If you’re not going to use it for a while, the best place to keep your guitar (or other instrument) is inside a hard case, detuned, and with something to maintain a steady level of humidity. For those of us who prefer to reach for our guitars and practice a tune at a moment’s notice, that’s not very practical. We like to have our instruments close to hand and ready to play.
That means storing them in the right place, a place that’s not just practical and can hold the instrument, but which also takes care of it and protects it from damage.
Not all musicians choose the right places.
Here are five places you should avoid:
1. The trunk of a car.
In general, you shouldn’t keep your guitar anywhere you wouldn’t want to stay yourself — and that includes your car’s storage space. During the day, it’s hot and at night the temperature can drop. Those big changes in temperature can cause the wood to swell or crack. The back of the car is better — but only when you’re traveling.
2. The baggage hold.
And if you are traveling long distance, the baggage hold of an airplane is about as bad as the trunk of a car. If your instrument survives all that tossing around by baggage handlers on minimum wage, you’ll have no idea what the temperature down there will be or the humidity. During a long flight, your guitar could be going through all sorts of changes and a short flight can mean rapid shifts in temperature and humidity. Neither is good for the wood.
3. An outside wall
One popular choice among musicians is to hang a guitar on the wall. That can work fine, if the room has a steady temperature and humidity level, and as long as it’s not an external wall. Hang your instrument on an outside wall and the difference between the temperature of the structure and the internal air could cause some serious damage.
You’ll admire the way your guitar looks, but no one will like the way it sounds.
4. Direct sunlight
An internal wall can work, but not one in direct sunlight. Not only will the sun’s rays heat one side of the guitar, drying and cracking the wood, but you’ll also quickly notice the effect on the guitar’s finish. It’s not pretty. Either keep the curtains closed or look for somewhere else.
5. The basement or closet.
The closet or basement might sound like a good bet, but if the humidity changes through the year, you’ll notice the effect there too. Basements, in particular, can be damp which will swell the wood, and closets can trap humidity creating the same effect. Your guitar will be out of sight but it will also become slowly unplayable.
When you’re not playing your instrument — whether it’s a guitar, a violin or any other wood instrument — the only place to store it is in its case with heat and the humidity carefully controlled.
So Let’s Look at that Closet Again
We have a customer with a large number of guitars who has spent good money on a storage cabinet for them. In the cabinet he places at set of Music Sorb cassettes for perfect humidity control.
If you do not have a special cabinet for guitar storage, we would strongly suggest a small closet. Put Music Sorb for Guitars in your guitar case and place the case in the closet for storage. Unless you have big changes in temperature in that closet space, you have a fairly safe place for your valuable instrument.