If you just got an acoustic guitar and would like to learn how to take better care of your instrument, what follows are a few good words of advice.
Let's face it. It's fairly easy to learn the acoustic guitar. That's why there's so many guitars bought each and every year. However, it's another thing to actually become a pro at it. And it's not just about the basics of learning. You really need some information about the instrument itself and what you need to do to take care of it.
The vast majority of acoustics are made of wood and are usually hollow. They are sensitive to changes in climate, such as super heat or super 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 is exposed to 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 hot day.
One of the major needs for a guitar 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 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 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 with 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 best, as the shock of going from one type 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 your strings one at a time, as that will keep the tension on your instrument's neck constant.
If at all possible, it's a nice 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 great, something in the hundred dollar range. You should't have to change the strings on it as much as the guitar you keep for performances.
When cleaning 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 part of this is letting it get used and worn in a normal fashion.
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