Beginners can score a great deal on quality entry-level acoustic guitars such as the Jasmine S35 and Gibson Maestro. However, in order to really make the purchase worth every penny, they also have to take good care of their instrument so that it can serve them well for many years.
Budget guitars often have a reputation for being disposable instruments because of their cheap price and not-so-sturdy construction, but that has changed because of the number of starter guitars that offer quality in terms of sound and build. Beginner guitars are now more robust than ever, which makes prolonging their life span one of the best things you can do to save more money in the long run.
Acoustic guitars, no matter how cheap or expensive, are vulnerable to a lot of things, from everyday dents and scratches to damage from too much or too little humidity. Here are some tips to help you avoid these problems so that you can enjoy playing your guitar for a good long time.
Buy a case for your guitar
Budget acoustics seldom come with a case, and when they do, the thin gig bag is often flimsy in construction. It would be better to buy a padded bag or hard shell case and store your guitar in it when you’re not playing. A guitar case is also a must if you would be going places and taking your instrument along. You can spend less on a guitar case by buying used or looking for guitar accessory deals online.
Use compatible strings
One of the worst things you can do to damage your guitar is install oversized strings on it. Strings that are too thick or heavy for your guitar will put a lot of tension on the neck, which can result in neck bowing and damage to the bridge and saddle. When replacing strings, do some research about which string gauges are compatible with your guitar. Better yet, take your instrument to a guitar tech so it can be fitted with compatible strings that you can first check out.
Tip: When restringing your guitar, take the opportunity to give the fretboard a good cleaning. Using a soft, dry cloth or very fine steel wool, wipe the fretboard clean. Make sure you move parallel with the grain of the wood to minimize scratching the fretboard. If the fretboard still looks and/or feels grimy, use a fretboard cleaner to remove the hard-to-clean dirt.
Clean your guitar properly
Cleaning a guitar is like cleaning a car – you need to know which products to use so you don’t damage the finish by accident. There are polishing cloths and cleaning formulas designed specifically for guitars. You can also use an old shirt made of 100 percent cotton to clean and polish the surface of your guitar. Avoid using paper tissue as it can scratch the guitar’s finish.
When in doubt about products you can use, don’t hesitate to ask a professional (like a guitar tech in a music store or your guitar teacher) for advice.
These are just a few of the things you can do to make your acoustic guitar last longer. What other ways of prolonging a guitar’s life span do you know? Do share them with us!