The guitar has been popular for a long time, and since the outbreak of Covid-19, it seems more and more people are wanting to learn how to play the instrument.
However, guitarists often get frustrated with their acoustic guitars as they sometimes don’t sound right. Those who are learning might not understand why their guitar doesn’t sound good, however, a few simple tweaks can make a big difference. Whether you have spent $100 on a beginner’s guitar, or you went all out and spent a fortune on a state-of-the-art acoustic, there are ways of improving the sound quality.
So, if you are not happy with your guitar, before spending a lot of cash on an upgrade, consider making the following changes first. You might be surprised by the difference a few simple changes can make to the overall sound of the guitar.
Replace the Strings
Most guitarists, especially those who are at the early stages of learning, only replace a string when it breaks. This is a common mistake, as people have to understand that acoustic guitar strings are not designed to last forever. Strings that have been installed and used on the same guitar for a long time will gradually start to oxidize, and guitarists will struggle to keep the instrument in tune. Having to constantly retune acoustic guitars can cause a lot of frustration, especially for beginners. Once the strings’ natural harmonics start to diminish, then it’s time to purchase a new set of strings.
Most people don’t realize that they have to change the strings on a regular basis, plus, many feel that all strings sound the same. However, if you want to make your guitar sound great, investing in high-quality strings will help. Although these strings might burn a hole in your pocket, they will sound a lot better than low-cost strings, and they tend to last a lot longer. You should change your strings every so often, especially if you installed the current strings on your guitar a long time ago. A set of quality, new strings can make an old guitar sound good as new.
Clean the Guitar
Although cleaning a guitar doesn’t sound very ‘rock n’ roll’, it can help the way your guitar sounds. If you have spent hours practicing the instrument on a regular basis, the chances are that your guitar has picked up plenty of sweat, dust, body oils, and even blood along the way. A lot of people love the finishes on their instrument, some prefer nitro, while others opt for poly acoustics. However, the heavier the finish, the more layers on the guitar, which can lead to a build-up of all sorts of different things.
The fingerboard is another area where gunk can build up. Not only does this gunk make the instrument a health hazard, but it can also reduce the sound quality of the guitar. It will start to dampen the sound of the guitar. A lot of folks assume that it might be time to replace the strings, but a quick clean can make the guitar sound good again.
A cloth or kitchen towel can help you clean your guitar, and you can use steel wool to polish the frets and the fretboard.
Examine the Nut of the Guitar
Sometimes, the nut on acoustic guitars is not slotted properly, which can cause the guitar to sound off. If you want to find out whether or not your guitar has an issue with the nut, simply play a bar chord, and then after, play the same chord, but this time do it as an open chord. If the guitar sounds better when you play the bar chord, you might have a problem with the nut. If you are new to playing, and you haven’t mastered bar chords yet, you can use a capo instead.
A new nut for an acoustic guitar won’t break the bank, but if you don’t know how to install it, you might consider asking someone who knows how to. If you plan on doing it yourself, there are lots of easy-to-follow tutorials on streaming sites such as YouTube.
Tuning and Storing your Guitar
These days, it seems that the majority of acoustic guitars readily available come with built-in tuners, however, sometimes these tuners are not accurate. Consider purchasing a separate tuner to make sure your guitar is tuned properly.
However, you should learn how to tune your guitar without using a tuner. If the battery in the tuner runs out while you are playing, you might have issues keeping it in tune. There are straightforward methods used to tune a guitar without using a tuner, and there are videos posted online that allow you to listen to what each string should sound like. If your guitar is not in tune, the chords won’t sound right while you are playing.
Don’t store your guitar lying down. Make sure you keep it standing up at all times. There are plenty of guitar stands available that are designed specifically for acoustic guitars, and there are also hooks that allow you to mount your guitar off the wall. If you can’t store your guitar standing up, place it on its side instead. Make sure that the upper side of the guitar is pointing directly up. Storing your guitar properly helps it stay in tune.
The guitar is a fantastic instrument to learn, however, if it doesn’t sound good, learning is not going to be easy. If you have made a lot of changes to the guitar, and you are still not satisfied with its sound, it might be time to invest in a new one.
There are plenty of acoustic guitars readily available on the web and in traditional music stores, so before you spend your hard-earned money on a brand new one, consider checking out reviews posted online first. A lot of guitarists go online to share information about their guitars. If you are thinking about investing in a new guitar from a physical store, ask the sales representatives if you can try it out before you buy it.