Can Guitars Go Bad?

Can Guitars Go Bad?

It is not uncommon for guitarists to come across guitars that have lost their sound quality. Many people believe the reason for this is that the instrument has become old or simply stopped working over time.

However, this isn’t actually true; it’s a common misconception about guitars going bad that could cause you to lose money and end up with an instrument that doesn’t work very well.

In reality, most guitars don’t go bad in the same way that food might go bad – the problem lies in how they are handled and stored.

This can affect their performance and even damage them permanently, as well as the individual features of a guitar such as strings, the fretboard, and pickups.

Have you ever bought a guitar, and then it just didn’t feel the same? You might have thought that your guitar went bad.

In this article, we will discuss what can cause guitars to go bad, and how you can avoid it from happening.

In a general sense, guitars do get old, as do all things. But some people are convinced that guitars get better with age, similar to fine wine. 

Acoustic guitars, in particular, have been known to sound better with age. This can usually be attributed to the type of wood that the guitar is made from. 

This is because the wood on an acoustic guitar tends to match the relative humidity of its environment if it’s kept in the same place over a long period of time and in the right humidity.

When it comes to electric guitars, the same things can be said. Again, there is a general consensus that electric guitars sound better with age.

These theories, however, have not been proven. Sometimes guitarists like the vintage sound that can be obtained from using an old guitar and because of this, they may think the sound is better. 

How to Tell if Your Guitar Is Bad

There are more than a few ways to tell if your guitar is of bad quality. Not all of these things, by themselves, mean that your guitar is necessarily bad. 

However, if your guitar shows several of these signs, then it may be time for you to get a new guitar, or at the very least, bring it to a trained professional to see if there’s anything they can do to fix the problem.

Does your guitar stay in tune? – Because of poorly placed guitar components, your guitar may be impossible to keep in tune. This is usually common with those cheap $100 guitars you can find online.

Is it incredibly hard to fret notes? – If the action is too high on your guitar, you will find it nearly impossible to fret certain chords, such as barre chords. This issue may be able to get fixed unless warp is involved.

The bridge is starting to lift. – This problem is pretty common with acoustic guitars that were cheaply made. Usually, this problem occurs when the glue holding the bridge is unstable.

Fret wear and tear. – This usually happens after numerous years of consistent playing on the same guitar. It can usually be fixed by a guitar luthier. 

Your strings constantly buzz. – This can be due to several different things from your playing technique to using bad strings and everything in between. I would narrow this down first before deciding whether or not you should get a new guitar. 

Cracks have appeared in the body, neck, sides, etc. – This is usually caused by storing your guitar in an environment that is too humid or lacks humidity. Always store your guitar in a hard case if humidity is an issue where you live. 

You dropped your guitar and it has broken. – This one is pretty self-explanatory. There’s not a whole lot you can do here.

This is just a short list of the possible signs that your guitar is either bad or of poor quality. If you paid a good amount of money for your guitar, you should definitely bring your guitar to a professional to see if it can be fixed. 

However, if you paid for one of those cheapo guitars online for $100 or even less, it’s probably the guitar itself. With cheap guitars, you get what you pay for. (most of the time)

When Should Guitar Strings Be Replaced?

The answer to this question will depend on a few factors such as type of string, length of time you’ve had them on your guitar, and how often you play them.

For strings that are uncoated, they could last between 2 to 3 months if you’re just a casual guitar player – meaning you don’t gig on a regular basis. 

Coated strings will usually last much longer – about 6 months for a non-gigging guitar player. 

If your guitar just sounds dull no matter how in tune your strings are, it may be time to change the strings. This is a common sign of old strings. 

Another sign that it’s time to change your guitar strings is if they show signs of corrosion. They are metal, after all, and corrosion can happen over time or in humid environments

The best thing to do would be to have several sets of strings on hand in case you need to change old strings or one of your strings suddenly snaps.

Nowadays, most brands package their strings in corrosion-safe packaging so they won’t sit there and rust before you can use them. 

Final Thoughts

It’s safe to say that, yes, a guitar can go bad. Most of the parts of a guitar that would go bad, however, can be easily replaced or fixed by a professional.

The part of your guitar that will go bad first will likely be your guitar strings. In fact, when you purchase a brand new guitar, the strings will probably need to be replaced, especially if it’s a cheap guitar.

And this brings me to the next point. Try hard not to buy too cheap of a guitar. Cheap guitars do not usually last very long and are not at all great for someone just starting out on their guitar journey.

A cheaply made guitar likely has poor strings and a high action which makes it difficult to fret notes. Thus, making a beginner give up before they even really get started. 

About Me

I love playing around with various types of guitar gear so I started this website to share my guitar gear knowledge with the world. Enjoy!

Affiliate Disclosure

Guitar Gear Lab is reader supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. We only recommend products we love!

Recent Posts