If you just got a new acoustic guitar and want to learn how to take better care of it, what you will find here are a few great words of advice.
Let's face it. It's a basic thing to learn the acoustic guitar. That's probably one of the many reasons there's so many guitars sold each and every year. However, it's another thing to actually learn to be proficient in it. And it's not just about learning to play. You also need some information regarding the instrument itself and what you need to do 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 easy for parts of the guitar to warp or otherwise get damaged depending on how you house it and what it has to deal with on a daily basis. Remember the old cassette tape and how it would melt into a useless mess if kept on the dashboard of your car on a hot day.
One of the major necessities for most instruments is a good enclosure. It should be water resistant but also provide protection from heat. Black cases will absorb heat more than lighter colored cases, so remember that when selecting 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 sensitive to environmental changes as well. Note how quickly guitars go out of tune, especially if you put on 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 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 this will keep the tension on the guitar neck constant.
If at all possible, it's a good idea to have at a minimum two guitars, one that you use around the house and another that you keep for performances. Your practice guitar doesn't have to be wonderful, something in the hundred dollar range. You won't have to change the strings on it as much as the guitar 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 develop its own natural character, and part of this is letting it get used and worn in an everyday fashion.
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