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Taking Care of Your Guitar(s)

As we all know, or as you may just be discovering, guitars can be a bit finicky and can change a lot with the weather, temperatures and other conditions. It’s hard to stay on top of all situations, especially when you have as many instruments such as I have, but I’m sure that if you have an acoustic as well as a solid body electric guitar, you’ve probably noticed that the acoustic may be a bit more touchy than the electric.

Many things can go wrong, and there are many signs to watch for. On an acoustic guitar, it’s very important to watch for the top starting to lift near the bridge, or even for the bridge lifting off itself. It’s actually supposed to do that before it starts lifting the top, as a safety measure! You also always must watch for any neck warpage on any kind of guitar, and this can be done simply by holding the instrument so you can look straight down the edges of the fretboard for any curvature. Most guitars have truss rods that can be cranked to help move the necks the other way, but tis must be done very carefully by a true expert, especially if the guitar is rather old.

A lot of people like to keep humidifiers in their guitar cases to help keep the guitars from drying out, and some use humidifiers actually in the room itself. It’s important though, that the room be small enough so as to be able to have an effective enough humidity change when this is done. If the guitar(s) are in a large and more cavernous room, the humidity will dissipate before it can have any real effect.

Also important is to keep your instruments out of the sun, as the heat will tend to dry them out too quickly, which can lead to cracking. The sad part about this is I feel that dry guitars sound much more open and airy than moist guitars. I guess the old adage that “a guitar sounds best just before it cracks” is sad but true!

Another thing I have really tuned into a habit is keeping my guitars all tuned down at least a half step. This relieves the tension on the neck and on the top of the guitar, especially for the acoustics, and I many cases, I don’t bother even tuning them up to concert pitch anymore! If I do need to, I will quickly re-tune for the job, and then remember to release the tuning back down to the lower one as soon as possible!

So, please always be vigilant in inspecting your guitars periodically, and when playing them so you can watch for any changes that may start to occur. Woods are very temperamental and many types are used in making guitars. These woods each have their own personalities as far as water absorption, sound consistency and other properties are concerned, and as you experience more and more guitars in your life, you’ll see what works best for you in the environment you live in! Take good care of them, and they’ll always take care of you!

Posted: 4/27/2011 12:01:00 AM with Comments | Add Comment | Email Link | Permalink
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