How to store a guitar to ensure peak condition

A post about how to store a guitar.

Guitars are temperamental things. After all, they consist of wood and strings, so it doesn’t take much for them to twist out of shape. With this in mind, in this post, I explain how to store a guitar to ensure peak condition.

Keep dry

A few years ago, I played a regular outdoor lunchtime gig. After a couple of weeks, much to my horror, my guitar began to sound lifeless — like six strings glued to a chunk of wood. I had no idea what had happened to my ‘baby;’ however, at the time, I speculated that perhaps there was a problem with its pickup.

When I showed my guitar to a luthier, he told me it was wet, and the neck had warped.

Thankfully, for a coffee and cake from the café down the road, the luthier soon adjusted my guitar’s neck back into shape.

How did my guitar get wet? Well, though I was playing near a marina, I hadn’t taken it swimming. I suspect the problem lay in the way I stored my guitar. You see, in Auckland, New Zealand, where I’m based, humidity is around 80%. My guitar must have been sweltering in its case—particularly while in the back of my guitar to and from gigs.

What do I do to avoid future problems? Well, on the luthier’s recommendation, I now keep several silica gel packets inside my guitar case to absorb moisture. I haven’t had any issues with moisture since.

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2: Keep cool

Heat makes wood expand— have you ever seen a wooden door become difficult to close at summertime? In contrast, cold makes wood shrink and can cause fittings, like tuning peg screws, to become loose. So, store your guitar in a place with an even temperature—between 21 and 24 degrees Celsius is ideal.

If you like to display your guitars out of their cases, do so in a space that isn’t exposed to outside conditions—a room near the centre of your home, rather than an external wall, is best.

And, of course, always keep your guitars away from direct sunlight.

3: Keep upright

Personally, I always store my guitars in their cases. ‘Better safe than sorry’ is my motto. So, when storing in their cases, don’t lie your guitars on top of one another; store them standing up. If this isn’t an option (maybe due to lack of space), store your guitars on their sides with the handles facing upwards.

4: Keep tort

It is important for there to be string tension on your guitars; otherwise, the necks can bow. However, you don’t want too much tension, so if you’re not going to be playing your guitar for a while, loosen the strings a step or two.

5: Keep in touch

Don’t put your guitars into storage and forget about them. Check on them now and then, and run through some tunes to make sure everything is in working order.

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Related posts:

Tips for travelling with your guitar by aeroplane

Essential things to look for when choosing a guitar

Andrew Healey


Andrew is an Auckland-based writer and musician.

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