Mike and I were contemplating a care brochure or possible DVD but just did not get far enough down our chore list. I can think of no greater honor than to make sure our "Marlers" are still here 100 years from now. These are my opinions and observations and not Marler Guitar secrets. I therefore welcome any tips, tricks, reviews, do's, don'ts, and any suggestions from other owners.
Your Marler Guitar was made in New Mexico. Our climate is balanced but on the dry side. It would not be unusual for your guitar to go a bit "whacky" for a while as it re-acclimates to other climate conditions. I would strongly recommend a guitar humidifier to keep the wood moisture content balanced. I know Mike was starting to use the Planet Wave humidifier which went down into the sound hole held in place by the strings. Nothing ever touches the guitar. Make sure you only use "distilled" water go easy on re-moisturizing the device.
Forget trying to restring your guitar on your lap or on a towel and pillow on your kitchen table. You have invested big $$$ so invest a few more to have a safe work environment. These guitar tables and pads are a wise choice to keep your guitar in top shape while you maintain it. Great for re-stringing, polishing and cleaning. I got one like shown for about $65.00 and there is a FretRest Pad available for about half that amount.
Mike went through many sets of strings in the construction process of building a guitar. Strings on, adjust, strings off, calibrate, strings on, etc. Somewhere along the way I believe it was Todd Walker who turned Mike on to the Elixir Polyweb and Nanoweb strings. Mike's last several guitars for customers were strung with these strings unless they had a specific request.
Herein lies a bit of a mystery. Even though Mike preferred to string his later guitars with Elixir's he himself preferred John Pearse strings on his personal acoustic. I have Marler #25 strung with John Pearse strings and #89 with Elixirs. Just as I got them from Mike and I'll let you know if I can ever distinguish between what differences are guitar related or string related. Both are quality sets.
Your Marler Guitar has a nitrocelluose lacquer finish. It is durable however one of the most damaging aspects over time would be what you wipe it off with. Obviously towels and old t-shirts won't cut it but even the softest of polish cloths will put swirls in your finish. I strongly recommend what is called a "micro fiber" polish cloth. Many choices including Dunlop, Dean, Musicians Friends and others. Be sure to get a pretty good size cloth as well as getting more than one. They are durable and washable.
Stewart McDonald's Preservation Polish is an excellent Silicone Free Polish. It is considered a "luthiers choice" in that by not saturating the wood with silicones the instrument is easier to work on and do repairs on at a later date if necessary. Silicones will not allow glues and finishes to adhere to the wood once it has been saturated. It is recommended that all Silicone based polishes (which most are) not be used.
Polishing your instrument is one of the most important aspects of guitar care. Not only does this provide essential oils for the wood it also provides a protective barrier to resist unwanted finger oils and acids. Ever major manufacturer touts a guitar polish but I'm kind of a "gourmet" type. I recommend Dr. Ducks Ax/Wax for the fretboard portion of your guitar. It works on all other parts as well and is an organic type wax. A nice clean fretboard will do wonders for your playing, your tone is better from clean strings plus it just feels better.
The Clayton brand polish is some of the best for overall guitar body polish. It will replenish the woods in the guitar with oil, add a nice shine as well as give a protective barrier that resist liquids, finger oils and smoke contaminants. The smell is not overwhelming either. There are other good brands as well but stay away from abrasive "cleaner" type polishes, Windex or commercial cleaners. I recommend using polish sparingly but often and remember nothing is "slicker" than a well polished guitar. Handle properly and deliberately.
I just saw it last week in a band where every member had 30 plus years of experience or more. A nice acoustic (thank you... it wasn't a Marler) leaning up against an amp on stage. Live energy plus crowded stage... whoops, no, no, crash. The guitar case is the best protection for your guitar, on stage and off, or a good stage stand like an Ultimate is another must. Please do NOT loosen the strings for longer term storage and open the case for fresh air and frequent checks when possible.