[–] TheBuddha 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

I've seen this before, so I'm going to go ahead and add a recommendation to this. It is well worth the short amount of time you'll need to invest. There's good history and good information.

I highly, highly recommend finding someone ahead of time. If you are going to take your playing seriously, you are eventually going to want to have an instrument repaired. It's best if they are familiar with the specific instrument. It's faster, as well.

See, there's a ton of guitar models and no one luthier is familiar with every model. They may have to research your guitar. If you have a custom piece, keep that contact information and every scrap of documentation.

When you find a good one, keep them in business. Send your guitar in for regular tune-ups, cleanings, and inspections. It's really not that expensive. I figure I might spend 5% per year, at the most, of the guitars value to keep it in peak condition.

It's not that expensive. Then, when something does happen, you have someone who knows the instrument and is very familiar with that specific instrument. Wood changes over time, folks. If you have a $5,000 Martin, spending $250 (at the most, it's never actually that high as an average) is a good investment.

Not only should you be cleaning and maintaining it, you should be sending it out to have another set of eyes on it. Having a skilled luthier is one of the things I really recommend - if you're going to be investing in expensive gear and trying to take your music serious to the point of professionalism.

It's not that expensive and it will help when the inevitable happens. This comes from decades of experience. Decades...

So, give this a watch, guitar goats. You can learn to do it on your own, and the tools don't even have to be very expensive. Even then, I still recommend sending it out once in a while. Having that extra set of eyes helps. I've had them spot cracks I missed, spot electronics issues that prevented me from having a failure later on, fix intonation issues I thought couldn't be fully resolved, etc...

I'm just going to say do it once a year if it's a guitar you play more than once a week. But, two years is probably fine. Make it five years if you seldom play it. Even if it's a case queen, send it in every five years. Keep track. Write it down. Schedule it five years in advance, whatever. If you seldom play it, they'll put tension on it and ensure things are still sound.

Remember, you get out of your guitar what you put into it.