Here are answers to many questions about acoustic guitar care and repair. If you’re uncertain about guitar care and maintenance, the ins-and-outs of guitar building, or another topic related to your guitar, we’re here to help! Ask Acoustic Guitar’s repair experts by sending an email with the subject “Repair Expert” to [at]

wood grain

Ask the Expert: How Much Does Grain Orientation Matter?

Differences between riftsawn, quartersawn, and flatsawn wood can be significant. Stiffness-to-weight ratio, highest when boards are perfectly riftsawn, drops noticeably when a top is cut even slightly different. Velocity of sound—the ability to vibrate efficiently—corresponds closely with stiffness-to-weight ratio.



binding guitar

Ask the Expert: How Do I Determine the Value of a High-End Guitar?

Q: What exactly is the difference between a “handmade” and a “handcrafted” guitar? Furthermore, in the high-end market, what qualities should a player (not a collector) look for when evaluating the differences between, for example, a $3,500 guitar and a $7,500-plus guitar? —Dan Liechty, Normal, Illinois A: A quick Google…

western red cedar guitar

Ask the Expert: Can a Soft Top Wood Last as Long as Spruce?

Perhaps because of their lighter weight, cedar and redwood tops tend to “open up,” or break in, relatively quickly. However, unless the builder pays adequate attention to longitudinal stability, cedar and redwood tops sometimes open up beyond a point that many players consider optimal, losing low-end definition as the guitar continues to be played.



acoustic guitar neck

Ask the Expert: Should I Reset the Neck on My Vintage Guitar?

Guitars sound best when string load and top resistance are in relative balance. An underloaded top cannot drive enough air to achieve optimum volume, power, and presence; an overloaded top is unable to generate higher overtones and lacks sustain. One key to optimizing the mechanical efficiency of an individual top is knowing, with some precision, how it wants to be loaded.
audio glitch

Ask the Expert: What Causes Random Intonation Glitches?

Q: Using an electronic tuner, I can verify that when my open strings are in tune, my fretted octaves are accurate or nearly accurate. Individual notes of certain chords, however, can be very out of tune, and capoing in some positions requires retuning. I’ve noticed that all guitars, even electrics…