All our guitars are fitted with either D'Addario or Elixir light gauge phosphor bronze strings. While 0.13-0.56 is fine for Spruce top instruments (if you prefer that gauge), we recommend that Cedar topped guitars should never be fitted with anything heavier than .012 -.053 strings, unless the guitar is being tuned down to an open tuning like DADGAD.

The fingerboard / fretboard and the bridge should be lightly oiled with Lemon oil or fingerboard oil several times a year. This prevents these parts from shrinking as a result of moisture loss. Any oil that gets onto the finish can be wiped off with a soft clean cloth or a slightly damp cloth.


Maintenance (Pt. 2)

All precautions should be taken to insure that your guitar is kept in a moderate environment. This may mean adding a humidifier if you live in a dry climate, or a dehumidifier if you live in a humid environment. Please ask the store where you purchased the instrument as to the best product for your guitar. They will be more aware of the local environment and what’s required.

We use a nitro cellulose lacquer on the guitars, which unlike other finishes, does not go brittle. We make up a very special formula, which is unique to us. This prevents the lacquer from grazing and in our opinion is better for the sound. You should take precautions against bumps and knocks by keeping your guitar in a safe place when not in use and where a plectrum is causing damage, a pick-guard should be fitted.


Maintenance (Pt. 3)

Your guitar may require an adjustment to the truss rod in the neck after several months or when lighter or heavier strings are put on. It may also require an adjustment if the guitar is generally being played in an open or dropped tuning. This adjustment is best carried out by a competent repair technician. Access to the truss rod is via the soundhole with a 5mm hex Ball-end Allen Key or a standard 5mm Allen key with a short (20-30mm section). Again your shop of purchase should carry this out for you.

The instrument can be cleaned with a very slightly damp cloth and then wiped with a clean dry cloth. We have also found that household wipes are very good for cleaning more stubborn marks and are good at maintaining the satin finish. Dry immediately with a clean dry cloth

We hope you have many years of pleasure playing your McIlroy guitar and you are very welcome to drop us a line with any comments you wish to make.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I clean my guitar?

With a slightly damp cloth or household wipe. Please visit our maintenance section.

What woods are used on my guitar?

You should have received a certificate with your guitar, which shows all the woods that were used and the date it was completed. If you didn't receive this either contact the shop of purchase for the original signed certificate or contact us by email to receive a copy.


Frequently Asked Questions 2

The action seems a little high, what should I do?

Please read our maintenance page, it likely needs a truss rod adjustment. If the truss rod is not the problem it is worth checking that the guitar has not succumb to high humidity which will swell the soundboard up, giving higher string height (action). The only solution to high humidity is to de-humidify or at least find a room that is warm and dry. Upstairs rooms (if you have one) tend to be the warmest and driest areas in most houses (but this is a very general observation). Over time the soundboard can rise a little through string tension but our guitars have been designed with a tall enough saddle that should you require it, the saddle can be lowered. The shop of purchase can help you with this. We are sometimes told that our guitars have a high action while in the shop. If you notice this feel free to tell the shop that the truss rod probably needs adjusting.

Guitar Dating

McIlroy Musical Instruments was formed on 6th March 2000 but it was late summer of that year before the first McIlroy guitars started to appear. Instruments made from the factory workshop in Antrim and made since 2000, apart from the first 6 guitars or so, certificates were issued with every guitar we sold. These certificates showed (in the early ones) the date the guitars began life and on later certificates it was the date they were completed. If you own a McIlroy and have no certificate you are welcome to email us at and we will forward you a copy of the certificate. Unfortunately, to prevent fraud, only the original certificates are personally signed by Dermot.

Prior to that Dermot had made around 20 prototypes. Information on these prototypes is sketchy but if you own one it may be a good idea to have it well insured.