All You Need To Know About How To Store Your Guitar Properly

Guitars store properly upright and in a hard case

It is often these beautiful instruments get badly damage because they have been store wrongly.

There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to storing your guitar. The best one will depend on why you’re storing your guitar. 

If you are storing the guitar for over a month, a hard case will protect your beautiful instrument better than a light bag. A lightweight bag will allow you to move the guitar easier if you are traveling between gigs. If you are not traveling but like to play the guitar sporadically when you feel inspired, stands or wall hangers maybe your best option. 

Let’s discuss everything you will need to take into consideration:

1. Store Guitar Where Temp and Humidity Is Optimal

Extreme temperatures and humidity can cause damage to the guitar.

If the room you are using to store the guitar gets colder than 70 °F (21°C), the guitar frets can shrink. Alternatively, if the room gets hotter than 75°F (23°C), the wood may warp, or the glue that keeps your guitar together may melt. 

Extreme humidity will also damage your guitar. 

If the humidity in the room gets lower than 45%, the wood can crack as the air is too dry. Alternatively, if the humidity level is higher than 55%, in that case, the wood in your guitar may swell as it takes on more water from the atmosphere.

An option to control the humidity in the room will be by using humidifiers or dehumidifiers. If the room in which the guitar is stored is too dry, a humidifier will add extra moisture. If, on the other hand, the room has too much moisture, a dehumidifier will collect some of that excess water. 

If you live in a place where keeping the room at an optimal temperature or humidity is impossible. In that case, light bags, stands, or wall hooks may not protect your guitar enough; a hard case may be your only option.

2. Store Guitar In A Hard Case For Optimal Protection

If storing the guitar in a place with optimal temperature or humidity is impossible, or if you would like to keep the guitar for long periods of time, then hard cases are the best option to go for as they offer much more protection. 

These heavy cases protect the guitar from physical damage and changes in temperature or humidity. However, they are heavy, bulky, and hard to carry around. 

3. Store Guitar In A Gig Bag For Optimal Flexibility

Light bags, also known as gig bags, are the best option if you travel a lot with your guitar as they are easy to carry. 

However, you should be extra careful when leaving the house with a light bag under conditions like rain or snow. 

If the padding is not thick enough or resistant to water, the guitar may get damaged. 

For this reason, I recommend purchasing one that is waterproof. 

It is better to invest long term, even if it is on something you use to store the guitar in the short term! 

4. Display Your Guitar In Wall Hooks

Hanging the guitar on the wall is a great option. Especially if you want to display it fashionably, protect it from accidental damage, or save floor space. 

It’s also efficient if you live in a house with big walls, as hanging them on the high walls will make use of that unused space. 

However, hanging the guitar on the wall has its disadvantages due to potential extreme temperature changes.

Take winter, for example. If the guitar is hanging on an external wall exposed to very cold conditions, the cold temperature may be transferred to your guitar, causing damage to the frets. 

If the guitar is hanging on an external wall with excess heat or in a wall exposed to constant sun, in that case, the high temperatures may damage the wood of the guitar.

One way to alleviate the extreme temperatures exposed to external walls is by hanging the guitar in an internal wall. Simply make sure that the internal wall is not directly opposite to a window.

If you know that the wall you are using to hang your guitar is not exposed to extreme temperatures, wall hooks may be your perfect option to store your guitars.  

5. Display Your Guitars In A Stand

This is my favourite option and the one I use more often.

For my recommendation on the “Best Guitar Stand” check out my article

Placing the guitar on a stand is an excellent option. Not only because it keeps the guitar on a vertical line, which is the natural position for a guitar, but also because it allows me to grab the guitar spontaneously. I can’t tell you how many times I have been working in my office and have grabbed the guitar for a 5 – 10 minutes break before getting back to work. 

Should Guitars Be Stored Flat? 

No, guitars should never be stored flat as this will cause pressure on the neck, potentially causing it to bend over time. The only exception to this rule is if you want to hang the guitar horizontally on the wall. Other than that, always store your guitar in a standing-up position.

Should I Untune My Guitar For Storage?

Yes, you should untune your guitar if you intend to store it for more than a month. However, there should ideally be some tension left in the strings to avoid any issues, such as getting the neck detached or bent. 

The guitar is built to counteract the tension. So, where the neck pulls the strings in one direction, the body pulls them in another. 

If you remove the strings completely, there will be nothing to balance that tension, affecting the neck over time. 

I recommend the guitar should be tuned down at least by one step and a half, assuming you usually tune it in standard EADGBE. This way, there will still be some tension left to keep the guitar in place for long periods of time. 

However, If you use your guitar daily or even weekly, untuning the guitar won’t be necessary.  

How Do You Store A Guitar Without A Case Or Stand

If you want to store your guitar but do not have a case or stand, the easiest way to store it is on a chair, couch, or anywhere it can be placed, standing up. 

Wherever you choose to store your guitar, make sure there’s no risk of stepping over it accidentally. 

Can I Store My Guitar In The Garage

No, you should not store your guitar for over two days in the garage unless you have temperature and humidity control. This is because garages tend to have extreme temperature and humidity conditions, which will damage the guitar over time. 

As previously mentioned, If the room you are using to store the guitar gets colder than 70 °F (21°C), the guitar frets can shrink. Alternatively, if the room gets hotter than 75°F (23°C), the wood may warp, or the glue that keeps your guitar together may melt. 

Extreme humidity will also damage your guitar. 

If the humidity in the room gets lower than 45%, the wood can crack as the air is too dry. Alternatively, if the humidity level is higher than 55%, in that case, the wood in your guitar may swell as it takes on more water from the atmosphere.

An option to control the humidity in the room will be by using humidifiers or dehumidifiers. If the room in which the guitar is stored is too dry, a humidifier will add extra moisture. If, on the other hand, the room has too much moisture, a dehumidifier will collect some of that excess water. 

How Do You Store A Guitar In A Gig Bag

Light bags are particularly convenient for traveling as they are easy to carry. However, the lack of internal protection makes the guitar prone to damage. 

They offer no support for the headstock and neck and no cross-protection. With no cross-protection, anything considerably heavy that may fall on the guitar is very likely to break it. Most gig bags also tend to not be waterproof.

However, some heavy-duty guitar bags, such as the Mono M80 or the Reunion Blues RBCA2 RB Continental Voyager, are good because they are designed to address most of the issues mentioned above. 

Ensure you always store the guitars as vertically as possible in the gig bags. 

I would say the gig bags are the last option to go for, so use them only if you really need to.  

Does Hanging A Guitar On The Wall Damage It

Hanging the guitar on an external wall can potentially cause damage. An exterior wall may be exposed to freezing temperatures in the winter or scorching temperatures in the summer. A guitar exposed to these drastic changes will, over time, suffer irreparable damage. For this reason, it is best to hang the guitar on an internal wall.

Other aspects to be considered when hanging the guitar on the wall are:

  1. Direct sunlight will wrap the guitar. So when hanging the guitar, ensure the internal wall is not directly opposite a window.
  2. The material behind the wall can cause damage to your health. 
    1. In some properties, there might be asbestos behind the walls, which was used for insulation. This is usually the case if the houses/buildings were built between 1960 to 2000s (in some countries). Asbestos is generally safe unless disturbed. If disturbed and inhaled over any amount of time, it may cause cancer. Asbestos could be potentially disturbed if you drill a hole in the wall to hang your guitars. For this reason, you should always ask the landlord or letting agency for a complete asbestos survey, or if you are the owner, arrange an asbestos assessment to avoid any risk. 
    2. High electrical circuits may also be behind the wall. Going through a cable may cause electrocution or costly damage to the electricity of the room. Unless you have detailed plans, a cable detector can help you with this!
  3. The walls should also have sufficient blocking (if timber) to support the guitars for an extended period of time. You can check this by using a stud finder and/or knocking on the walls to ensure they do not sound hollow.

Conclusion

There are many ways to store your guitar: 

  • Gig bags are perfect to use if traveling with your guitar, but not so excellent if storing the guitar without using it for over a month. These lightweight bags do not provide internal protection against accidental knocking or against temperature and humidity changes and provide no support for the headstock and neck.
  • Hard cases are perfect if storing the guitar for over a month. They provide excellent protection to the guitar from physical damage and changes in temperature or humidity.
  • Wall hooks and guitar stands are perfect if the guitars are used daily or weekly. But make sure the room has optimal temperature and humidity as your guitar will be more prone to damage without the extra layer of the case.

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