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How To Care For and Maintain Your Guitar

Kevin Sinclair

It`s not surprising that proper care of your guitar will give you a more consistent quality sound and a much longer guitar life. If you are serious about playing guitar you will want to get some accessories that are essential for the care of the guitar. A guitar player is only as good as the sound and the quality of the guitar he is playing.

The first item would be a hard shell case for transporting the guitar to and from the different locations that you will be playing the guitar. Many people use what they call soft or cloth "gig bag" which zip up and protect the exterior surface of the guitar. A major problem with this type of case is that the tuning nuts on the end of the neck of the guitar get out of tune almost every time you transport it as there is nothing to protect them from being bumped which causes them to turn and get out of tune. Also, if there is any kind of impact while loading and unloading the guitar, this could cause cracks or actual punctures in the body of the guitar.

A hard shell case prevents these things from happening as there is space between the neck and body of the guitar and the actual case. The case is designed to take impact while holding the guitar securely on the inside protecting the actual body and neck of the guitar and keeping it in tune. It is a bit more of an investment than a gig bag but in the long run it will help to make your guitar last much longer.

Another item that should be considered for care of the guitar is a guitar stand. You need this to put the guitar on while you are not playing it. Many people lean the guitar against a wall or couch or some other stationary object when they are not playing it. There are a couple of reasons why this is not a good practice. The first would be that if you do not lean the guitar in the correct manner you can very easily warp the neck of the guitar which makes it much more difficult to play.

Warping of the neck increases the distance between the strings and the neck which causes you to have to apply more force on the strings while playing. This can make for some very sore and blistered fingers! Also, leaving the guitar laying around makes it much more available for accidents to happen. Having a stand keeps the guitar in the same location when you are done with it and also supports the neck close to the body of the guitar which totally prevents warping of the neck - a small investment solving some big problems.

The last item that should be considered is an actual tuning device for the guitar. You will find that the longer you play the guitar the better you will become at tuning it

Kevin is the publisher and editor of musicianhome.com, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.

Guitar Center tunes in to Manhattan: new store caters to city`s professional urban musician

DSN Retailing Today , Nov 24, 2003 by Doug Desjardins, Linda Saucerman

NEW YORK CITY -- The nation`s top retailer of musical instruments made its first move into Manhattan last week when it opened a Guitar Center flagship store in Union Square. The new store will bookend its West Coast flagship in Los Angeles and is designed as a haven for New York City musicians.

The 30,000-square-foot store opened Nov. 20 and fulfilled the chain`s long-standing goal of establishing a foothold in Manhattan. "It`s been on our radar for a long time and we finally found the great location we were looking for," said Bruce Ross, evp and cfo of Guitar Center. The store is on the border of Greenwich Village and close to New York University.

Guitar Center`s Joe Fabrocini said the new outlet stocks more high-end products than most of the company`s other stores in an effort to suit the needs of professional musicians it`s sure to attract.

"The market here is more sophisticated and it`s a center for music, so we`re obviously carrying more high-end gear here to meet people`s needs," Fabrocini, the chain`s manager of store openings, told DSN Retailing Today.

That market and the size of the store, which is twice as large as a typical outlet, have prompted Guitar Center to include some unique merchandising features. One of the first things customers will see is the wall of 350 guitars on display, with famous name brands like Fender and BC Rich. The wallpaper that serves as a backdrop for the guitar wall makes the display very lively, with one wall adorned with famous guitarists, such Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen.

"One thing that`s unique about Guitar Center is it`s a hands-on store. That means that you can take any guitar, any gear off the wall and play it. When I was a kid you go into a store and you couldn`t touch anything, but here we encourage you to touch everything. If we have a $5,000 guitar on the wall, you can pull it down, plug it in and play it. Nothing is behind glass here," said Fabrocini.

Another merchandising distinction is the Vintage Room. With its `50s movie theatre marquee signage reading, "NYC Rocks," and its retro feel, the Vintage Room contains classic, original guitars ranging in price from $100 all the way up to $5,000. Next to the Vintage Room, and resembling a cigar humidor, is a climate-controlled room made of cedar that is filled with acoustic guitars. Then there`s the Rumble Room for bass-heads who are striving to be the next John Entwistle of The Who. Near the bass room begins a wall covering designed to look like a heavy-duty safe. Called The Vault, it`s filled with "the best of the best" new guitars ranging from $5,000 to

But Guitar Center carries more than just guitars, as evidenced by the drum and cymbal rooms located on the first floor. In addition to the more than 300 drum kits available, a Tiki Wall, with its hula grass and faux thatched roof, displays congas, timbales and other Latin, African and world music percussions.

The DJ room downstairs represents the urban flavor of NYC. Graffiti wallpaper identifies this room that is twice the size of those found in other Guitar Centers and has about twice the amount of equipment, everything from turntables, mixers, lighting to even fog machines.

Other departments within this New York City flagship include a recording room with new and vintage microphones, keyboards and a live sound room.

The store also features a special area set aside for celebrity musicians who may want some privacy while testing new equipment. "We have an Artist Relations Office to cater to the needs of artists," said Fabrocini. "In other words, if a celebrity were to come into the store, we have an area where we can take them in private away from the general public."

Guitar Center`s new store is expected to attract a large clientele of well-known musicians who reside in the New York City area in the same way its flagship store in Los Angeles has since it opened in 1966. "Guitarists like Eric Clapton, B.B. King and Eddie Van Halen are all regular customers there," said Ross.

But Guitar Center has some competition to deal with in the form of Sam Ash Music. That chain is the third-largest music retailer in the country and has been doing business in New York City for more than 70 years.

"Really, the only competitor we see here is Sam Ash," said Fabrocini. "And we`re here to compete with them on their home turf, which they attempted to do with us at our Hollywood store without success."

While opening a Manhattan store is an occasion for Guitar Center, it`s just part of an ambitious expansion plan that will open 17 stores in 2003, including another new flagship store next month in Nashville, Tenn.

Looking forward, Ross said Guitar Center would continue to expand its footprint by 15% to 18% each year with the opening of 20 to 22 stores in 2004. The chain, which did $1.25 billion in sales last year, also operates 19 American Music stores, which specialize in band instruments.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Reproduced with permission of the copyright holder. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

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