Your guitar is made of wood and before it was used to create your prized and beautiful musical instrument, its main purpose was to soak up moisture, nutrients and sunlight. Yes, that’s right. Your guitar was a tree! It is no surprise then, that as the fall and winter seasons approach, your precious guitar is subject to structural change and even damage due to moisture and temperature changes. Therefore, It is vital that you know how to care for your guitar during these transitional seasons. Here are some guitar maintenance tips we’re created just for you:
Check the Humidity Level
Low humidity level can cause your guitar to warp and crack, and this is something that often occurs in the fall and winter months – as humidity levels drop and the mercury dives south with the falling temperatures. Even if your guitar is not exposed to the cold directly, the external dry weather can reduce humidity levels inside the house, affecting your instrument. The ideal humidity level for your guitar is around 40 to 50 percent. If the humidity levels inside your home fluctuate often, you can buy an inexpensive humidifier to maintain the required levels.
You can tell if your guitar is getting dry by looking out for a few simple warning signs. These include a shrinking top and fingerboard, buzzing strings within the lower action, cracking finish, and opening bindings. If you live in an area where the humidity stays low most of the year, you can place a small humidifier in your guitar case to prevent the wood from getting too dry.
Protect From Freezing Temperatures
If you live in an area where it gets freezing cold in the winter, this change in winter and fall weather could damage your guitar's finish by causing cracks. You must protect your instrument from freezing cold at all costs. The best thing is to keep it in its case, especially if you have to carry it with you outside. Exposing your guitar to frequent temperature changes can also cause damage, so make sure that if it's in the case, you leave it inside the case for a period of time before taking it out in a warmer environment. This will allow the instrument to slowly adjust to the temperature change.
Wood can swell in moist temperature and expand, so you need to look out for some signs if it's getting excess moisture. Be aware if the action raises, the arching bubble or the top swells, the neck moves upward causing buzzing and you start seeing cracks in the finish. This is common in areas where there is high humidity. An example would be moving from a location or “gig” in a cold area, to a location where the temperature or humidity is significantly higher. For instance, traveling from a gig or location in the west during the winter, to a “gig” or location in the south where temperatures and humidity are significantly higher.
Most guitars are made to withstand temperature changes but guitar care is necessary for instruments to keep them properly protected. The right maintenance of your guitar will prolong its life and keep it intact in spite of the temperate and humidity level changes in fall and winter. Don’t forget to check on the humidity levels in the place where you store your guitar and remember that if you turn on the heat or air conditioner, you are altering the humidity where you keep your instrument.