What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Guitar? 

If you intend to buy a guitar, you may wonder about its lifespan. However, there are different answers to this question because there are different types of guitars, and each requires different ways of maintenance. In addition, the materials from which guitars are made differ, which affects their lifespan as well. So, on average, how long does a guitar last? 

The average lifespan of a cheap or classical guitar is around 10 years, but with proper maintenance, it can be prolonged to 20 or 30 years. On the other hand, more expensive and well-made electric models can last for a lifetime. Various factors determine the lifespan of a guitar, such as the maintenance level and materials from which it is made.

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dreamstime l 31890368

When you want to invest in a guitar, you will want to know how long it can last. You will also want to know what you can do to maintain the good condition of your instrument, so informing yourself before making the purchase is essential. Keep reading to find out the average lifespan of different guitar types as well as the factors that determine it! 

How Long Does A Guitar Last? 

Since there are different types of guitars, it is logical that they do not have the same lifespan. Guitars are made of different materials, and they affect their longevity. In addition, each guitar requires a different method of maintenance, meaning that you need to know what a single guitar needs to stay in  good condition. 

We have included the average lifespan of different types of guitars below. It is important to remember that we are talking about averages, so the numbers you see below can go up or down depending on other factors, which we will discuss later. 

Guitar typeAverage lifespan 
Classical guitar 10 years 
Acoustic guitar 50 years 
Electric guitar 100 years 

Classical Guitar Lifespan 

Cheap classical guitars have an average lifespan of 10 years. They are made of thin wood materials, which can easily decrease the quality of sound that these guitars produce over the year. However, they come with nylon strings that impose lower tension on the guitar itself. 

If you take good care of your classical guitar, you can prolong its average lifespan. Proper maintenance may help you avoid weakening or damaging your guitar, and allow you to use it for up to 30 years. Otherwise, you might end up with a guitar that does not sound good, i.e. the quality of sound it is producing is highly damaged.   

You also need to be aware that sometimes, it might be necessary to make some adjustments to increase its performance level. For instance, you may need to do some conditioning of the fretboard, use an appropriate polish, and store the guitar in a safe place.

Acoustic Guitar Lifespan 

If an acoustic guitar is well-made, i.e. it includes high-quality wood, it may reach a lifespan of 50 years. On the other hand, cheap acoustic guitars may last around 30 years, or even less – about 10 years. There are factors that determine the lifespan of an acoustic guitar, and if they are taken into account, you will have the chance to use your instrument for  longer. 

It is important to note that the soundbox of an acoustic guitar is made of thinner wood. Every change in the environment may affect its performance. This is due to the fact that the wood from which this type of guitar is made is generally susceptible to weather changes. These weather changes can change the quality of sound that the guitar produces. 

Nonetheless, if you incorporate our tips below for storage methods and suitable cleaning techniques, you can preserve the condition of your acoustic guitar. 

Electric Guitar Lifespan 

If your electric guitar is made from quality wood and has good construction, then it can last for a lifetime. Well-made models of electric guitars require only average maintenance, so you will not have to rack your brain with tips to preserve your instrument. However, it goes without saying, that you will have to keep an eye on it!

Generally, electric guitars that can last for a lifetime are made of fine wood, such as: 

  • Ebony
  • Mahogany
  • Maple 
  • Rosewood

There are even cheaper models that are made from composite materials that can last for a long time. However, we need to take into consideration that wood is not the only material for electric guitars. There are strings, tuners, frets, and bridges that will wear out over time, so they need appropriate maintenance.

Tips for Preserving Your Guitar

Even if you purchase an expensive model of guitar, you might still end up with damaged quality and sound if you do not take proper care of it. Every type of guitar requires a certain level of maintenance, no matter the materials from which it is made. As we previously mentioned, there are factors that affect the life of your guitar, such as appropriate storage, sunlight, temperatures, and humidity. 

Some types of wood might not be as affected as others, but still, you will need to take appropriate measures. To ensure that your guitar will last for a long time, you should practice the steps included below. 

Do Not Use Water For Cleaning Your Guitar 

Water is harmful for the body of your guitar, so you should not consider it for cleaning. Water can damage the wood of the soundbox, which can lead to further cracking. This will highly affect the sound that your guitar produces, and even decrease its lifespan. 

Water-based cleaners can be a good option but without direct application. A safe solution is to spray the cleaner on a cloth and then clean some dirt off your guitar.

Avoid Exposure To Humidity And Temperature Changes 

Since guitars are made of wood, humidity and temperature changes can affect their quality and damage the sound they produce. When you buy a guitar, you also get a guitar case, which serves to absorb moisture. 

Guitar cases are not given to you as a gift, so you can carry them around. On the contrary, they serve a particular purpose, and it is advised to keep your guitar inside the case when not using it. In addition, make sure to store your guitar at a normal room temperature and in a place that is not exposed to frequent changes in temperature. 

Do Not Use Paper Towels Or Tissues To Wipe Your Guitar 

Paper towels and tissues have rough surfaces that can damage your guitar. The rough surfaces can cause scratches on your soundbox or weaken your strings.  

Therefore, when you polish your instrument, use only applicable cloths that are intended for guitars. These soft cloths are designed to clean wood instruments, so you will not run the risk of ruining your guitar.  

FAQ 

Do Guitars Wear Out With Time? 

Guitars can wear out, and it can happen due to accidental damages, electronic malfunctions, neck warping, fret degradation, and similar failures. These damages usually happen when the guitar is not stored or maintained properly. 

How Often Should You Purchase A New Guitar? 

There is no rule for the frequency of purchasing a new guitar since most guitars can last for a long time. However, many guitar players decide to buy a new guitar after two or three years of extensive playing to upgrade on guitar features, such as quality of the sound, frets, strings, and other mechanical parts.  

When Should You Replace Your Guitar Frets? 

Many times, guitar frets will need only a few adjustments, and they will work properly. However, if your frets are gouged out and  do not function as expected, you should consider replacing them.

Conclusion

The average lifespan of guitars is not always accurate because there are different factors that impact them. Now you know what it takes to keep your guitar in good condition and prolong its durability. We hope this article helped you appreciate the importance of taking good care of your instrument!

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