If you just got an acoustic guitar and would like to learn how to take better care of it, what you will find here are some good 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's so many guitars sold each and every year. But remember, it's another thing to actually learn to be good at it. And it's not just about learning to play. You also need some knowledge regarding 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 changes in weather, 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 house it and what it is exposed to daily. Think about the old cassette tape and how it would warp into a useless mess if kept on the back seat of your car on a hot day.
One of the major necessities for most instruments is a good case. It should be water resistant and also give protection from heat. Dark colored cases will absorb the sun's rays more than lighter colored enclosures, so keep that in mind when selecting one for your guitar. There are 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. 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 type of string to another isn't good for your instrument. Also, don't 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 that will keep the tension on the guitar neck at a constant level.
If at all possible, it's a great 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 range. You should't have to change 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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