If you just got an acoustic guitar and want to learn how to take better care of your instrument, what you will find here are a few useful words of advice.
Let's face it. It's a basic thing to learn how to play acoustic guitar. That's why there's so many guitars bought each and every year. However, it's another thing to actually learn to be good at the art. And remember that it's not just about learning to play. You also need some information regarding the instrument itself and what you need to do to take care of it.
The vast majority of 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 easy for parts of the guitar to warp or otherwise get damaged depending on how you house 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 dashboard of your car on a hot day.
One of the primary needs for most instruments is a good case. It should be water resistant and also provide protection from heat. Black cases will absorb heat more than lighter colored enclosures, so remember that when shopping for one for your guitar. There are soft shell cases and hard shell cases. In most situations, I would endorse the hard shell case unless your budget prohibits it.
Guitar strings are sensitive to environmental changes as well. Have you experienced 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 gauge of string to another isn't good for your guitar. 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 constant.
If you can, it's a nice idea to have at least two guitars, one that you use for practice and another that you keep for performances. Your practice guitar doesn't have to be great, something in the hundred dollar price range. You should't have to replace the strings on it as much as the one you use for performances.
When cleaning your guitar, never 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 crazy. Your guitar should have its own natural character, and part of this is letting it get used and worn in an everyday fashion.
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