Congratulations, you have purchased a fine handcrafted Goodall guitar. Caring for your Goodall guitar properly is very important. Controlling temperature and humidity are the main concerns. Always keep your guitar in its case when not in use. Treat it as you would yourself, keeping it from extreme temperatures. Try not to allow the instrument to get warm to the touch. Wood gets increasingly pliable as the temperature rises above 90 to 95 degrees. Don't allow the instrument to get too cold either, and especially don't allow it to get cold and then warm too quickly.
Strive to keep the instrument in a 40% to 70% humidity range. You may need to purchase a humidifier to keep it above 40% in the winter. This is quite important - even more so than too high a humidity. We build our guitars in a controlled 40% humidity environment but wood is hygroscopic and can shrink and crack across the grain if the humidity drops much below 35%. There are sound hole or case humidifiers as well as room humidifiers for use when the humidity is low. I strongly recommend using a hygrometer to monitor just how dry the atmosphere is where your guitar is kept.
When changing your guitar strings you may want to change one string at a time to keep the individually hand fitted bridge pins in order. Use a good string winder with a bridge pin notch included for removing the bridge pins and don't pry on the bridge just pull straight upward. If the pins are stubborn, loosen the strings and push upward from inside to help remove them. Don't force them in too tightly when replacing them with the new strings. We use Elixir brand 'Nano Web' light gauge strings on almost every new Goodall steel string guitar and find them to be an excellent choice for our instruments. The string gauge choice can vary but Engelmann spruce, cedar and redwood top instruments and our Parlor models are not suited for medium gauge strings.
When we first set up an instrument, the action (string height off the frets) is quite low, and the neck fairly straight. Within a few weeks or months the guitar 'breaks in' and depending upon the relative humidity and temperature, the action may rise up and necessitate a lowering of the saddle and sometimes also a slight tightening of the truss rod (a very slight forward bow on the neck is considered optimum). This adjustment is totally normal and necessary for all new instruments. A Goodall Guitar dealer or qualified repair-person will be able to adjust this for you. For the average player I would recommend the distance under the bottom of the bass 'E' string to the top of the 12th fret be slightly over 3/32" and the treble 'E' slightly over 1/16" (this is considered low action). Your personal needs for action can vary depending upon your playing style. Have a qualified repair-person evaluate the action occasionally. A once a year checkup should be adequate after the initial important break-in period adjustments.
For our nylon string model guitars the neck relief will be slightly more than our steel strings (we contour that at the factory). The action should be about 1/8" from the 12th fret from the bottom of the treble 'E' string graduating to 5/32" on the low 'E'. We use the excellent Hannabach 'Golden trebles' (Super Carbon) treble strings mixed with the D'Addario (J500 series) Pro Arte Hard Tension bass strings.
The finish doesn't need much attention- just keep it reasonably clean. Use a 100% cotton cloth slightly moistened with water to wipe and clean the body and neck. I don't advise using too much wax or guitar polish - use sparingly if at all. A tiny bit of automotive paste wax such as Turtle Wax or Meguires is okay occasionally. Once a year or so, depending on use, you may want to remove the strings and clean the fretboard and frets. Use #0000 steel wool and rub with the grain up and down the fretboard, being careful not to touch (scratch) the finish on the top. It isn't really necessary but if desired you may apply a few drops of oil fretboard oil on the fret board and bridge with a paper towel. You may purchase fretboard oil at music stores or through mail order. Two good sources for guitar related items are Stewart MacDonald at www.stewmac.com and Luthiers Mercantile International at www.lmii.com.
Low Humidity Issues
Fine crafted, solid wood instruments need extra care in regards to humidity and temperature. Acoustic guitar owners should be knowledgeable and aware of the danger of wood shrinkage and cracking with low humidity. We must reserve the right to decline warranty repair involving temperature and humidity damage.
Ideally an instrument in a low humidity environment should be built in that humidity and never leave that environment, but in reality there is quite a range of humidity that a solid wood instrument can safely live in. For our instruments it is between 40% to 80% relative humidity. The lower the guitar goes below 40% the greater probability cracking will occur and that the top and back plates will flatten and even go concave. Humidity of 30% is a bit low for safe storage. The signs of excessively low humidity are: action buzzing, fret end protrusion, fretboard hump at the body joint area, fretboard extension drop off, concave top and back, grain of the wood telegraphing through the finish, and eventually cracks.
Case humidifiers are helpful but a dedicated room with a humidifier is by far the best. When the humidity is low you should purchase and use a room humidifier. Room humidifiers are inexpensive and only cost pennies to run opposed to a de-humidifier, which is like an air conditioner energy wise and used to reduce high humidity Be sure to get a good hygrometer that confirms that the humidity in the room is above 40%. It is entirely conceivable that in some very dry locations a combination of a room humidifier and a case humidifier will be necessary to achieve 40% relative humidity for the instrument.
Maintaining even humidity is as important as keeping it above 40% relative humidity, because wood looses or gains moisture at a very high rate like a sponge. If you travel with your Goodall guitar, the sound hole and case humidification devices are imperative. Always use a quality hardshell case when traveling by air and never a soft "gig bag". Airlines are notorious for low humidity at high altitude. If you are traveling by car and the humidity is above 40% a case humidifier is not necessary. Always keep the instrument in its case when not playing and prevent hot/cold shifts. An instrument kept at temperatures of 60 to 90 degrees is a good temperature range.
We build our instruments in 40-45% relative humidity, which is the best compromise and a bit lower than some makers, and anything above this is not a problem - they swell up to one degree or another but are usually OK. When the humidity is above 40% no humidification should be used to prevent over humidification.
Goodall Guitars warranty is five years on materials and workmanship from the date of purchase from an authorized Goodall Guitars dealer. Goodall Guitars warranty is not transferable.
If the instrument has been damaged or cracked from improper care and/or abused, such as in overly dry humidity (less than 35%) or overheating, we reserve the right to charge for repairs. If the instrument is damaged from rough handling, accidental damage such as being dropped or from shipping damage we will charge accordingly. Normal fret, fretboard, nut, saddle and case wear are not covered under our warranty.
After five years, if the instrument has been properly cared for we will extend the warranty at our discretion. If a warranty issue arises a guitar can be returned to us with a return authorization. Return authorizations must be obtained from a Goodall guitars dealer. The instrument needs to be sent to us at the owners' expense. Goodall Guitars is responsible for return shipping for warranty repairs only.
A skilled local repair-person should inspect your instrument occasionally, especially after the first few months of playing. This is to make sure the action adjustment is proper and that the action isn't left too high causing extra stress on you and the instrument.
Enjoy your new Goodall guitar.