If you just got an acoustic guitar and want to learn how to take better care of your instrument, here are some good words of advice.
Let's face it. It's a basic thing to learn how to play acoustic guitar. That's probably one of the many reasons there are so many guitars bought each and every year. However, it's another thing to actually learn to be a pro at it. And it's not just about the basics of learning. You really need some information about the instrument itself and how to take care of it.
Most acoustic guitars are created from wood and are usually hollow. They are sensitive to changes in weather, such as super heat or super cold. It's dead simple for parts of the guitar to warp or otherwise get damaged depending on how you store it and what it has to deal with on a daily basis. Think about the old cassette tape and how it would melt into a useless mess if left on the dashboard of your car on a sunny day.
One of the major necessities for most instruments is a good case. It really should be water resistant and also provide protection from heat. Black cases will absorb the sun's rays more than lighter colored enclosures, so keep that in mind when shopping for one for your guitar. There are soft shell cases and hard shell cases. In almost all situations, I would recommend the hard shell case unless your budget prohibits 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 isn't 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 your strings one at a time, as this will keep the tension on your instrument's neck constant.
If you can, it's a great idea to have at least two guitars, one that you use around the house and another that you use for performances. Your practice guitar doesn't have to be great, something in the hundred dollar price range. You should'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, 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 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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