The winter season can be hard on everyone, but it's especially harsh on your guitar. At best, winter weather has the potential to affect the tone and playability of your guitar. At worst, it can do serious damage to your guitar that will likely require an expensive repair. VMS guitar instructor Brian Cerney shares some tips to keep your guitar in top form during the winter months.
VMS Guitar Instructor Brian Cerney
Changes in weather can affect a guitar's intonation, action, and cause the wood in the neck to dry and shrink slightly, enough so that frets a can extend over the fretboard. This can make playing uncomfortable and even painful! Here are a few tips to help prevent your acoustic, electric, bass, or any other fretted instrument from encountering these issues:
Keep your guitar in its case when not in use
This may seem obvious, but storing your guitar in its case limits your guitar's exposure to environmental changes. Air-tight, hard shell cases are ideal. You can get these in just about any guitar shop. When shopping for a new case, be sure to bring your guitar to the store with you to ensure it fits in the case properly!
Do not store your guitar in areas vulnerable to extreme temperature and humidity
Store your instrument somewhere that is consistently room temperature (~75 degrees) and, if possible, between 45-50% humidity. Avoid storing your guitar near a furnace, in your car, in the garage, or in the basement. DO NOT leave your guitar outside for long periods of time.
Buy a guitar humidifier
Humidifiers help prevent your guitar from drying out. You can purchase small humidifiers that are placed inside the body of the guitar while the guitar is sitting inside its case. This sort of humidifier can be purchased for as little as $10. Here we have shown 2 types of guitar humidifiers commonly used with acoustic guitars. They require little upkeep, and sit in the body cavity of your guitar when not in use.
An even better option, particularly if you own multiple instruments, is to purchase a single room humidifier and place it in the room where you store your instruments.
Time Your Set-Ups Properly
If you are the type to routinely have your guitar set-up by a professional, try to schedule your set-ups around the changes in season. Different weather conditions require different considerations when setting up a guitar, so scheduling around the changes in season will help ensure your guitar will keep playing and sounding its best all year long.
If you have any questions about keeping your guitar in great playing shape, be sure to ask your teacher!
Check back regularly for more tips from our talented instructors, and call 614-451-1976 for information about guitar or bass lessons at VMS!