Scott Spinella of Camden, Delaware is a musician playing guitar in a local band. In the following article, Scott M. Spinella discusses care and maintenance of an acoustic guitar, and how to keep the instrument performing properly for a lifetime.
An acoustic guitar may not always last a lifetime — but it can come pretty close.
Even professional musicians who play several hours a day and seven days a week can rely on their acoustic guitar for decades. Numerous landmark guitars, like a Fender Stratocaster from the 1950s, can be played today.
But like most things, Scott Spinella of Camden, Delaware says that a guitar’s longevity often requires proper and regular care — and carefully selecting the right equipment to do so. Below, Scott Spinella of Camden, Delaware provides some simple steps to take to get the most out of an acoustic guitar for years to come.
Scott Spinella Says Research Before Buying
Acoustic guitars come in a range of styles, sizes, and sounds. Whether someone is trying an acoustic guitar for the first time or even as an experienced player, it pays off to find just the right guitar fit for one’s needs.
Give a few acoustic guitars a try to find a comfortable size fit. Compare the quality of the materials and sound. Make sure the strings are in good shape, especially if a used guitar is what fits the budget.
Scott Spinella of Camden, Delaware explains that some musical equipment stores have an acoustic room for potential buyers to try out instruments more thoroughly.
Don’t Forget the Case
Like any instrument, a guitar should be handled delicately and needs to be stored properly. A good case is a must. It’s where guitars should be stored at all times when they aren’t being played.
Many players recommend hard shell cases, but cases with some form of padding will do the trick as well.
Scott M. Spinella says that keeping a guitar unexposed to open air and direct sunlight will likely extend its lifespan. Cold weather is also likely to damage an acoustic guitar since it can cause the finish to crack.
Most experts recommend keeping a guitar in an environment that ranges between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Drastic variations in humidity may also cause corrosion and warping. Strings are also vulnerable when exposed to high humidity and above-average temperatures.
Use the Right Strings
Good strings are essential for maintaining a guitar’s sound and should complement one’s playing style. Scott M. Spinella says that the good news is there is a huge range of strings that can fit every guitar style and budget.
For a first-time acoustic guitarist, choosing the best strings can be overwhelming. There are differences in materials, gauges, and wrap approaches. Some strings are coasted, expanding their lifespan, while others offer more versatility and are designed to cope with hard wear over time.
If string coating feels out when playing, several fantastic strings provide a coated feeling without actually being coated. There are also many variations among gauges, the string diameter, ranging from extra light to heavy.
Beginners may prefer lighter gauges. Scott M. Spinella explains that they are easier on fingers and have strong resonance even with light touches. In general, heavier gauges offer higher volume and help guitars stay in tune for long periods.
If an acoustic guitar begins to sound dull, it’s likely time to buy new strings to prevent the entire integrity of the guitar and still produce the tone a player is after.
Pick the Correct Pick
The right pick can make all the difference in an acoustic guitar’s sound but also its longevity. Those starting may opt for a light gauge pick that can offer a steady response as one is learning. It also copes well with strumming that varies between too light and too hard.
Scott M. Spinella says that when musicians become more comfortable, a more rigid pick may accommodate advanced strumming. Holding a pick the right way is a good safeguard against damage to strings and the guitar body.
Don’t Ignore the Nut and Saddle
Strings aren’t the only important part of an acoustic guitar. The nut, the slotted sections that support and space strings properly, plays a big role in string sounds.
Usually, they are plastic but upgrading to a nut made from graphite or bone can drastically improve a guitar’s overall performance and tone. Since nuts cradle strings, it’s important to maintain nuts that are responsive.
Saddles also play a big role in supporting each string since it contacts each string on the bridge of a guitar. Like the nut, a saddle’s shape and material are big factors in a guitar’s tone. Saddle materials vary in density and consistency. Top materials include bone as well as the fossilized tusk of a walrus.