So, hopefully many of you who are reading this will have got a shiny new guitar for Christmas and are looking forward to years of enjoyment from it.
As with anything, the better you look after it, the better it will serve you in return. So, here are a few tips to help you along, especially if you’re just starting to learn.
1) If you’ve got a new electric guitar, make sure it has been set up properly. I see a lot of new guitars that are given out to customers with factory settings and very soon the player, especially a young one with a light grip, is put off because the action is so high they can’t hold the strings down.
2) Make sure the gauge of strings you are using is suitable for your capabilities. Just because your favourite heavy metal player uses heavy strings, it doesn’t mean you have to.
3) Change your strings regularly, don’t wait until they break. They will lose their ring very quickly and sound dead in a couple of months.
If you’ve just got a new acoustic guitar, the set up will probably be ok but you need to look after acoustics, particularly in these days of efficient central heating in homes.
It is great to have your new guitar sitting out on display but the least you should do is have it on a stand.
However, the best way to store it is in its case with something to keep the atmosphere humid. I use a little plastic food container with a few holes punched in the lid and a damp sponge inside and tuck it just behind the neck, inside the case. You can also get specifically made humidifiers that fit in the soundhole.
Then, if you’re not going to be playing for some time, loosen the strings to take the tension off the neck. The guitar body and neck dry out at different rates and the neck, tends to bow backwards causing the strings to tighen more and pull the saddle up. I regularly get guitars in for repair where the saddle has pulled the top face of the guitar up, causing it to bow up. Sometimes the saddle gets completely ripped off the guitar body.
This is especially important if you have a 12 string guitar where the forces from the strings is much higher.
So, good luck with your new guitar and hopefully you’ll be playing it for years to come.