HOME  |  Repair Articles  |  Ask the Repairman  |  Guitar Maintenance  |  Buying A Guitar  |  Repair Blue Book|  Friends

Hardware Parts Accessories
Guitar Wood and Kits

Guitar Maintenance

Seasonal Changes

   The temperature and humidity level of the air around your guitar affect it more than anything else. Acoustic instruments hate dry air, and extreme temperatures.

   Extended exposure to hot air, 80 degrees and above, can loosen glue joints. Braces and glue on bridges can loosen. Plastic cases can warp and sometimes exert pressure on guitar tops.

   Dry air, relative humidity of less than 40%, shrinks wood, causing stress on areas adjoining glue joints. The wood which can flex and shrink, tears away from the glued areas. Softer moister wood will shrink and tear away from stiffer winter growth (grain lines).

   Fretboards which dry out can shrink and cause sharp fret ends to be exposed, and frets to loosen and pop up. Over time fretboards can crack. Ebony fretboards are particularly affected by this.

   Extended exposure to cold air can cause glue joints to become brittle and fracture. Laquer finishes which have chilled down will fracture (craze) if suddenly exposed to warm air.

   If you have been traveling in the winter and your guitar case is cold, let the instrument sit in the case till it feels closer to room temperature before you open it.

   Generally humidity above 50% has less of a negative effect than air dryer than 40%. So if you live in an area of cold dry winters and your home does not have a humidifier to regulate wintertime humidity levels. GET ONE. At a minimum get an in-case or in-guitar humidifier and KEEP IT MOIST (thats the hard part).

   Seasonal changes in temperature and humidity can affect the playability of your instrument. Causing high action in the humid times as the top swells, low action in the winter as the top shrinks. Necks can variously backbow in humid times and forward bow in times of dry air.

   The best thing you can do for your guitar is keep it in as stable an atmosphere as possible


   If you plan to leave a guitar unplayed for an extended period of time, keep it in a case. Loosen or remove the strings. Keep the guitar in an area which will not be subject to extremes in temperature or humidity. If you do these simple things, your guitar will be ready to play when you are.


   A quality hardshell case is essential for any guitar that you want to last. Plastic, chipboard, and gig bags are insufficiant in the long run. Get a good hardshell case!


   The optimum relative humidity for guitars is 45-50%. Dry air kills and maims musical instruments, so do whatever you can to maintain a stable relative humidity in the place you store your guitar.


   The most significant thing you can do to maintain the tone, volume,intonation, playability, and pleasure of your guitar is to change the strings regularly, and use good quality strings. If you play a little everyday a string change once a month would be a minimum. Twice a month, and you will always be getting the most from your instrument.

Here is a great tutorial on how to restring your guitar byt Frank Ford- Restring a guitar- Frank Ford