Guitars have evolved with humanity.
With the earliest guitar form dating back to 2000 B.C., the guitar has been improved and perfected over time. Serving as the primary musical instrument in some of the world’s greatest hits during the last few centuries, guitars are deeply cherished by their owners.
Whether you need to make some space in your home, want better protection for your guitar or you’re moving/traveling across the country and need to keep your instrument safe, most musicians find a need to store their guitar at one point or another.
Since guitars are such intricate and fragile instruments, they must be stored with the utmost care.
According to Gibson Guitar Corporation, guitars should be stored in cases or gig bags in order to keep dust and other airborne contaminants off vitals and to protect from potential accidents or falls.
Gibson also suggests checking on all stored guitars every few months to ensure weather-related damage or warping do not occur.
Guitar Repair Expert Carl Meine works at Dave’s Guitar Shop in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
He explains that for acoustic guitars, many damages occur from the movement of wood. Therefore, relieving some string tension prior to storing an instrument can help minimize this risk.
In the Home
Storing the guitar in the home can be a tempting prospect for some owners. The piece remains in close proximity and can make a great display when wanting to impress visitors. However, storing a guitar at home has its risks.
While it is ideal to store the guitar in a case if you keep it at home, some people choose other options, such as a wall mount. For those individuals, Meine has one main tip.
“Do not store guitars in areas with direct sunlight, as it will fade the colors,” he said.
For musicians who travel frequently, padded cases are suggested for your guitar storage. The foam core in this type of case protects rough roads and frequent movement.
As with any type of precious or expensive baggage, you want to keep your ax close to you. When flying, this means that you should make every attempt to avoid checking it. (And you should definitely avoid referring to it as your ax while going through security.)
One other issue to consider: each airline has its own carry on policy. Make sure that you know the rules before you get to the airport.
When it comes to choosing a storage unit for your guitar, many experts say it is worth paying a higher price to get the exact conditions you need, which often means climate control.
“The best way to store a guitar is in a temperature and humidity controlled environment where fluctuations are minimal,” Meine said. “Room temperature and 40 percent humidity are ideal.”
Major fluctuations in humidity or temperature increase risk for cracks, mold and warping.
Acoustic guitars are particularly susceptible to water damage due to their hollow structure.
“For long term storage, remove any batteries, and keep the instrument in the case in a horizontal position,” Meine explained.
If your guitar is valuable – either financially or sentimentally – you should also keep security in mind when selecting a storage facility.