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 good words of advice.
Let's face it. It's fairly easy to learn how to play acoustic guitar. That's why there's so many guitars bought each and every year. But remember, it's another thing to actually become a pro at the art. And remember that it's not just about learning to play. You really need some knowledge about 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 super heat or extreme cold. It's very simple for parts of the guitar to warp or otherwise get damaged depending on how you store 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 back seat of your car on a hot day.
One of the primary necessities for most instruments 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 most situations, I would endorse the hard shell case unless you can't afford 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 the 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 gauge of string to another wouldn't be good for your instrument. 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 constant.
If at all possible, it's a nice idea to have at a minimum two guitars, a beater you use around the house and another that you use 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 guitar you keep for performances.
When cleaning 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 nuts. Your guitar should develop its own natural character, and part of this is letting it get used and worn in an everyday fashion.
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