If you just got a new acoustic guitar and want to learn how to best take care of your instrument, what follows are a few great words of advice.
Let's face it. It's fairly easy to learn the acoustic guitar. That's why there are so many guitars bought each and every year. However, it's another thing to actually learn to be a pro at it. And it's not just about the basics of learning. You also need some information regarding the instrument itself and how to take care of it.
The vast majority of acoustics are made of wood and are usually hollow. They are sensitive to differences in climate, such as super heat or super cold. It's dead easy for parts of the guitar to warp or otherwise become damaged depending on how you store it and what it is exposed to daily. Think about the old cassette tape and how it would melt into a useless mess if left on the back seat of your car on a sunny day.
One of the major needs for a guitar is a good enclosure. It should be water resistant and also provide protection from heat. Dark colored cases will absorb the sun's rays more than lighter colored cases, so keep that in mind when selecting one for your guitar. You'll have the choice of soft shell cases and hard shell cases. In most situations, I would endorse 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 if you put on a new set of strings? The neck of your guitar will give and let go depending on the type of strings you use, and if you settle on a particular gauge of string, it's probably best, as the shock of going from one type 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 your instrument's neck at a constant level.
If you can, it's a good idea to have at least two guitars, a beater you use for practice and another that you use for performances. Your practice guitar doesn't have to be wonderful, something in the hundred dollar price range. You should't have to change the strings on it as much as the guitar you keep for performances.
When cleaning your guitar, don't use water or furniture polish. Just use a clean cloth and wipe the dust. Try to not wipe so hard that you affect the finish of your guitar. And don't go nuts. Your guitar should have its own natural character, and part of this is letting it get used and worn in a normal fashion.
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