If you have an acoustic guitar and want to find out how to best take care of your instrument, what follows are a few nice words of advice.
Let's face it. It's a basic thing to learn the acoustic guitar. That's one of the reasons there's so many guitars sold each and every year. However, it's takes something else to actually learn to be proficient in the art. And remember that it's not just about the basics of learning. You really need some information 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 weather, 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 house it and what it has to deal with daily. Think about 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 primary needs for a guitar 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. There are soft shell cases and hard shell cases. In most situations, I would endorse the hard shell case unless your budget prohibits it.
Guitar strings are susceptible to environmental changes 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 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 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 this 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 for practice 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 use for performances.
When it is time to clean 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 the way to let it do this is letting it get used and worn in an everyday fashion.
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