If you are a guitarist, then it is impossible not to always be looking for moments to play your beloved instrument.
You want to be with it all the time and take it everywhere.
You want to play with it at work or school.
You would even play with it the day of your wedding, and arrive late to the ceremony because of that!
Of course, playing everywhere means outside landscapes too, such as the woods or the beach.
But let’s be rational for a while, and consider whether it is a good idea or not to take your guitar to the beach. Is it?
You can take your guitar to the beach occasionally. However, extended periods where the instrument is exposed to high temperatures, sand, humidity, and salty air can cause serious damages.
If you take care of your guitar, then the beach won’t be an enemy. It could be a good friend of yours.
All you need to do is read the following article to understand what to do and what not to do.
Will hot temperatures damage your guitar?
Taking your guitar to the beach involves facing one of the guitar’s worst enemies: heat.
Indeed, hot temperatures do no good to your instrument, and there are some reasons why.
First of all, the glue that sticks the guitar parts together can come loose.
If the glue melts down, then all the pieces of your guitar will fall apart slowly, or at least displace from the position they should be.
Second, the bridge of an acoustic guitar may fall off (in part, due to soft glue).
Hot weather can warp your neck and shrink the fretboard.
Now, it is true that there are some guitars which parts are tied together with screws.
If that’s the case, then nothing will happen because screws can’t be melted down.
However, that won’t prevent the previous problems that I mentioned before.
The key concept here (for avoiding any regrets) is hot temperature.
What ruins a guitar is extreme weather to which the instrument is exposed.
This means that leaving a guitar inside a car in the middle of summer, for instance, will do not good at all as well.
On the other hand, if you take your guitar to the beach in the middle of the night, then extreme temperatures won’t cause any damage.
Still, there are other hazardous factors to consider as well…
Can the sun damage a guitar?
Before continuing with the other elements that ruin a guitar, let’s talk about what sun rays do to a six-string.
Believe it or not, the sun itself is the least of the problems.
The problem, though, is what those sun rays bring with them: heat.
Again, the issue here is the hot weather.
Sure enough, exposing your guitar to the sun on a summer day at the beach can affect the guitar’s body.
Luckily, if you happen to take the guitar on a cold or warm day, then sun rays won’t make a difference at all.
While the sun could wear off the guitar’s finish, it is not expected to happen from one moment to the other.
So don’t panic, it takes more than a mere day outside to destroy a guitar or ruin its paint.
Could sand ruin your guitar?
Sand could be a problem for you and your guitar.
As you already know, a beach is full of it!
The question is, how could sand affect the guitar anyway?
Let’s begin with the least of the issues. I’m talking about the finish.
Sand can scratch your guitar and remove some parts of the paint.
Such a thing won’t damage sound, but it will affect the aesthetics.
Moving on to the real big issue, we have to consider tuners, moving parts, and anything within the instrument, including circuits.
This may pass unnoticed for regular acoustic guitars, but electro-acoustics (or any guitar with circuits) are an easy target.
Sand grains can corrode moving parts, not to mention how difficult is to remove and clean everything up completely.
Tuners are one of the most common places where sand builds up and can cause problems.
Is humidity dangerous for your guitar?
Humidity can be a problem but only if the guitar’s exposure is extended.
High humidity could alter wood.
While the wood won’t crack (it does if it’s excessively dry), it can absorb too much water and cause an eventual change in weight, which leads to a change in sound.
What is more, a sudden change in humidity level could cause neck relief and the action of the instrument might become too high, affecting the playability of the instrument.
It is also important to consider that humidity may also cause the bridge to swell adding to the problems mentioned above.
It’s worth mentioning once again, that humidity itself is not the issue, but rather, continual exposure to such conditions.
Can a guitar get wet?
Guitars and water were not made to be together.
Water will damage inner circuits and electronics, especially if the guitar is connected to an amp or speaker.
If you carry a guitar to the beach, though, you most probably cannot connect it anywhere.
However, I highly recommend you to keep any guitar away from water, whether it is acoustic, electric, or wireless.
For more information on why a guitar shouldn’t get wet, you can read this article I did a while ago:
Can salt air damage your guitar?
In this particular case, salt air resembles humidity.
Once again, the issue is not the event itself but the amount of time the instrument is exposed to such an event.
Salty air does no good to the guitar, bear that in mind.
It could corrode strings and hardware.
However, you can always dehumidify your instrument after a day at the beach or any place near the sea.
Little exposure and proper cleaning will not reduce your guitar’s lifespan, take it easy.
Is it bad to play guitar outside?
Guitars were made to be carried everywhere (almost).
Just think about a group of friends, going out to camp, or meeting in the backyard of a house.
Picture them drinking cold beers in front of a bonfire.
Now tell me, wouldn’t an acoustic guitar just fit perfectly in such an environment?
Of course, it would! Because playing guitar outside is not bad at all.
As usual, one ought to take the proper care that any instrument demands.
Away from the water, away from hot temperatures, etc.
If a guitar is handled properly, then playing outside won’t damage the instrument at all.
Should you bring your guitar to the beach?
In conclusion, we can agree that the beach is not the best environment you could take a guitar to.
A wood, a park, the hills. Anywhere is a better place.
However, to say the beach is not the best place is not the same as saying it is the worst.
Sure, hot weather and humidity alter guitar wood, but only if exposed over long periods.
While I recommend not taking expensive instruments to the beach, I would encourage you not to be afraid and take your acoustic to the beach if you want.
You can always do some research on how to clean your guitar, or on how to prevent certain issues before they arise.
Some people say it is better safe than sorry.
In my opinion, a single day at the beach will make little to no difference to your guitar, but it will make a huge and positive difference in your mood because of the gratifying experience.
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.