Storing your guitar in ideal conditions is the key to its long-term preservation. The right steps and precautions and creating the optimal environment for your instrument will help it last longer, look nicer, keep it in better playing condition, and increase its resale value if it comes down to that. Follow these simple tips to keep your guitar safe!
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1. Control The Humidity Around Your Guitar
Guitars are subject to the same environmental factors as other goods. However, they are especially vulnerable to humidity.
Humidity is the amount of water in the air, and your guitar needs a healthy amount of it. Otherwise, you can encounter specific problems with your instrument.
Lower humidity levels will cause the wood to dry out and crack, whereas if the humidity is too high, it can cause the wood to expand and swell and cause your parts to shift. The ideal humidity for your guitar is between 40 and 60 percent, and should be stored in an environment that falls in this range.
The best way to control humidity in your guitar room and keep it at a constant level is to use a humidifier or dehumidifier alongside a hygrometer that will help you figure out the humidity levels in the air. All of these can be placed in the same room where your guitar is, or you can always find ones designed for guitar cases. Check out my guide to guitar humidifiers to learn more!
2. Clean Off Your Guitar Before Putting It Away
While it can seem like a hassle to do every time you play, you should wipe off your guitar to remove any dust, oil, and other debris that might be sitting on your instrument.
This doesn’t mean you have to use fretboard oil and guitar polish every time; rather, just taking a microfiber cloth and quickly going through the nooks and crannies should be sufficient enough to prevent the aforementioned issues from building up.
Naturally, oil and such will build up on your strings, and eventually, you’ll need to replace them, but you can also increase their longevity by wiping them down with a microfiber cloth when you’re done playing. Microfiber towels are really affordable and reusable and can also be used on other items, like cell phone screens, glasses, mirrors, cars, or anything really!
With that said, not only does a grimy guitar look unattractive, it can affect the feel and performance of certain parts, such as your fretboard and bridge. Definitely take a moment to clean your guitar before you put your guitar because you’ll have fewer issues in the long run.
3. Keep Your Guitar Out Of Direct Sunlight & Harsh Temperatures
Guitars are susceptible to damage if they are exposed to sunlight. The best way to avoid this is to keep your guitar in a case or gig bag whenever you are not playing it, but if you prefer to leave your guitar on a stand or hang it on a wall, just be sure it’s away from your windows to avoid direct sunlight.
A hard case is ideal for protecting your guitar. It will keep it out of harm’s way while providing protection from damage and can prevent dust from accumulating on it. A soft case can also give good protection, but it is less robust and durable than a hard case.
Either way, I recommend keeping your guitar in some type of case whenever you are not playing it, even over other storage methods. Nonetheless, I do understand that people love storing their guitars where they can see them and can easily pick them up and start playing.
Additionally, avoid leaving your instrument in your vehicle or garage. Even if it’s in a case, if your guitar is left in a car on a warm day, the temperature can rise. This can potentially cause damage to your guitar and make it unplayable. Similarly, very cold temperatures can also be problematic and can go hand-in-hand with low humidity, but a case and humidifier can solve this particular issue.
In this article, we explored how to keep your guitar safe and secure when it’s not being used, and if you haven’t been doing any of these already, I hope you find them easy enough to incorporate.
By taking small yet effective precautions like paying attention to humidity levels, preventing the build-up of dust and grime, and simply keeping it out of the sun and heat (and cold, dry areas), you and your guitars will be happy for years to come!