If you have a new acoustic guitar and would like to learn how to take better care of your instrument, here are a few great words of advice.
Let's face it. It's fairly easy to learn how to play acoustic guitar. That's probably one of the many reasons there are so many guitars purchased 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 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 acoustics are created from wood and are usually hollow. They are sensitive to changes in climate, such as extreme heat or extreme cold. It's dead simple for parts of the guitar to warp or otherwise become damaged depending on how you store it and what it has to deal with on a daily basis. Remember the old cassette tape and how it would melt into a useless mess if left on the dashboard of your car on a sunny day.
One of the primary necessities for a guitar is a good enclosure. It should be water resistant and also provide protection from heat. Dark colored cases will absorb heat more than lighter colored cases, so keep that in mind when shopping for one for your guitar. You'll have the choice of soft shell cases and hard shell cases. In almost all 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 if you put on 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 settle on a particular gauge of string, it's probably the best thing you can do, as the shock of going from one type of string to another isn't good for your instrument. Also, never 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 your instrument's neck at a constant level.
If you can, it's a good idea to have at least two guitars, one that you use around the house and another that you keep for performances. Your practice guitar doesn't have to be expensive, something in the hundred dollar range. You won't have to change the strings on it as much as the one you keep 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 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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