Sure, I protect my guitars, keep them safe, and clean them when they’re dirty, but I welcome any scratches or playwear they sustain in their honest work. I’ve always seen wear on an instrument as a badge of honor, a kind of battle scar, and I always assume that any well played instrument can’t help but gather some, if not many, in their long life.
As the buyer for this shop, I always get excited when someone wants to sell us something old and it looks, as my buddy Ed likes to say, ‘like it’s been rode hard and put away wet.’ Usually, that means this instrument is going to sound great! This is obviously not always the case, but more often than not it is. On this flip side, I’m always wary of an instrument that is decades old but has barely any scratches on it. Sure that may be nice for a collector who just wants to stick it in a glass case and look at it from time to time, but it probably sounds stiff and sterile. Not my cup of tea personally.
So don’t hold back when you wanna do some heavy strumming on your favorite axe. There’s a time and a place for light, sensitive strumming and fingerpicking, but sometimes you just gotta let it rip. And if you scratch up your ‘baby,’ don’t worry, it probably won't be the last time. Think of each scratch or mark as adding to the character and tone of your instrument. Welcome them. Invite them. Cherish them. It’s all part of this magical journey of creating music.