Guitars are organic instruments. They are made from wood, and wood has some interesting properties, including hygroscopic--which means it absorbs water. .
A guitar, despite the fact that most are sealed by either a polyurethane or a nitrocellulose finish, will absorb water from it's surroundings and consequently stretch and shrink quite a bit. Luckily, most designers and luthiers already know this--so it's highly unlikely that your instrument will warp to an unusable state just because you don't have a perfectly controlled environment. However it is recommended attempts be made to avoid extreme changes in environment--which includes both temperature and relative humidity--as these kinds of radical shifts can damage finishes of all types, cause bindings to pop loose, and all kinds of other mishaps.
Ideal Temperature and Humidity for Guitar Storage
Typically both acoustic and electric guitars like to live anywhere from 30% to 50% relative humidity--which is good, because we humans like that range too. Any wetter than 50% and things start to mold, and any dryer than 30% and you could potentially see the finish checking or even cracking in extreme cases.
Eureka Auto Dry Box will provide your wooden instrument such as guitars, violin, viola, bass, ukulele, etc., with optimal storage environment allowing it to produce sounds at its nature timbre.
Common Damages to Guitars and other Musical Instruments Caused by Moisture
Higher-end guitars are typically made of thin strips of glued wood and are very much affected by temperature and humidity. But many people do not realize, the temperature of the room can affect how much moisture the air can hold, so both factors will impact the wood because wood is considered “hygroscopic”, meaning it takes in and gives off water. If the environment humidity is high and the guitar absorbs a lot of moisture, it can expand and swell, which will change the tone and playability. And if the temperature is also high, the glue joints could be weakened and possibly even fail. The same holds true with the glue beneath the bridge.
Conversely, if the environment is too dry and devoid of humidity, your guitar can also be detrimentally impacted. It may experience shrinking, cracking, poor tone or intonation issues.
Another related threat to your guitar is quick and significant changes in the ambient temperature or humidity. Made of different woods or different materials, the different guitar parts will expand and contract at different speeds, potentially causing separation of components.
Try to avoid significantly hot or cold environments. If it’s too hot, it’ll weaken the glue. If it’s too cold and finishes could crack.
Here are some helpful tips on how to create for a guitar friendly environment when traveling on the road:
- Store the guitar in a case with minimal air.
- Use a hygrometer and thermometer so you’re mindful of the temp and humidity.
- Make use of, and adjust accordingly, air conditioners, heaters, humidifiers and even plants to find that sweet spot. Keep your guitars away from the direct air inputs like air ducts, A/C vents, radiators, et. Don’t put your guitar in the trunk of a car because of the extreme temperatures they harbor.
- Ideally, the storage environment shall be consistently at or around 75 degrees. And a relative humidity level of about 50%.
Do what you can to avoid extreme changes in temperature and humidity and your instrument will maintain its timbre!
Protection for your instrument with Eureka's moisture proof cabinets
With millions of Eureka Auto Dry Box users worldwide, our dry cabinets has provided all types of instruments, wooden or brass, long term and stable storage. Avoid moisture harm today and keep your instruments sounding and looking its best.