HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR GUITAR
I get letters every day from Luna players about how to best care for their guitar. The article below, courtesy of essortment.com, has some of the best practical advice on the web:
STORAGE: If you’re not going to play for months on end, loosen or remove the strings. This will keep the bridge, nut, neck, and body from warping, bending out of shape, or even snapping – yes, they can snap. I’ve seen bridges snap clean off because the strings were left tight for months at a time. Don’t let this happen to the instrument you paid so much money for.
Also, if you have an acoustic, you might want to consider a humidifer. Humidifiers are generally placed in the sound hole of your guitar so that the wood can maintain a proper humidity level. This keeps the wood in shape – especially in wintertime, when you’ve got space heaters annihilating every drop of moisture in the room your guitar calls home.
If your guitar is stored in high-traffic areas, you might want to invest in a case, or a rack so that the instrument can be safely stored in the corner or on your wall. The case will prevent damage to the instrument in the event that someone should step on it, drop it, or spill something.
As for soft shell cases – the standard, flimsy cardboard – they’re a whole lot better than having nothing at all. Not only do they make your guitar a lot easier to carry, they also prevent damage done to the instrument through spilled liquids, cats walking all over it, and other such mishaps that occur in our everyday lives. The twenty to thirty dollars you spend now could save you a whole lot of money later.
Also, should you decide to use a case, remember to check all the latches before you move it. There have been plenty of times when musicians – new and expert – haven’t done this. Their instruments fell out of the case because it wasn’t latched – the guitars have hit everything from asphalt to grass.
Racks – either floor stand models or hooks that you screw into your wall – are worth the ten bucks or more that you can spend on them. This way you can display your instrument in a fairly safe place as well as save some money on storage options. If you decide to hang your guitar on the wall, please select a rack that is padded to prevent damage to the instrument’s neck. Also, be sure to install it so that the screws are through wall studs – if they aren’t, your instrument could very well fall without warning.
TRANSPORTATION: Don’t forget, hot cars and other extreme climates can mean the death of your instrument! Don’t leave them in your car – or anyplace where they could be stolen.
INSURANCE: Yes, you can insure your guitar. Just think: If something unexpected happens – such as a flood or tornado – your prized instrument is covered! Many musicians – serious and casual – have purchased insurance policies for their instruments. It may cost a little now, but think of how much time, money, energy, and care you’ve invested in your guitar. Isn’t it worth at least thinking about?
INSTRUMENT CARE: You have to take care of your instrument if you want it to give you years of pleasure and entertainment. Treat your guitar with care. Don’t drop it, leave it out where it can be abused, neglect it, or fail to replace broken or worn parts (such as bridge pins or strings).
Maintain your guitar. Keep it tuned – unless you’re not going to play it for a long period of time, that is. Keep the strings changed out regularly – not only do the older strings sound bad and go dead quickly, they’re also not great on the machine heads if they’re left on for too long. Keep your guitar clean – make sure dust and other elements can’t get to it, and make sure you’re clean before you even pick it up.
If you’re unsure about something concerning your guitar, don’t be afraid to ask somebody who knows what they’re doing. The man who runs the music store a few blocks away, the guitarist in the garage band playing next door to you, or even your cousin if he or she plays – whatever the case, you’ll always be able to find someone to help you if you aren’t afraid to open your mouth.
Take care of your instrument and it’ll take care of your musical needs for a long time to come. Use common sense, ask questions of the right people, and have fun playing your guitar.