Whether you’re a newbie or a pro musician, everyone should know how to take care of their guitar. Just learning about regular upkeep and maintenance of your guitar isn’t enough in the long run. If you want your guitar to last a long time, you need to know how to store your guitar properly.
Where we store or place our guitar leaves a huge impact on the instrument, as it affects the hardware, sound, and tonal quality, and above all – its longevity. You need to check the temperature and the humidity level of the room you’re storing your guitar in. Because extreme hot/cold and severe dry/wet places can ruin the appearance of the instrument and completely alter the sound.
And not just the place, you can store your guitar in different ways. There are multiple options for short time or long time storage. If you need your guitar close, keep it in a hardcase or in a floor stand. If you want to showcase your valuable guitars, you can get a cabinet or shelf. Don’t have space on the floor, you can put it up the wall mount. Storing your guitar properly isn’t that much of a hard work. You just need to know what you’re doing.
For that, we’re here to nudge you in the right direction with our thoroughly researched and detailed analysis on this topic. So, you can know and learn how to store your guitar properly.
- 1. Where To Store Your Guitars
- 2. Protect Your Guitar from Extreme Temperature and Humidity
- 3. Dos & Don’ts
- 4. Frequently Asked Questions
Where To Store Your Guitars
If you’re thinking about long term storage, then you should consider getting a good quality hardshell case. Hard cases offer the best protection so they’re the safest way to store a guitar. Being pretty heavy, cases protect the guitar from any physical damage. Not only your guitar is safe from scratches, but it’ll also be protected from dust, dirt, and sunlight exposure. Hard cases can be inconvenient to carry around but you can easily use a gig bag while travelling with your guitar.
Another thing you need to consider is, always store your guitar cases standing up. If you have multiple guitars, don’t stack them one on top of another or leave them lying flat. This can put a lot of pressure on the bottom cases. To remedy this, store them vertically instead. Store your guitar cases standing up or on their sides.
If you want easy access to your guitar and play regularly then a guitar stand would be a better option. Floor stands are sturdy, affordable and great for organizing your guitars. Plus, you can display your instruments for the world to see.
Stands come in a variety of different designs, A-frame, tubular, tripod, multi-stands etc. and many more. Some stands are made specifically for electric or acoustic guitars, and some can even cater to both. To get the right stand for your guitar, choose the one that can stably support the guitar while keeping the body straight. That way, there will be less chance of getting knocked over.
However, stands keep the guitar completely exposed so there’s less protection from elements. Therefore, you need to regularly clean your guitar with a soft cloth.
Wall mount is a viable option if you don’t have the space for a floor stand. Moreover, you don’t have to worry over someone accidentally knocking over and damaging your precious possession. Plus, your guitar mounted on the wall can double as a decoration.
Great wall mounts can handle an easily mountable guitar with their auto-grip system to hold the guitar safe and secure. You can use a screwdriver to screw the wall mount into a stud to ensure stability. Make sure you follow the installation directions properly so that it’s sturdy. Also, check whether all the contact points are soft to avoid damage to the guitar. Besides, don’t keep your guitar sitting on the wall for a long time. Occasionally take it out and play so it doesn’t get warped.
Guitar Rack, Shelf, Storage Cabinet
These are all optimal options for multiple guitar storage. Guitar racks are also labeled as multi-stands as they both have similar function. For storing multiple guitars, racks are a great solution. You should pick a rack large enough to hold all your guitars, then place each instrument sideways on the rack in an even line. Racks are popular choices for touring musicians. However, be careful while placing the guitars on the rack or moving around as there’s chance of them bumping into each other.
Guitar shelves serve the same purpose of guitar racks, more or less. Instead of storing the guitars on the floor, you’ll be mounting the shelve on the wall. To save floor space, shelves come a lot handy. But remember to install a heavy duty shelf. The shelving unit has to be long and sturdy enough to support the length and weight of your guitars. Also, don’t stack the guitars horizontally, rather place them sideways.
Many guitarists opt for custom storage cabinet to keep their valuable possessions safe and secure. To be honest, if you can afford to build or buy one, then it’s the next best choice after a locked safe. It’s an expensive option, but your guitars will be protected from external elements. The glass cover will keep out dust, dirt, sunlight, anything really. Some locked and sealed models even offer humidity control. They come in many shapes and sizes, so you can pick any color and style to match your décor.
Protect Your Guitar from Extreme Temperature and Humidity
Always remember to keep your guitar in a room with neutral temperature. Extremely high temperatures can cause the wood to warp or the glue to melt while extremely low temperature can cause the frets to shrink. Either way, you should avoid exposing your guitar to extreme weather conditions for an extended period of time. Never leave your guitar in your car overnight or put it in direct sunlight. Store your guitar in a temperature controlled room with consistent conditions.
The ideal temperature to store your guitar is around 65-75°F (18-24°C).
It’s recommended to keep your guitar in weather conditions that’s most comfortable to you. Meaning don’t expose your guitar to climate conditions that you wouldn’t want to be exposed to yourself.
Similar to temperature level, you need to be mindful about the room’s humidity level. Rapid change in humidity level can cause severe damage in your guitar. Dry or wet wood, both can result into problems such as warping of the neck, damage to the finish, cracking, sharp fret ends, failed bridges and more.
The ideal humidity level for guitars is between the 45%-55% range.
If you can’t control the environment, you should use a dehumidifier. Place it in the room where the guitars are stored, so you can monitor the humidity level. Check the level frequently to ensure it’s staying within the ideal range.
Another option is to keep a few silica pads in your guitar case. These pads are moisture-absorbing dessicant so the inside of the case will remain dry. As per the package recommendations, change the pads out every few months.
Dos & Don’ts
What You Should DO Before Storing Your Guitar
Loosen The Tension on The Strings
This is the first thing you should do before storing your guitar.
The strings on a guitar put a lot of tension on the instrument’s neck. This can cause severe damage to the neck, resulting in warp over a long period of time. If you’re storing your guitar for an extended period of time, you need to loosen the tension of the strings. Simply turn the tuning pegs a couple times and it’ll be fine. But also make sure the strings aren’t completely loose because there should be some string tension still. If you’re unsure, you can take your guitar to any music shop and ask an employee to help you release the tension.
Clean The Guitar Before Storing it
While playing the guitar, the dirt, oil and grime from the fingers build up over time. As a result, the strings and the metal hardware tarnish and prematurely age. This is why you should always clean the guitar thoroughly before packing it away.
Best suggestion is to wash your hands before playing and wipe off the guitar after playing too. That way dirt and grime won’t be able to build up easily. To clean and condition the fretboard, you can use lemon oil or other conditioners to prevent it from drying out. Besides, you can use glass cleaner for the metal parts and use guitar polish if you think it necessary. Overall, you can use a guitar cleaning kit for a clean and polished guitar.
Check Your Guitar Periodically
Guitars are meant to be played. Sure, you stored them a long period of time for safekeeping, but you should still check it out and play occasionally.
Playing from time to time, you can check the condition of the guitar and see if any adjustments are needed. Over time, guitar neck naturally starts to warp. So, your guitar will need minor tweaks and turns regularly if you want to keep it in a pristine condition.
What You Should NOT Do
Now that you know what to do when going to store your guitar, you should also know what you should never do. These include:
- Never lean your guitar against a wall, table or any other hard surface.
- Never store your guitars lying one on top of another.
- Don’t leave your guitar out of tune.
- Never leave your guitar in the car under the direct sunlight.
- Never store the guitar in the trunk of your car either.
- Don’t store the guitar in your attic or basement as these places are prone to extreme temperatures.
- Don’t store your guitar in an unheated room or garage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is it better to store a guitar in a case or on a stand?
A: Actually, it depends. If you don’t have much space or there’s high chance of your guitar getting knocked over frequently, then it’s better to store it in a case. If you don’t have small kids or pets running around your pets, then it’s completely fine to leave it in a stand.
Q: Is there any difference between storing acoustic guitars and electric guitars?
A: In general, there’s not much of a difference. Technically acoustic and electric guitars have slightly different parts, but mostly both need similar care and maintenance. The strings are different for both, plus electric guitars have pickups while acoustic guitars have hollow body. Consider these aspects and store your instrument accordingly.
Q: Is it bad to hang up your guitar?
A: No, there’s nothing wrong if you want to hang up your guitar. As long as it’s secured and safely hanged up, there shouldn’t be any issue. Just make sure there’s no danger of it falling down, and you’ll be fine.
Q: Will leaving a guitar in the cold ruin it?
A: Cold doesn’t harm the guitar the way the heat does. However, the sudden temperature change can ruin the finish and constrict the strings. And if you leave your guitar in the cold for a long period of time, there’s bound to be some damage to the instrument. It’s better to avoid such situation.
Q: Should I untune my guitar for storage?
A: No, you don’t need to untune your guitar or loosen the strings for storage. Rather, there’s high chance doing this will cause damage to the neck of the guitar over time. Musicians recommend to loosen the string tension before storing, but don’t loosen the strings completely! Just a couple of turns will be more than enough.
There are a lot of different ways to make sure your guitar doesn’t suffer much during storage. You just need to be careful and remember how to store your guitar properly. Keep playing now and then and you’ll be fine!