A common question we get here at Breedlove, and a topic always top-of-mind for the thoughtful acoustic guitar owner, relates to the care and maintenance of an acoustic guitar as we transition from one season to the next. Just like the change from fall to winter, the changeover from cold winter days to warmer spring days is a good time to pay a little attention to your acoustic guitars and get them in shape for the coming warmer months. Especially if you have a collection of custom acoustic guitars or exotic wood guitars. You’ll want to protect your investment and make sure your beloved handmade guitars are ready for spring!
Understanding Temperature Change and Humidity
Whenever we discuss caring for your acoustic guitar, the topic of humidity is always important. Humidity greatly influences your acoustic guitar. As we’ve explained before on this site, your guitar is made of wood and before it was 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! Therefore, the humidity in your home will greatly influence your instrument. You can learn more about proper humidification techniques in our FAQ section here.
Now that you understand the importance of keeping your acoustic guitar properly humidified - let’s take a look at what happens when we transition from winter to spring. In most households in the northern hemisphere, winter means cooler or colder weather, and the use of some form of heat to keep our houses warm. When we introduce heat, we naturally reduce the humidity in a household. As we move from winter to spring, the amount of heat we introduce into a household usually decreases, and the humidity will therefore increase. Additionally, rain, snow melt and other moist spring conditions can cause humidity to rise in a household.
So, what does this mean for my handmade acoustic guitar? Well, if the relative humidity increases you might see a slight rise in the top of your instrument, and therefore movement in your action. You’ll see this especially if you had work done to the action of an instrument during the winter months. If this occurs, you might need to have a little work done to adjust the action of your instrument for the spring and summer months. We recommend taking your acoustic guitar to a professional to have adjustments made if you are unfamiliar with the process.
Spring is the time for cleaning, and polishing up your acoustic guitar collection should be no exception. Whether you are still getting to know your first acoustic guitar, or you have a vast collection of custom acoustic guitars and exotic wood guitars, they all need a little TLC. Why not give them a little additional attention now? For detailed information on this process and what guitar supplies you’ll need, see our FAQ section about how to clean your acoustic guitar. Here’s a quick overview:
An easy way to spruce up your tonewood guitar is to clean and oil the bridge. You can oil these with basic mineral oil. You can polish the frets with 3m Scotch Brite pads. For light scratches and/or to remove build-up on your acoustic guitar, Meguiars #7 Hand Glaze can do wonders and is widely available. These simple steps will keep your acoustic guitar looking and sounding tip top.
As always - if you have additional questions about caring for your acoustic guitar - we highly recommend checking out our FAQ section on our website. Have a great Spring and happy playing!