Thank you for investing in a Bourgeois Guitar. It was designed to make beautiful, resonant, responsive music, and with proper care, will continue to do so for longer than your lifetime.
Bourgeois Guitars are built from carefully sourced wood, purchased from suppliers that we personally know and trust. The wood is stored, cured and seasoned with all possible care.
HUMIDITY & TEMPERATURE:
Humidity, temperature and storage are the keys to a long and happy relationship with your guitar.
Your guitar was built in Lewiston, Maine in a climate of 45% average relative humidity, with temperature between 65 and 70 degrees.
Guitars tend to be comfortable in the same environments in which their owners are comfortable. If guitars get too hot or cold, too dry or humid, they will be adversely affected. A good understanding of your guitar’s environment, no matter where you live, is essential to its care.
For most guitars, relative humidity (RH) between 40% and 60%, at around 70 degrees, is a comfortable range. Factors such as age, model and wood species contribute to how a guitar reacts to environmental stress. Guitars are most sensitive and require the most care and monitoring in the first year after completion.
More important than absolute relative humidity, is rate of change. Extremes of humidity or temperature are never good, but rapid changes of either of these conditions will cause the worst and sometimes permanent damage to your guitar.
Low Humidity can cause many problems such as shrinkage of bindings, cracks to wood, fret ends sticking out, low action with lots of buzzing.
High Humidity can cause swelling glue joints, glue failure, bridge failure, and swollen tops and high action.
Keep your guitar in a case when you aren’t playing it. The case is your best protection against changes in temperature and humidity. Hanging a guitar on the wall, or storing near a heat source (forced air, wood stove etc), or air conditioner is the cause of many woes including protruding fret ends, body cracks and bridge failure. For gigs, traveling and other times your guitar will be out in the weather or extremes of temperature and humidity, make sure to let your guitar adjust to the new conditions before taking it out of the case or, if shipped to you, before taking it out of the shipping box.
While important to control the environment inside your guitar case, regulating the environment in the room where your guitar is usually kept is optimum. Know the relative humidity and temperature of the room where your guitar is stored. Purchase a good hygrometer and thermometer for that room and keep an eye on it.
If using in-case humidification/dehumidification, it is important to follow the manufacturers’ recommendations and user instructions. It is also important to check your guitar daily. We can recommend the Oasis humidification system and the Planet Waves Humidipak. The Humidipak both humidifies and dehumidifies. Remember, soundhole humidifiers work well while delivering moisture, but once dry, they can act like a sponge and actually remove moisture, so monitor closely.
Whether you control climate in the room or in the case, we recommend using an in-case hygrometer and thermometer and checking them regularly.
And a last bit of advice, never ever travel with your guitar in the trunk of your car.
CLEANING YOUR GUITAR:
Wipe your guitar clean after playing with a soft, dry cloth, such as a microfiber polishing cloth, or a well-washed cotton tee-shirt.
In general, it is not necessary to use “cleaning products” on your guitar. When need arises, most well-known brands of cleaner made specifically for cleaning guitars can be used on Bourgeois guitars without causing damage to finish.
Most polishes and waxes made specifically for guitars are safe. Waxes and polishes containing wax should be used as little as possible, in most cases no more than once a year.
It is important not to use furniture polishes, or other types of cleaners and polishes containing silicone, as silicone may inhibit future finish touch-up.
Finishes can be affected by hand and suntan lotions, insect repellants, human perspiration and many other modern chemicals. Protect your instrument from these and other chemicals.
Never use rubbing compound or polishing compound unless you have prior experience using these materials. Removal of scratches and deep scuffs should only be attempted by professionals.
Though fretboard oil is not necessary for the long term-term maintenance of fretboards, occasional use is not harmful. As with cleaners, polishes and waxes, only use well-known brands made specifically for guitars, and be sure to follow instructions.
CLEANING YOUR GUITAR- CUSTOM VARNISH FINISH:
Oil varnish is a soft finish that eventually becomes hard and durable. Damage can be avoided, particularly in the first year of your guitar’s life, by following these simple steps:
Avoid prolonged contact with non-natural materials, such as plastics, rubber, and synthetic fabrics.
Do not leave your guitar on a stand for long periods, or support it in a condition that focuses its weight on specific pressure points.
When you are done playing your guitar the best place to put it is in its case.
Avoid heating the surface of the guitar beyond room temperature, whether it is in or out of its case.
When cleaning your guitar, use only a mild cleaner and a dirt-free micro-fiber cleaning cloth. Avoid excessive friction when wiping or polishing. An approved cleaner and cloth are supplied with your guitar. We recommend Wilkins Guitar Cleaner from Wilkins Guitar.
We are familiar with guitar care products offered by Planet Waves, Stewart Macdonald Guitar Supply, and Wilkins Guitars, and can recommend these to owners of Bourgeois guitars. Though many other good guitar care products are now available to players, we do not have enough firsthand experience with the companies that offer them to comment on their suitability for use with Bourgeois guitars.
INSTALLING YOUR END PIN:
The end pin for your guitar is enclosed in the pick compartment of your case. The end pin should fit snugly, but should not be forced. When using a strap, make sure to check that the end pin is snug. Always remove the end pin before shipping.
Your guitar was or originally set up with D’Addario EXP strings. Dreadnoughts and Slope Ds are set up with Medium gauge strings; OM, 00, 0 and Parlor are set up with light gauge. DBJ, SJ, JOM and OMS might be set up with either Medium or Light, depending on top species.
Because of the smaller-sized bridges used on our smaller guitars, we highly recommend using only light gauge strings on OM, 00, 0 and Parlor. Heavier gauges can cause smaller bridges to lift. Additionally, these models are voiced for lighter gauge strings, and for most playing styles will usually sound best with lights.
All other models will accommodate either Light or Medium gauge strings. In some cases, switching string gauges will require minor set up adjustments.
GUITAR STANDS & STRAPS:
The nitrocellulose finish used on the neck of your Bourgeois guitar may react when in contact with rubber, leather, plastics and other synthetic materials used to pad certain guitar stands and hanging hooks. It is usually safe to use stands and hooks to temporarily support your guitar. However, if stands and hooks are used for more than temporary support it is best to drape a clean cotton cloth between the surface of the guitar and the contact points of stands, hooks or any other holding systems. NOTE: During the first year of curing, guitars finished with varnish should only be temporarily supported on guitar stands.