If you want to keep your guitar in tip-top shape, you are going to need to know how to store it properly.
It is so sad when we see guitars with permanent damage because their owners didn’t make an effort to ensure they were protected and secure when not in use. The reality is that damage is usually caused by a lack of knowledge, not lack of care.
That is why we’re here to give you all of the necessary information that you need to store your guitar correctly.
If you don’t take the necessary steps to store your guitar properly, it can lead to some all-too-common issues, including swollen frets, fret buzz, chips and cracks, a warped neck, intonation problems, and much, much more.
So let’s talk about what proper storage entails.
- 1 Where to Store Your Guitar
- 2 Guitar Cases: Hard Case v.s. Soft Case
- 3 Wall Mounts
- 4 Guitar Stands
- 5 Temperature-Controlled Room
- 6 How Not to Store A Guitar
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
- 7.1 How to Store a Bass Guitar? Is there a Difference?
- 7.2 How to Store Guitars in a Small Apartment?
- 7.3 How Should I Approach Guitar String Storage?
- 7.4 Should I Clean My Guitar Before Storing It Away?
- 7.5 How Do I Maintain the Perfect Humidity Level for My Guitars?
- 7.6 Should I Loosen My Strings Before Storing My Guitar Away?
- 8 Be Sure to Give It a Good Play Every Now and Then!
Where to Store Your Guitar
There are about a hundred different ways to store a guitar, each of which is dependent on your personal situation.
Of course, there are a few methods that are more popular, and we will be going through these today. However, you should note that some of these methods are more protective than others.
Guitar Cases: Hard Case v.s. Soft Case
One of the best ways to store guitars is in a hard case. Plus, hard cases offer the best overall protection.
They are heavy and made with far more durable materials than soft cases, helping to provide your guitar with the utmost support.
A solid case will protect your guitar from all of the changes in temperature, humidity, and climate. It will provide a barrier against all of the elements.
Of course, the disadvantage with hard cases is that they are inconvenient to carry around. They are cumbersome and don’t allow your guitar to be showcased to the world.
Even so, if you are traveling with your guitar, a hard case is essential. Whether it’s your go-to choice for storage or not, we recommend that you have one in your possession.
Soft cases, otherwise known as gig bags, are an excellent guitar storage option as well.
They are perfect for guitarists who need ample storage yet also want a convenient way to transport their guitars from gig to gig.
Soft cases are very lightweight and easy to carry.
Unfortunately, they don’t offer nearly the same protection as hardshell cases do, though they still do a fairly good job in terms of protecting your guitar from physical damage.
Do note that soft cases will not protect your guitar from changes in temperature and humidity as effectively as a hard case would, so we would not recommend them for those living in more extreme environments.
Storing A Guitar Case
When it comes to storing your guitar cases away, here are a few rules to follow:
- Store your guitar cases standing up. People often lie their guitar cases on top of one another in storage. This can put a lot of pressure on the bottom cases depending on how many guitars you have. Your best bet for preserving your guitar collection is keeping them vertical.
- Store your guitar cases as close to the center of your home or apartment as possible. We recommend a bedroom or hall closet if possible. This is especially true if you live in a more extreme climate where it gets very hot or cold during the summer or winter months.
Lastly, make sure to detach your vibrato arms before storing your guitars in their cases, as the pressure from a closed case can warp the guitar body.
Wall mounts are a wonderful way to display your collection while also keeping your guitars from falling over.
They don’t take up very much space, which is great for people who live in smaller homes or apartments.
You also never have to worry about someone walking in the room and knocking over your stand.
Unfortunately, you do have to worry about the strength of your walls. Plus, they require you to drill holes into the surface, making them the most permanent guitar storage solutions on our list.
You won’t be able to simply move your guitar wall mounts around the room if you get sick of them being there.
If you are constantly playing your guitar and need it within arm’s reach, we highly recommend picking up a good guitar stand. Plus, guitar stands help keep your beautiful axes on display when you are not using them.
Though they may not offer protection from the elements, they do provide guitars with support so that they don’t tip over. It’s a much better method than leaning your guitar up against a wall or throwing it on the couch.
As with any storage option, guitar stands have their disadvantages. If you place your guitar on a stand improperly, it could fall over and become damaged.
Not all stands are made equal.
It is important to keep your guitar in a room where the temperature is neutral as much as possible. Extremely high temperatures can cause your wood to warp, while extremely low temperatures can cause your frets to shrink. We recommend keeping your guitars in weather conditions that are comfortable to you, meaning anywhere from 65-75 degrees. Always make sure that they are stored away from the elements if you live in a place with challenging weather conditions, such as constant rain or snow.
Think of it this way: If you don’t want to hang out in an environment because it is too cold or too hot, then neither does your guitar.
How Not to Store A Guitar
Now that we’ve given you several suggestions on how you should store a guitar, here are a few ways that you should never store your guitar.
- Never lean your guitar against the wall or any other hard surface.
- Never store your guitar in a room that is not temperature-controlled.
- Never store your guitar in the trunk of your car.
- Never store your guitar in your attic or basement, as it can expose it to more extreme temperatures than the rest of your house.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Store a Bass Guitar? Is there a Difference?
Because most bass guitars are sturdy, solid-bodied instruments, many people don’t think that they have to take as much care when putting them in storage.
They might have more of a tolerance for extreme temperatures and humidity, but that doesn’t mean that they should be subjected to environments that are not fit for your regular guitar. We recommend treating a bass guitar just like any regular guitar when it comes to storage.
How to Store Guitars in a Small Apartment?
When it comes to storing anything in a small apartment, you need to think vertically. This applies to instruments as well. While this might mean leaning a guitar up against the wall for most people, we’ve already talked about how big of a no-no that is.
In our opinion, the best option for storing a guitar in a small apartment is by using a guitar wall mount. If you want to see the best way to mount your guitar on the wall, make sure to check out the video below!
How Should I Approach Guitar String Storage?
Most people don’t realize that guitar strings can expire if they are not stored away correctly.
The most important thing to consider when storing your unused guitar strings is the location. One of the worst mistakes you can make is storing strings in a place that is really humid. Moisture reacts in a negative way with the metal on your strings, which can cause them to oxidate.
For example, if you live near the coastline where salty sea air is prominent, corrosion can be a fairly quick process if you aren’t careful. Our best advice is to make sure that you keep your guitar strings in the packet that they came with, and store them away in a cool, dry location, such as a drawer in your bedroom.
Should I Clean My Guitar Before Storing It Away?
The more that you play your guitar, the more dust and grime will build up on it. If you leave that dust and grime on your guitar for long periods of time, it can cause the strings to rust and corrode, which can lead to a damaged fretboard.
To keep things simple, YES, you should ALWAYS clean your guitar before storing it away.
Make sure to clean your fretboard with some good fretboard conditioner or lemon oil. This will help keep your fretboard from drying out and cracking while stored away.
How Do I Maintain the Perfect Humidity Level for My Guitars?
One of the most important things to consider when storing a guitar away is the humidity level. Because guitars are made out of wood, they can become susceptible to serious damage when stored in extremely humid or dry environments. A guitar that is exposed to severe humidity conditions could run into many different problems, including finish damage, neck warping, fret buzz, and worst of all, cracking.
The optimal humidity level for guitars, whether acoustic or electric, is 45%-55%. Essentially, you want to keep it in a place that isn’t too wet or too dry.
The best way to measure the humidity in a room is with a digital hygrometer. They are fairly inexpensive and can be used to keep track of the humidity in a room at all times.
If you live in an environment that is very wet or dry, we recommend buying a guitar humidifier that you can store along with your guitars whether in a room or in their respective cases.
Should I Loosen My Strings Before Storing My Guitar Away?
Your guitar strings can put a ton of unnecessary tension on the neck of your guitar. That damage can become pretty severe if the strings are left like that for a long time. It can ultimately cause your neck to warp and bend.
If you are going to be storing your guitar for an extended time, be sure to loosen the string tension before doing so. You don’t have to loosen the strings all the way though. Just tuning your guitar a step or two down should do the trick!
Be Sure to Give It a Good Play Every Now and Then!
Just because you are storing your guitar away for now does not mean that you should neglect playing it! Guitars age well. The more they are played by their owner, the better they end up fitting the owner’s playing style.
You’ll also want to make sure that you take it out of storage every now and then to give it a good setup and make sure everything is in good condition.
We hope that you found our guide on how to store a guitar helpful! Good luck and keep your little ax safe!