The Ultimate Guitar Storage Guide: Keeping Your Guitar In Top Shape

how to store your guitar
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Proper guitar storage is vital for preserving your instrument’s sound quality, tone, and longevity. While novice guitarists may overlook this aspect, experienced musicians understand the benefits of storing their guitars correctly.

Whether you need advice for long-term storage or for a guitar you use daily, this article has got you covered. In addition to storing a single guitar, here we will also discuss storing multiple guitars, including taking them on tour or using them regularly.

Before going into the full discussion, keep in mind that several key factors come into play when considering how to store a guitar properly to ensure its longevity and sound quality.

It is recommended to keep your guitar in a hard case or a climate-controlled environment, avoid extreme temperatures, and ensure it is not exposed to direct sunlight or moisture.

Temperature and Humidity Control

Maintaining the right environmental conditions is crucial when storing your guitars, whether keeping guitar at home or traveling with your instrument.

With some thoughtful planning for your guitar’s environment, you can ensure proper storage and minimize the risk of any humidity or temperature-related damages.

Ideal Conditions

The best way to store a guitar is in a stable environment with consistent temperature and humidity levels.

The ideal room temperature for storing guitars is generally recommended to be between 70-75°F (21-24°C). This range helps to prevent the wood from expanding or contracting, which can cause warping or cracking.

It is also important to know which part of your house or building should you store your guitars.

It’s best that you keep it away from the walls, windows or direct sunlight especially if you live in an area where the temperature may vary day in and day out. The nearer the storage place, closet, or room to the center of the house or building the better.

For the guitar owner with multiple instruments, avoid storing them in attics, basements, garages or car boots where moisture issues and extreme temperatures are common factors. These uncontrolled environments increase the risk of damage to your guitar.

Monitoring and Adjusting

To maintain ideal conditions, consider investing in a dehumidifier for humid areas or a humidifier for drier climates to control humidity levels between 45-55%. Additionally, a digital hygrometer is recommended to monitor temperature and humidity changes continuously.

Use Humidifier and Hygrometer for Humidity Control
Humidity Control System for Guitars. @folkwaymusic

For traveling musicians, portable humidity control packs like the D’Addario Humidipak (Amazon Link) are valuable for regulating the microclimate inside guitar cases when moving between climates. This prevents issues caused by excessive dryness or dampness until the wood fully acclimates.

Guitar collectors or Music studios with numerous guitars should opt for dedicated climate-controlled rooms or storage solutions to ensure a consistent environment, preserving sound quality and instrument value effectively.

Protecting the Guitar

Properly storing your guitar is essential to avoid potential damages that could impact its playability and sound quality. Here are some key solutions to protect your instrument:

Avoiding Physical Damage

A very significant thing to remember before storing your guitars is to take care of the string tension first. When in storage, you won’t need your strings to be tuned all the way to standard tuning especially in the long term since that would just apply unnecessary tension to your guitar’s neck, bridge, and body.

But also, make sure not to loosen the string tension all the way down. Just lower it by one or two whole steps to prevent bowing when it’s too loose.

Besides detuning the guitar, make sure to remove any whammy or tremolo bars should they have one when storing to prevent unwanted movement and scratches inside the case. Additionally, before storing, remember to clean your guitar thoroughly to prevent dirt buildup.

Use a Designated Guitar Case

When not in use, always store your guitar in its designated case. This shields it from dust, heat exposure near heaters, excess moisture issues from air conditioners, and other potential accidents.

For long-term storage, especially for vintage guitars, it is essential to mark the case with an ID tag and place identifying information inside the case. Additionally, photograph the guitar and record the serial number and ownership history. This information will be helpful in case of loss or theft.

If moisture is a concern, wrap the case in canvas or plastic or place it in a plastic bag. Regularly inspect and play the guitar to ensure it is in good condition.

Handling and Transporting

When handling your beloved guitar, especially during travel, opt for a high-quality hard case over affordable gig bags for superior exterior protection against scratches and dents. Ensure the case fits your guitar’s body shape snugly for maximum security.

Multiple Guitar Storage
Transport your guitar with confidence. @folkwaymusic

Avoid storing the guitar on the floor; instead, elevate it on a shelf or rack to protect against potential flooding (applicable for some!).

Once you’ve stored your guitars inside of guitar cases, prioritize standing them upright instead of lying them down on the ground to prevent damage. If standing is not feasible, laying them on their side with the handle side up is a suitable alternative.

Remember, never stack multiple cases on top of each other; place them side by side or in a rack for proper storage and easy access. With proper handling and transporting solutions, you can enjoy your guitar for years to come.

Acclimating to Different Climates

As discussed earlier, maintaining a stable environment with consistent temperature and humidity levels is crucial for proper guitar storage. However, when traveling or relocating to a new climate, it’s essential to allow your instrument time to acclimate gradually.

Humidity and Temperature Fluctuations

Sudden changes in humidity or temperature can cause the wood to expand or contract rapidly, potentially leading to cracks, warping, or other damage.

This stress factor is why it’s advisable to keep your guitar in its case during transit and let it adjust slowly to the new environment before removing it.

Using Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers

For extended trips or if you’re moving to an area with extreme humidity levels, portable humidifiers or dehumidifiers can help control the microclimate inside the guitar case.

This portable solution prevents issues like mould growth in damp conditions or excessive drying out in arid climates, both of which can seriously compromise your instrument’s wood over time.

Seasoned musicians know that taking these precautions is well worth the effort, especially when relocating prized vintage guitars or cherished instruments.

By allowing proper acclimation and using humidity control devices when needed, you can minimize the stress on the wood and keep your guitar in top playing condition.

Choosing a Display Method

Most guitarists keep their instruments by their side or within reach for practice, gigs or recording purposes. Beyond accessibility, you might want to showcase it decoratively. Here are some creative yet safe ways to display your guitar.

Guitar Stand

A basic floor guitar stand is probably the quickest and cheapest way that you can keep your guitar accessible at all times for your recording or jam sessions and not just let it lie around to possibly step on or sleep on (yes, that’s a true story).

K&M Heli 2 Guitar Stand Folding A-Frame for Acoustic and Electric Guitars (17580B)

Guitar stands are cheap, sturdy, and will keep your guitar visible, and organized. Plus, your guitar will be positioned properly so that it won’t be in any trouble of bending, bowing, or whatever damage it’s susceptible to when it’s just on the bed or floor.

How do you store a guitar without a case or stand? Well, you can get creative with a simple wall hanger for guitar.

They will also look cool in your rehearsal studio. This works perfectly for those who probably just have less than 3 guitars at the same time.

Wall Hanger

If you need frequent access, a guitar wall hanger is a convenient storage ideas that keep it readily available yet protected.

Hercules GSP38WBPLUS Auto Grip System Guitar Hanger,Black

Wall hangers are perfect to organize, store, and keep your guitars within reach at all times. Plus, as mentioned, they are space-efficient, affordable, and neat.

You can also get creative with how you hang your guitars too and most of the time; it’s used to decorate a rehearsal or recording studio at the same time.

Guitar Racks

Guitar racks offer a versatile storage solution for your guitars, accommodating multiple instruments simultaneously. Whether you need to organize your collection at home or in a studio, guitar racks provide a convenient option.

Additionally, touring musicians often utilize guitar racks for efficient transport and accessibility on the road. They are sturdy and will hold your guitars the right way neatly. They too are space savers. Guitar racks will cost more but they offer great value for your money.

Guitar Display Cabinet

Guitar Display Cabinet and Wall Hanger
Elegant display of instruments. @americanmusicfurniture

If you fancy displaying and showcasing your guitars, whether in your shop, studio, or house, then perhaps a cabinet or display case is what you’ve been looking for.

These enclosed cabinets protect the instrument from dust and other external elements, especially the ones with glass covers while allowing you to proudly display it.

Although these guitar cabinets are space savers since you can mount them on your wall, they can be a bit expensive, and you’ll often see them used to display exclusive or luxury guitars.

Benefits of Storing a Guitar Correctly

Proper guitar storage offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Preserves sound quality, longevity, and overall condition
  • Protects from damage due to temperature changes, humidity, and dust
  • Maintains tuning and intonation, reducing the need for frequent adjustments
  • Prevents theft and accidental damage by storing in a secure location
  • Ensures the guitar remains in top shape for years, leading to a better playing experience and avoiding costly repairs

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any difference in approach in storing acoustic guitars as opposed to electric guitars?

There’s not much difference in approach to storing acoustic and electric guitars. You can look after both in the same manner, though there are a few aspects to consider: acoustic guitars use different strings, don’t have pickups like electrics, and have a hollow body instead of a solid body.

Consider these factors and adjust your maintenance approach for each type of guitar.

Is it bad to always have your guitar out of its guitar case?

It’s not necessarily bad to keep your guitar out of its case if you store it properly on a rack, wall hanger, stand, or cabinet where it won’t get trampled. The only challenge here is to always keep the guitar where the humidity and temperature would be ideal for it as that’s where it’d be more protected if it’s inside a case.

Do specific guitar brands’ acoustic and electrics have specific storage needs?

There are no specific storage needs for different guitar brands. The only factors to consider are the guitar’s aesthetics, shape, and size when choosing a stand, wall mount, cabinet, or rack. Some brands provide suitable cases, but beyond that, storage needs are universal.

Final Thoughts

Storing your guitars properly both long durations or even just for the end of the day will do a lot of good for your instruments’ longevity. Guitars or musical instruments, in general, aren’t cheap and so we must take good care of them.

So love your guitar with a passion and start with proper storage practices.

Like what you’ve learned? Pin this graphic to your Guitar board and share it with fellow guitar enthusiasts!

About the Author

Guitarist | + posts

Fabian, a Brazilian guitarist now based in Dublin, Ireland, has passionately played the electric guitar since 2003. As a luthier and product specialist, he boasts nearly two decades of collaboration with top musical instrument brands. Fabian is a sought-after expert, sharing his extensive knowledge with fellow guitar enthusiasts.

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