If you have a new acoustic guitar and would like to learn how to take better care of your instrument, here are some good tips.
Let's face it. It's not rocket science to learn the acoustic guitar. That's one of the reasons there are so many guitars purchased each and every year. However, it's takes something else to actually learn to be proficient in it. And remember that it's not just about the basics of learning. You really need some knowledge about the instrument itself and how to take care of it.
The vast majority of acoustic guitars are made of wood and are usually hollow. They are sensitive to differences in weather, such as super heat or extreme 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. Remember the old cassette tape and how it would warp into a useless mess if left on the dashboard of your car on a sunny day.
One of the primary needs for a guitar is a good case. It should be water resistant and also give protection from heat. Dark colored cases will absorb heat more than lighter colored enclosures, so remember that when selecting one for your guitar. You'll have the choice of 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 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 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 the best thing you can do, as the shock of going from one type of string to another wouldn't be 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 the guitar neck at a constant level.
If at all possible, it's a good idea to have at a minimum two guitars, one that you use for practice and another that you keep for performances. Your practice guitar doesn't have to be wonderful, 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 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 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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