Guitars are one of the most expensive musical instruments. However, most players forget this and tend to neglect proper storage methods for their guitars, and thus they end up getting damaged. Thus it is important to learn how to store the guitar properly.
Therefore, no matter how experienced you are with handling your guitar, you need to take time and learn the various storage options.
If you want to ensure that your guitar is always in perfect condition, you need to learn and consider how to store the guitar properly.
Whether you are using an acoustic, electric, or classical guitar, you are fully aware that these instruments are made up of wood. Unfortunately, wood is an organic material prone to damage if exposed to an extremely wet or dump and a hot environment. However, if bought from a good company, most of these instruments are made to last longer.
These tips discussed should be of great help to a guitar player who uses their guitar once in a while.
Get a quality guitar case
There are two types of guitar cases; the hard case and the soft case.
Getting a hard case is one of the safest ways of storing a guitar as they offer the best protection. The hard cases are heavy and made of durable materials compared to the soft cases; this provides maximum support to the instrument.
In addition, the durable materials protect the guitar from changes in the environmental temperature, be it extreme heat conditions or extremely cold conditions. The hard case is essential for artists as they travel for their music tours.
Disadvantages of the hard case
- Since the hard case is made up of heavy and durable material, it is hard for the player to carry the guitar around while going for gigs.
- The case makes it hard for the player to showcase their guitar as it is common to show the type of guitar an artist carries around.
Soft cases are lightweight and easy to carry around. They are also known as gig bags as they are the perfect bags for artists who need enough storage and want an easier way of carrying their guitars from show to show.
The disadvantage of the soft case
- Though the case offers a more straightforward storage method to the guitarist, it is not durable compared to the hard case. This makes it hard for the case to protect the guitar from the changes in temperature and humidity. So it is advisable to get the hard case if you live in an extreme environment.
Ways of storing your guitar case
There are steps that a guitarist needs to follow to store their cases for them to last longer.
- Store the guitar cases standing up. Avoid piling the cases one on top of the other as this will lead to damage to the case, and if it is a soft case piling them up will cause damage to the guitars.
- Store your guitar cases within the vicinity of your home, not your garage or your basement, to avoid damage to the materials that will eventually damage the guitars.
Using a guitar stand
Getting a guitar stand is one of the cheapest ways of storing a guitar. If you are constantly in need of playing your guitar, then getting a stand will make it easier for you to access your guitar any time of the day.
It is okay to get a well-designed guitar stand to function both as a storage material and a well-designed house artifact. Though the stand does not offer complete protection to their guitars, they provide a great support system to the guitars instead of just leaving them on the floor or the couch.
Disadvantages of the guitar stand
- If the stand is not permanently fixed on the floor, it may trip, leading to the breakage of the guitar(s) placed on the stand.
Using wall mounts
Having a guitar wall mount in your office or home is one of the most remarkable ways of displaying your guitars. The wall mount needs to be well fixed and accurately placed to keep your guitars from falling.
The mounts do not take up so much house space, and so one can store as many guitars as they desire. However, the strength of your wall will determine how long the mount will last since one requires to drill a hole through the wall. The mounts are safe for the guitar and the guitar’s neck. The mounts are also secure if there are pets as it is far from reach both to the pets and kids.
In a temperature-controlled room
You need to store your guitar properly in a room where the temperature is regulated. In addition, the rooms’ humidity levels need to be regulated. For example, humidity control is one of the ways of keeping the acoustic guitar in good condition.
Humidity has two sides when it is too low and when it’s too humid, and they cause damages to the guitar as discussed:
If it is too humid
High humidity will cause wetness to a guitar and have the following effect:
- First, the top of the instrument will swell.
- The neck and other areas of the guitar will warp.
- This will cause the guitars’ actions to be too high, making it challenging to play.
- When the guitar swells, it will lead to the glue joints failing.
What to do
To prevent your guitar from getting wet in case the humidity is too low, then consider doing the following:
- Remove the guitar from the case if stored in a case now and then, and dry the case using a hot dryer to prevent the guitar from getting wet.
- Use silica gel in the cases to make them dry and ensure you change them once in a while.
- Use a humidifier if the environment you live in has a lower humidity level than average.
If the humidity is too low
Low humidity will cause drying of the guitar, which causes severe damage such as:
- It will cause the wood that forms the body of the guitar to crack.
- It will cause the top (between the fingerboard and the bridge) to sink.
- Cause a hump on the fretboard.
- Cause the action to become too low, and this will cause a fret buzz.
What to do
Always use a humidifier to control low humidity levels to prevent your guitar from drying out.
Store away from direct sunlight and dust
To properly store a guitar, it is essential to store it away from dust and direct sunlight. This is because the dust particles will interfere with the guitar’s appearance and alter the guitar’s sound. Furthermore, suppose the dust particles are big. In that case, they can scratch the guitar’s surface and accumulate inside the guitar, thus altering the intonation and resonation of the guitar.
Once you store your guitar on the stand or the wall mount, you should wipe them every morning just as you would wipe your window panes.
Exposure of the guitar to too much sunlight will cause the guitar to fade in color and weaken the strings, thus causing breakage of the strings.
Preserve the guitar strings
Guitar strings are one of the most expensive parts of the guitar you’ll have to buy. Learning how to preserve them is a proper method of ensuring that your guitar is well stored.
Location of storage
The location in which you store the guitar strings is essential. Humidity is one of the most significant factors that lead to damage to guitar strings. The moisture produced during high humidity levels reacts with the guitar strings and leads to oxidation that leads to rusting.
To prevent rust from forming, keep the strings in a cool and dry environment and not in a damp basement where the temperature can get extreme.
Buy Strings In Sealed Packets
When getting extra strings for your guitars, buy strings that are already sealed for more accessible storage and protect them from other causes of damages. However, you will need to store the strings out of extreme temperature conditions.
Avoid buying too many string sets
Buying strings in bulk is cheaper than buying them one at a time, but if you have no idea of how to store them, this is a considerable risk to take, as they will be easily damaged.
If you are fully aware of the various string preservation methods, then this means that you can get the strings in bulk, and you can always have strings on backup should any break, and they will be fresh and ready to go on your guitar.
Until you place the strings with a metal component on the guitar, the strings should always be stored in a humid regulated location.
After following the proper storage methods for your guitar, there are various procedures one should follow for proper maintenance of the instrument. Before cleaning the guitar, the following are the steps one should follow.
Gather your materials
Cleaning your guitar requires a few materials. You can use a soft cloth, an old sock or shirt, some water, a glass cleaner, and guitar polish that has no solvent.
Avoid using paper towels to clean your guitar, as they can scratch the guitar’s finish.
Remove the guitar strings.
Before you begin cleaning your guitar, it’s safe to remove the guitar strings to make cleaning the fretboard becomes an easier task. Make sure you remove a few strings a pair at a time to avoid messing up with the guitar’s neck.
It’s essential to remove the strings because cleaning the guitar protects the strings from contact with water or any cleaning agent.
Start by cleaning the fret
The fret is the central part of the guitar because the strings run through and where one hand of the guitarist rests. This is the part that requires a thorough cleaning since all the dirt from your fingers and your hands will always find its way to stay in the fret.
This accumulation of dirt and oil affects the guitars’ general performance. It will also cause the tone of the strings to deteriorate. As you start cleansing the fret, remove all the strings but be careful not to damage the strings.
When cleaning the guitar, wring out your damp cloth as much as possible to avoid oversaturating your guitar with the cleaning products or water.
For the dirty spots on the guitars’ fretboard, use a piece of extra fine steel wool to scrub. Use the extra-fine steel wool because steel wool can get caught in the magnets of the guitars’ pickups.
Clean the body of your guitar
Clean the guitar’s body, the sides, front and back with the same damp cloth used to clean the fret. However, make sure you rinse the cloth after cleaning the fret to avoid spreading the dirt to the guitar’s body. Then, move the damp cloak in a circular motion across the body of the guitar.
While cleaning your guitar, you will notice some spots don’t come off just by wiping them. Spots such as streaks, fingerprints need a little bit of moisture for them to come off, so “huff” your warm breath on the guitar. Then, wipe the spots using a damp cloth. If this doesn’t work, clean using some detergent and then buff using a dry cloth to get rid of the wet streaks.
Clean the guitar bridge
The bridge is located on the guitar’s body, below the soundhole, and supports your guitar strings. To clean the bridge of your guitar, use the same method as the fretboard, dampening a cloth and wiping down the bridge to remove dust, dirt, and grime. Next, you can use a toothbrush or pipe cleaner to scrub away the dirt gently for the problematic spots.
Wipe the tuning keys
Tuning keys are those keys at the top of your guitar neck on the instrument’s headstock. To clean these tuning keys, spray a dry cloth with the glass cleaner and polish the keys.
Polish your pickups
The pickups are only found on electric guitars, in place of the soundhole found on the guitar’s body. If the pickups are dirty, clean them up using a damp cloth, but if there are rust spots on the pick-ups, remove them from your guitar carefully to avoid damaging the whole body.
To clean the pickups, one needs to unscrew them from the guitar and clean them using a rust-dissolving agent.
To remove the rust spots, you can clean the pickups with a cotton ball soaked in a small amount of lighter fluid.
Once the pickups are cleaned, screw them back to the guitar and wipe them dry with a dry clean cloth.
Polish the guitars’ finish
Most guitar experts advise guitarists not to polish their guitar frequently because the polish can build up and dampen the guitar’s sound through the polish makes it look appealing. However, if you desire to polish your guitar, use a polish that is made using pure carnauba wax and one that has no petroleum products or solvents. Spray the recommended polish on a dry cloth and gently wipe it on your guitar.
Avoid polishing vintage guitars.
Once you are done cleaning the guitar, deep condition your fretboard. This is done because of the build-up of grim on the board that makes it hard to play the instrument. It is essential to clean and deep condition your fretboard because:
- Deep conditioning the fretboard makes playing the guitar much more comfortable.
- Cleaning the fretboard prevents damages to the frets.
- Cleaning and deep conditioning the fretboard make the guitar appear clean and attractive.
- It boosts the durability and longevity of the guitar.
Leaving your guitar on a stand instead of putting away when not playing can be better for the instrument. This allows proper air circulation, which prevents warping from humidity or damage by other factors such as children and pets running around hitting it with their toys.
You should keep your guitar in a moderate temperature range of 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit (5 – 10 Celsius). I recommend keeping it at room temperatures between 64 and 77 degrees, but if you want the best durability for this instrument then make sure that its cooler than 5 or higher on both ends: avoid getting any lower than 35.
Simply because you are storing the guitar away for safety doesn’t mean that you should stop using it once in a while. On the contrary, playing the guitar frequently will help it fit your playing style, and this will help it get a good setup that makes sure everything is in good condition.
Moreover, when you store the guitar properly it will last longer, so as you get to practice, ensure you select a suitable storage method for you.