How do I protect my guitar from changes in Temperature and Humidity?
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 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 a 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 become 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, however, 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 it adjust to the new conditions before taking it out of the case or, if even 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 regulary.
And a last bit of advice, never ever travel with your guitar in the trunk of your car.
What should I use to clean my Bourgeois guitar?
In general, it is not necessary to use “cleaning products” on your guitar. If you wipe your guitar clean after playing with a soft, dry cloth (an old cotton tee-shirt should do the trick), you’re guitar will be fine.
Most well-known brands of cleaner made specifically for cleaning guitars can be used on Bourgeois guitars without causing long term damage to finish. 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.
Most polishes and waxes made specifically for guitars will also not damage our finishes. Waxes and polishes containing wax should be used as little as possible, in most cases no more than once a year. In most instances, shiny surfaces can be restored by regular use of guitar cleaners. Always follow directions provided with cleaning and polishing products.
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.
We are familiar with guitar care products offered by Planet Waves and by Stewart Macdonald Guitar Supply, 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 first hand experience with the companies that offer them to comment on their suitability for use with Bourgeois guitars.
Can a guitar stand damage the finish on my guitar?
The nitrocellulose finish used on our necks 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.
Certain household cleaners may also react with guitar finishes. Always use cleaners and polishes specifically developed for use on guitars. See Cleaning for more information.
Question: How do you pronounce Bourgeois?
We have to confess that we have all had trouble trying to pronounce the last name of our esteemed luthier, Dana Bourgeois. We’ve been bugging Dana to come up with a simple phonetic pronunciation. Dana asked if we would like the French, Acadian, Cajun or American version….we’ve decided to pass along the American version.
This is what we came up with: “BUR-jwah” with the accent on the first syllable. Any linguists out there with a better idea, let us know!
We hope this will alleviate the problem of going in to your favorite shop, pointing to a rack of guitars and saying, “uh, I want that one.”
Bourgeois (BUR-jwah)…Ask for it by Name.
What Size wrench is used to adjust the Bourgeois Double Action Truss rod?
We currently use a 5mm wrench (Allen wrench, Allen key, hex wrench, or hex key). Some older guitars used 5/32″ wrench. Stewart-Macdonald #6110 is the current correct size. Any hardware store should also carry a wrench of the correct size.
Our truss rod is a “double action” truss rod developed to work on both a forward & backward bow.
Truss rod adjustment involves many subtleties. If you have no prior experience adjusting truss rods, or if a simple adjustment does not give you the desired outcome, we recommend taking your guitar to an experienced technician.
Tell me about the Bourgeois Sunburst option?
Dana Bourgeois personally hand sprays every sunburst in our shop. No two are exactly alike as he strives to make a pleasing match between the color of the Back and Side wood with the sunburst.
We offer 3 Bursts. The Standard Burst and two custom bursts, The In-Between Burst and the Pale Burst. Here are pictures to give you an idea of the differences between these bursts. Click on the pictures to enlarge the view.
The Bourgeois Standard Burst
The Bourgeois In-Between Burst
The Bourgeois Custom Pale Sunburst
How do I install the strap button that came with my guitar?
Note: If you do not have experience with an installation of this kind we highly recommend that you have your strap button installed by a qualified guitar technician. It is an easy and inexpensive modification, but is complicated by the bolt-on neck.
Strap Button on the heel of a Bourgeois Dreadnought.
Strap Button on the heel of a Bourgeois OM.
You have a large area in the middle of the heel where the strap button screw will not hit the screws holding on the neck.
You can see these two neck bolts through the sound hole with a mirror (and we suggest you look inside before performing this operation).
Measure 1/2 of the distance between the bottom of the fretboard (the edge that abuts the neck) and the edge of the heel cap. You can go off center by about 3/8th’s of an inch in either direction and you’ll be alright..
IMPORTANT: Be sure to drill a pilot hole with an appropriate sized drill bit.
What Strings was my guitar set up with at the shop?
All Dreadnoughts and the Vintage JOM leave our shop set up with D’Addario EXP 17’s. The gauges are as follows:
All OM’s as well as the OMS, JOMC and DBJC leave our shop set up with D’Addario EXP 16’s. The gauges are as follows:
Archtops are also strung up with D’Addario strings;
A-350 – medium phosphur bronze
A-360 – round wound electric
What year was my guitar built?
Below is a list of Serial numbers made during each year beginning with 1993. A Bourgeois Guitar begins life with an “Order #” which is different than the final Serial #.
The order # tracks the guitar through our shop. The actual Serial # is applied to the label by Dana on the day we actually set up the guitar.
Pre-1993: 3 digit Numbers
2000: (No guitars produced)
2007: 004101- 004480
2008: 004481 – 004857
2009: 004858 – 005135
2010- 005136 – 005422
2011- 005423 -005762