Storing Your Acoustic Guitar The Right Way
One of the most important things you can do as a musician and guitar owner is to take care of your guitar and learn the proper ways to store it. Proper storage is the best way you can increase the life of your guitar and keep it in the best shape it can be in. When a guitar is stored improperly, or stored in extreme and lack of humidity situations the wood on a guitar can warp or start to crack.
Humidity is the biggest factor in where you store an acoustic guitar, whether if it is too dry or if it is too wet. If it is too dry the guitar’s body integrity can suffer. The wood can start to crack and any finish on the body can start to peel, making the overall look diminish in quality. The wood can shrink and cause the fretting to overextend or cause the top to start sinking causing the neck and bridge to become uneven. Many things can happen to a guitar if there is too much water in the air as well. The action on the neck can start to rise, from the neck and bridge starting to swell. This can cause glued joints to come apart and even break, which is due to the body warping.
The right levels of humidity can be hard to gain if your climate changes frequently or if it is stored in a garage or basement. The recommended level of humidity for guitar storage is somewhere between 45% and 55%, and conveniently enough comfortable humidity levels for humans is between 25% and 60%.
Getting the right humidity can be hard when in a larger setting or just not possible in some other situations. There are still ways you can care for your guitar without bending over backward to get the humidity right. Keeping the guitar in the case is important when the room is not at the right humidity. You can keep silica gel pads in the case to absorb any moisture if the room is too humid, but changing them out every few months is recommended. If your room is too dry, the best thing to do is to get a humidifier to control the room’s humidity. You can also find Humidity packs that you put in the guitar case to help absorb moisture when needed and to emit a vapor when the humidity is too low to prevent the guitar from drying out.
The lastly hotly debated issue of storage is whether you should loosen the strings on the neck or not. Since many acoustic guitars have a truss rod in the neck acting as a counter to the string tension, fully releasing the tension can end up damaging the neck from the truss rod overcompensating for no strings. The best thing is to keep most of the tension on the strings, by either loosening strings by a half step or only loosening two to three strings by a full step. Either way, you should still play the guitar every once and a while, as no guitar wants to be unplayed.
This blog was originally posted on JoshuaLindland.net