A very common question arises in every person’s mind who has started learning guitar or has just bought one:
That is, how this precious big or little wonder of an instrument should be stored.
Sometimes it becomes even simpler, like :
“Should I keep it encased all day or just keep it out in the open all the time?”
Well, the answer varies as there are several factors that come into play.
Let’s get into a more detailed approach for tackling this very common dilemma:
Leaving your guitar out of its case will, most likely, not cause any harm to it at all. Particularly if it’s kept in a room with no drastic temperature or humidity changes, and out of reach for children and pets. Also, leaving your guitar out has the added benefit of encouraging you to pick it up more often.
Why should you keep your guitar out of its case?
There are plenty of reasons for keeping a guitar out of the case in a place where you can see it.
But the answer to this question is quite simple: I keep my guitar out of its case so that I can easily access it for playing.
Of course, with this, you get also the grunge aesthetic of having a guitar randomly lying around in your house, but this shouldn’t be your main motivation.
Actually, as a guitar player or even as an enthusiast, seeing a guitar should drive anyone to play with it for some time.
I will generally practice with it even more than before if my guitar is somewhere within my peripheral vision.
So, the biggest reason and most important purpose of keeping a guitar out of its case should be to practice it more and more to become a better player.
But keeping a guitar out in the open is no simple matter.
A guitar can come into harm’s way because of several factors.
Temperature and humidity play a vital role in keeping a guitar in a better condition.
Things to be careful with when leaving your guitar out
Let’s look into the factors that can harm a guitar while out in the open.
Normally, it is safe to keep a guitar out in the open, but, you should avoid keeping it in such a place where sunlight can directly fall on the guitar.
Sunlight can age the lacquer finish and cause a chalky feeling.
Also, too much UV radiation may cause the magnets to loosen up a bit.
The main component of a guitar, wood; unlike plastics or metals, is very sensitive to the temperature around it.
Higher temperatures can cause the glue to fail and abruptly low temperatures can cause the guitar’s finish to crack.
Temperature changes altogether are not something that guitars are fond of.
As we all know, the humidity level is the measure of moisture in the air.
Guitars can get damaged when subjected to both high and low humidity.
Higher humidity levels can cause a guitar’s wood to expand by absorbing moisture.
You can easily notice it by these telltale signs:
- Warping of the neck and bulging around the frets
- The flat top of an acoustic guitar can start to bulge
- Tones can get duller
Lower humidity levels can also deal some serious damage to your guitar.
Woods dry out and shrink in lower humidity levels.
You may also notice some of these problems :
- Cracks appear in the wood and lacquer
- Frets may protrude from the fingerboard
These problems can be solved easily by following these simple instructions.
Most experts believe that the ideal humidity to store a guitar is about 45 to 55 percent humidity levels around inside a room. But it is sometimes not possible to maintain such levels all the time.
So, generally, it is safe to maintain a humidity level ranging from 40 to 60 percent.
In the case of temperature, you should keep your guitar in a place that is about 70 to 77 degrees.
Because these factors can cause the wood to deteriorate and as a result, the tonal features can change quite drastically.
Accidents and other things
There are also some things that can not be helped.
Suppose your dog takes quite a liking to your guitar and tries to play some catchy tunes with it.
As a result, it puts some fashionable scratches on the wood and the fretboard.
In addition to this, we all have that “Uncle X” or “Aunt Y” who cannot help being clumsy and tripping into objects in their path and causing some damage to them.
These are unlikely scenarios, but situations you should weigh off before deciding on leaving your instrument out.
Is your house a safe haven for fragile expensive music tools?
Or is it a madhouse where accidents happen on a daily basis?
Which one is better: guitar stand or wall hanger?
Both are viable options to look at.
While a guitar stand gives the guitar a firm base to be stood upon, a guitar placed on a wall hanger can add to the decoration of the room.
Even though both are safe options, a wall hanger is best suited to minimize any chance of accidental events since it is placed well beyond any clumsy kid or relative’s reach.
In contrast, a guitar placed on a stand has more chances of getting damaged accidentally.
Both of them provide excellent stability, but, if a wall hanger is not adjusted or set up in a correct way, it can certainly damage the neck of the guitar.
Especially if the piece that grabs the headstock of the instrument is not padded correctly.
When is the best time to store the guitar in a case?
Anything that we don’t use, we generally keep stored safely.
Such is the case with a guitar.
If you are not using it; or you are going on a holiday or a road trip for a few days, just preserve it in a safe atmosphere.
Putting it in a case and keeping the guitar with optimal temperature and humidity will ensure its safety.
In terms of safety measurements, it is absolutely fine to keep your guitar inside a case.
But, there are significant downsides to think about, that can destroy the purpose of having the instrument.
It usually takes five minutes to get the guitar and tune it to prepare for playing.
Plus, you have to go through the same trouble to store it back inside a case.
Instead, I prefer to keep my guitar in a place where I can see it whenever I want and keep it ready to ring up.
This saves time and also encourages me to play it more often.
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.