun can raise the temperature to that level and beyond, seriously damaging your instrument.
PROTECT THE INSTRUMENT FROM INCOMPETENT REPAIRS
Entrust the repair and adjustment to only those persons who have long experience working on the finest instruments and who are recommended without qualification. Future problems arising from shoddy repair work done previously may likely void the Warranty and will not be corrected within its terms.
DO NOT WORRY ABOUT DIRT, NICKS, BUMPS OR SCRATCHES IN THE FINISH
You'd be surprised at the lengths that instrument owners will go to, to forbid any evidence of use or wear on their instruments. But beware, these lengths may be more harmful than the wear itself. Normally, dirt and scratches will in no way harm or threaten the instrument. The instrument's finish is principally cosmetic. It simply provides a barrier film for dirt and water stains. The finish is NOT intended or expected to protect the instrument from excessive humidity and dryness, cracking or any other damage (note that all the interior surfaces of the sound box are unfinished). It is the owner who should protect the instruments from these assaults, not the finish. The finish, however is cleanable and repairable, but does not require waxes, polishes or oils in order to be "replenished" or "fed." If need be, a barely damp sponge can be used to occasionally remove dirt accumulation. Occasionally, a fine abrasive liquid cleaning compound such as Martin or Gurian "cleaner" can be used to remove fine scratches and scuff marks on lacquer or poly finishes but not on oil or shellac finishes. DO NOT buy or use any aerosol product, or any product with alcohols or solvents no matter what the salesman says. They usually contain silicones which wreak havoc by making future repair work all but impossible. Alcohol will destroy a shellac finish if not properly used by a qualified finish technician. Evidence of slick silicone polish voids the Warranty. Fingerboards can be periodically scrubbed clean with 000 steel wool and a bit of natural turpentine, followed by the application of a good quality fingerboard oil. (Stewart MacDonald Fretboard Oil is a good one) Buff excess off with a soft rag before re-stringing.