4 Acoustic Guitar Myths Debunked

Well-intended bits of advice that aren't necessarily based in fact might (aka myths) range from merely overcautious to downright misleading.

Know Your Gear

Well-intended bits of advice that aren’t necessarily based in fact might be a better term than myth. Whatever you call them, many of the widely held beliefs about guitar care are merely overcautious while some can be particularly misleading to someone shopping for a guitar.


1. A guitar’s sound comes out of the soundhole. 
Anyone who has used one of those soundhole plugs to prevent feedback when using a pickup knows that acoustic guitars still make a lot of noise when you tape their mouths shut. The soundboard moves air both inside and outside the guitar when it is activated by string vibration, and sound travels through the spruce as well. Most folks agree that a guitar sounds better when the soundhole is open, however.


2. Cracks in the top of a guitar ruin the sound. 
Actually, lots of people are afraid cracks anywhere in a guitar hurt the sound. Believe it or not, multiple cracks in the soundboard of a guitar will not harm the sound at all if repaired properly, unless they’ve caused loose braces or other structural weakness. While cracks in the back and sides should also be repaired to prevent them from spreading, they have even less effect on tone or volume. This is not to say that cracks don’t hurt the value of a guitar, however.

Believe it or not, multiple cracks in the soundboard of a guitar will not harm the sound at all if repaired properly.

3. Guitar necks should always be perfectly straight. 
Most guitarists find they get less fret buzz with a slight amount of “relief” (forward curve) in the neck, especially if they play hard on the bass strings in lower positions.


4. Tying your strap to the peghead (instead of a strap button on the heel) can warp the neck.
This myth is based on the belief that a guitar neck is in a state of fragile balance against the evil influence of string tension, and any additional tension must be avoided. But steel-string guitar necks are made to withstand over 150 pounds of pull from a set of light strings, so the slight weight from hanging a strap on the neck isn’t enough to worry about.

You’ll find 11 more guitar myths that need debunking, plus indispensable advice, glossaries, and diagrams in the Acoustic Guitar Owner’s Manual.

Richard Johnston
Richard Johnston

Richard Johnston is the co-founder of Gryphon Stringed Instruments and has been a guitar appraiser for Antiques Roadshow.

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