I bought myself a used guitar (with stand & strap) with $150 I was given for Christmas; it is a '08 Fender Squier Affinity Strat in perfect condition that has the Seymour Duncan Everything Axe pickups set and a push/pull volume knob that activates the neck pickup and I'm not sure what else might have been done to it. I kind of don't care, I know I got an AMAZING deal in just that alone and I can't really take advantage of it all yet. I also know that I will not be able to afford a replacement for a long time, and definitely not one that sounds as good as this (and contrary to some reviews, mine stays in tune REALLY well). All in all I lucked out with my first guitar, but having such a nice one introduces a new problem for me.

I am heading back to college in a week; while college is in session I drive back and forth from the east and west side of my state pretty regularly and I want to take my guitar with me. I know that temperature and pressure changes can mess with the guitar. I'll be driving over a mountain range and into valleys on a near weekly basis at times and I want to make sure nothing amiss happens to my guitar but I don't know what I need to do to prevent it. If I had gotten some cheap guitar I would have just put it in my car and not worried about what would happen but I really want to keep this guitar in the pristine condition I received it in.

I am planning on buying this hard case to protect it, but do I need to do anything else about going up and down the mountains? If you think there is a better case I'd love to hear suggestions, but this one seems almost perfect for my guitar.

Additionally, I have a tuner and a spare set of strings to keep in the case, I was wondering what else I need to get to kind of have on hand. I know lots of people suggest a winder, but is that necessary? I keep a Leatherman on me at almost all times, which include a pair of wirecutters; I haven't tried it, but I assume that they will cut the strings just fine? Is there something else I should have?

I really can't play yet so I don't have an amp. I do have a digitech rp350 I got for $50 that I can plug headphones or standard speakers into but I really can't play anything worth listening to. I've been practicing by playing rocksmith every day, I really want to be consistent with playing so I can continue to improve.

Beyond my two questions, is there any additional reading material you can suggest? I have been trying to read as much as I can to improve myself beyond what the game teaches me. I really don't have the kind of schedule (and likely the budget) that would allow for someone to teach me guitar but I'm determined to learn to play and take proper care of my instrument.
A case will not protect your guitar from moisture changes, but it should be okay. Minor issues and any setup stuff needed is in a sticky in EG if you need it.
I'd carry spare strings if your that paranoid, nothing else truely nessessary. Maybe a nice dunlop formula 65 cleaning kit.

Just learn some songs using guitar pro (or tux guitar if your cheap) and read some theory like this:

That game is teaching you badly and I would stop playing it immediately.
Learn chords first, a few easy open chord tunes and muss about with them making your own music.
Congrats on the new guitar man!

You're right about temperature affecting your guitar. Pressure not as much, humidity, yes. Luckily it doesn't affect it to the extent you seem to be thinking. The rule of thumb I was always taught is:
If you aren't comfortable in an environment, neither is your guitar.

So quite simply, if it's too cold, dry, hot, humid, for you, that goes for your guitar to.
Keeping it in a case will help with travel as the environment inside the case will be more constant.

You can buy humidifiers for inside your case, but if your house, dorm, etc is liveable and the air isn't bone dry you should be ok.

If it's really hot or cold and your guitar is out, ideally you want to let it sit in the case for a few minutes after bringing it back inside to let it adjust to its new surrounding. This of course is extreme care, and in all honesty, not something very many people are going to do at all, much less with a Squire.

That case will be more than enough for your guitar. It's great you're going all out to take care of it. A good case is a good case, and Gator makes a good product.

As for extras, no a winder is definitely not necessary although it can speed up re-stringing your guitar. Wire cutters will handle strings no problem.

You didn't mention picks but I assume that went without saying.

Really you seem to be set though.

As far as reading, meh you can only get so much from a book, you want to put in hours with your fingers on strings. Look for some tabs to songs you like (You're in the right place for that) and if you want to work on learning your chords and scales I'll give you my favourite website for all of that. Favourite it, you'll use it forever, guaranteed.


You're above and beyond the right track to learning to play and taking care of your gear man. Happy jamming!

EDIT: I second, quitting that game ASAP. It just isn't guitar man.

Last edited by Zeppelin Addict at Jan 3, 2012,
that game wil teach you guitar about as well as guitar hero will
Thanks for the quick and helpful replies, I do have some picks that will be going in the case.

I live in lowland-steppe (7 inches of rain per year) and attend college in what I believe is a Mediterranean environment (50 inches of rain per year). I kind of blanked on mentioning that, would a drastic humidity change like that have an effect on the advice you offered?

I'm also wondering if you could expand on what is wrong with the game. I started just under a week ago not even able to use more than my first to fingers to fret. After less than a week I have some muscle-memory and am able to move my hand up and down the board in the position I want most of the time without looking. I can use all four fingers to fret with and can stretch my hand farther than I thought would ever be possible. I am picking strings with precision and speed that a week ago I thought I would never be able to do. The game is constantly pushing me improve my existing skills and to learn new techniques.

My friend who for years has had a guitar that he has only barely been able to pluck at is able to play series of chords and is getting faster at transitioning between them and has also greatly improved his ability.

We both read other sources to keep learning and the game encourages us to always improve well beyond what at least one of us would have ever done without it so I'd like to know how it is bad.

Edit: I just played for a while and started with the game's chord challenge and even though I have looked up chords before, I could never remember them and definitely couldn't switch my hand to different chords smoothly. After about an hour of playing the chord challenge and the minigame where I have to quickly switch between chords, I can remember and switch into the position for three chords without thinking. Clearly that won't last without further practice, but that is exactly what the game gives me, lots of practice burning the skills into my hands and building up muscle memory.
Last edited by Insaniac99 at Jan 3, 2012,
U seem pritty set on your original question so im only gonna comment on rocksmith
I dont see anything wrong with rock smith, if its getting u to play an actual guitar, not like guitar hero, and u can see yourself improving, then that is great but as long as you also play without the game, be it something you have leanred from a tab, by ear,from your friend or even a song/minigame that you originaly learned from rocksmith, as long as you play guitar without the game as well. Just dont only play guitar on rocksmith cos its just not as beneficial as playing just you and yout guitar.

Sounds like a nice deal on the guitar as well btw
Ibanez RG470AHZ
Squire Strat
Walden G630CE

Blackstar HT-40
Marshal MG30FX

I just think people naturally have a hum bug in their butt, they expect guitar players 50 years from now to learn guitar the same way they did, in a dark room by candlelight.

Personally the way I see it, as long as Rocksmith is not your only source of practice (practice away from the game, buy some books on music theory and guitar stuff) your fine.