If you just got a new acoustic guitar and would like to learn how to take better care of your instrument, what you will find here are some good words of advice.
Let's face it. It's a basic thing to learn how to play acoustic guitar. That's why there are so many guitars sold each and every year. But remember, it's takes something else to actually become proficient in the art. And it's not just about the basics of learning. You also need some information regarding the instrument itself and what you need to do to take care of it.
Most acoustic guitars are made of wood and are usually hollow. They are sensitive to changes in climate, such as extreme heat or super cold. It's dead easy for parts of the guitar to warp or otherwise get damaged depending on how you store it and what it has to deal with on a daily basis. Think about the old cassette tape and how it would melt into a useless mess if kept on the dashboard of your car on a sunny day.
One of the primary needs for most instruments is a good enclosure. It should be water resistant but also provide protection from heat. Black cases will absorb heat more than lighter colored enclosures, so remember that when selecting one for your guitar. There are soft shell cases and hard shell cases. In most situations, I would recommend the hard shell case unless you can't afford it.
Guitar strings are susceptible to heat and cold as well. Note how quickly guitars go out of tune, especially with a new set of strings? The neck of the guitar will give and let go depending on the type of strings you use, and if you decide to use a particular gauge of string, it's probably best, as the shock of going from one gauge of string to another wouldn't be good for your instrument. Also, don't take all the strings off your guitar at once, as that might cause warping of the neck. Change your strings one at a time, as this will keep the tension on the guitar neck constant.
If at all possible, it's a great idea to have at a minimum two guitars, a beater you use around the house and another that you use for performances. Your practice guitar doesn't have to be great, something in the hundred dollar price range. You won't have to replace the strings on it as much as the one you use for performances.
When it is time to clean your guitar, never use water or furniture polish. Just use a soft cloth and wipe the dust. Try to not wipe so hard that you affect the finish of your guitar. And don't go crazy. Your guitar should develop its own natural character, and the way to let it do this is letting it get used and worn in a normal fashion.
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