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 nice words of advice.
You've got to admit it. It's not rocket science to learn how to play acoustic guitar. That's one of the reasons there are so many guitars sold each and every year. But remember, it's takes something else to actually become proficient in it. And it's not just about learning to play. You really need some knowledge about the instrument itself and how to take care of it.
Most 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 very simple for parts of the guitar to warp or otherwise become damaged depending on how you house it and what it is exposed to daily. Remember the old cassette tape and how it would melt into a useless mess if kept on the back seat of your car on a hot day.
One of the major needs for most instruments is a good enclosure. It really 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 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 recommend the hard shell case unless your budget prohibits it.
Guitar strings are susceptible to heat and cold 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 decide to use 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 your strings 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 expensive, something in the hundred dollar price 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, 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 crazy. Your guitar should have its own natural character, and the way to let it do this is letting it get used and worn in an everyday fashion.
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