Caring for your acoustic guitar

Glenn Sutton teaches guitar, electric bass, keyboard, theory and improvisation for over 30 years, he specializes in rock, blues, jazz, Latin, Brazilian, classical, country, and folk.

About Glenn Sutton

As a professional guitar teacher with 25 years of experience (see guitarlessonspoway.com).

Acoustic Guitar Care

acoustic guitar and hardshell case

Acoustic guitar and hardshell case

Learning to play the acoustic guitar is not difficult, which is why it is no surprise that such a large number of guitars are sold annually. However, learning to play the guitar and being a good guitar player are two different things. If you really want to master the guitar, you need to learn as much about the guitar as you can, including how to care for the instrument.

Acoustic guitars are typically made from wood. In order to produce the sounds the interior of the guitar is hollow, but because of this, the wood of the guitar body can easily warp. This makes it extremely important to protect the guitar from extreme changes in temperature, and to store it properly. The best way to store a guitar is in a guitar case, and to lay that case flat on an even surface when the guitar is not being used.

When you purchase a guitar case, you will have many options. Select a light colored case over a dark one, as this will better protect your guitar from the heat. Additionally, you should select a hard case over a soft case for more protection against damage. The hard cases tend to cost more, but you will find that the added protection for your guitar is well worth the added expense.

The choices of guitar strings are as varied as the choices available for acoustic guitars. You will find many different brands and guitar string gauges available. The strings of the guitar are also affected by temperature changes, as well as humidity in the air. As they are affected, your guitar will need to be re-tuned, and every time you tighten or loosen the strings to tune the guitar, you risk breaking a string, or warping the neck of the guitar. Try to avoid removing all of the strings from the guitar at the same time. Instead, remove and replace the strings one at a time.

You may need to experiment with different gauged strings to get the tone that you want when you play your guitar. The gauge will also affect your fingers as you play your guitar. If you are a beginner, use a lighter gauge for best results.

Serious guitar players typically own more than one guitar. They usually have one that they just use for practice, and at least one other guitar that they reserve for performing. The guitar used for performing is typically more expensive and higher quality, allowing it to produce richer sounds. The practice guitar is usually far less expensive, and although it will not produce the same tones as the more expensive guitar, the way that you play the guitar will not change between the two. A decent practice guitar should not cost more than $100, but a good performing guitar will usually cost well over $100.

You need to clean your acoustic guitar regularly, but you should not spray or pour any chemicals on the instrument. Instead, invest in a good cheesecloth and wipe the guitar down after each session. Even if you are not playing regularly, wipe the guitar down at least once a week just to keep it completely dust free. As you continue to use your guitar, it will start to wear naturally. This is fine as this will give your guitar a character of its own.

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