Basic things to remember:
- Don’t keep your guitar next to a heater
- Don’t store your guitar outside in a cold or hot car or garage
- Don’t transport your guitar in a car trunk
- Don’t rest your guitar against a wall, chair, etc. where it is likely to slip and fall down
- Don’t leave your guitar out where it might be stepped on—keep it on a guitar stand or in a case
- Don’t get your guitar wet
Further tips for acoustics:
- If you can’t avoid exposing your guitar to extreme cold and you want to take proper care of it, get a hard case. Keep the guitar in the case while it’s exposed to the cold, then give it at least an hour to come back to room temperature before opening the case to minimize shock.
- The ideal relative humidity range for guitars is 45-55%. Use a guitar humidifier during winter months when your heater dries out the air in your home. Running the air conditioner in the damp New York summer will keep the humidity of indoor air down.
Guitars are sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity, expanding and contracting as they absorb and release moisture. There’s not too much to worry about with solid-body electric guitars, but acoustics, and especially solid-top acoustics, can have problems if you’re not careful. Your first acoustic guitar is likely to be a more robust laminated top, but it can still be damaged or its playability can be affected by extremes or rapid changes in temperature or humidity. An acoustic guitar that becomes too dry can begin to buzz, and it can even crack. Owners of higher end solid-top guitars humidify their instruments during the dry winter months, using a hygrometer to monitor relative humidity levels, and keep them in cases as much as possible to avoid the shock of temperature and humidity changes.
Also, though it seems like it should be common sense, guitars are not indestructible. A nasty fall can damage them!