How weather and environmental conditions affect your guitar

High or low temperatures, high or low humidity – all weather conditions can have an effect on your guitar! Here’s what to watch out for, and how to protect your instrument. 

Guitars are made mostly of wood. Like the wood in your home, the wood in your guitar absorbs moisture and swells during hot and humid weather and shrinks during cold and dry weather. When the wood in your guitar shifts, it can change the shape and more importantly, the sound of the instrument.

Ideally, guitars should be kept in 66-77 °F (19-25 °C) and 40 to 50 percent humidity. Guitar owners should avoid exposing their guitars to rapid changes in temperature. A good way to do this is leaving the guitar in its case after it’s been outside (in cold or hot weather) allowing it to reacclimate to room temperature before taking it out. If you can get to a gig a little bit early to allow your guitar to “settle” in its case before playing it, do that! 

Here are some other ways to protect your instrument from the elements: 

 

  • Keep your guitar in its case when you’re not playing it

A case is your guitar’s “best case” scenario against environmental damage. By keeping it in a case at home, you protect it from air conditioning or heating, as well as allowing the humidity level to remain consistent. 

 

  • Keep your guitar away from windows 

 

As great as the view out of your window is, it’s not a good spot to keep your guitar. Less insulation means that the temperature and humidity levels near windows fluctuate more. 

 

  • Get a hygrometer

These devices monitor humidity and temperature changes throughout the day, to ensure that the area you’re storing your guitar is a good spot for it. 

 

  • Don’t leave your guitar in the trunk overnight 

 

Even if you get home late from that gig, bring your instrument in! Your guitar will thank you. 

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