If you just got a new acoustic guitar and want to learn how to best take care of your instrument, here are a few good tips.
You've got to admit it. It's fairly easy to learn the acoustic guitar. That's one of the reasons there's so many guitars bought each and every year. However, it's another thing to actually learn to be good at it. And remember that it's not just about learning to play. You also need some information about the instrument itself and how to take care of it.
Most acoustics are made of wood and are usually hollow. They are sensitive to changes in weather, such as extreme heat or super cold. It's dead simple for parts of the guitar to warp or otherwise get damaged depending on how you house it and what it is exposed to on a daily basis. Remember 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 necessities for most instruments is a good enclosure. It really should be water resistant and also give protection from heat. Black cases will absorb heat more than lighter colored cases, so remember that when shopping for 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 sensitive 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 the best thing you can do, as the shock of going from one gauge of string to another isn't good for your guitar. Also, don't take all the strings off your guitar at once, as that might cause warping of the neck. Change them one at a time, as this will keep the tension on the guitar neck constant.
If you can, it's a good idea to have at a minimum two guitars, a beater you use around the house and another that you keep for performances. Your practice guitar doesn't have to be wonderful, something in the hundred dollar price range. You won't have to replace the strings on it as much as the guitar you use for performances.
When cleaning 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 nuts. Your guitar should have 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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