If you just got an acoustic guitar and want to learn how to best take care of your instrument, what you will find here are some nice words of advice.
You've got to admit it. It's not too difficult to learn how to play acoustic guitar. That's one of the reasons there are so many guitars bought each and every year. However, it's takes something else to actually learn to be a pro at the art. And remember that it's not just about the basics of learning. You also need some knowledge regarding 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 differences in climate, such as extreme heat or super 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 on a daily basis. Remember the old cassette tape and how it would warp into a useless mess if kept on the back seat of your car on a sunny day.
One of the primary needs 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 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 you can't afford it.
Guitar strings are sensitive to environmental changes as well. Note 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 settle on 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 guitar. Also, don't take all the strings off your guitar at once, as that might cause warping of the neck. Change them one at a time, as that will keep the tension on your instrument's neck at a constant level.
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 wonderful, something in the hundred dollar range. You won't have to replace the strings on it as much as the one you keep 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 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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