Guitars and Humidity


Have you ever pulled out your trusty axe and immediately knew something was off; the strings were buzzing, they felt to close or too far from the fret board, maybe the guitar sounds out of tune in different positions on the neck?  What you may not have realized is your guitar has been affected by the change in weather, more specifically the change in humidity.  When the humidity changes it causes the wood in the guitar to either expand or contract.  This movement of the wood is the reason why your guitar doesn’t feel right.

One of the best ways to minimize the effect of humidity changes will have on your guitar is to store the guitar in a hard shell case.  The hard shell case will help provide a more stable atmosphere for the guitar and will help minimize any changes to the guitar.   Additionally, during the drier seasons we recommend to use a sound hole humidifier to help regulate humidity level in the case.

The lack of humidity can be most harmful to the guitar allowing the wood to shrink and even allow the glue to dry out.   This could result in cracking, splitting, warping of the wood, or even the separation of the parts of your guitar.    Even though acoustic guitars are more susceptible to the dangers of humidity changes, similar problems of cracking and warping can also occur in your electric guitars.

Now during the summer months, the guitar is exposed to an increased amount humidity.   The increase of humidity will cause the wood in the guitar to expand, causing the neck to move and maybe even the top of the acoustic guitar to expand also.

Unfortunately, over time all guitars no matter how many precautions you take will need a little TLC.  Most often a guitar setup will bring your guitar back to its original playing condition.  A typical guitar set up will consist of a neck adjustment, checking and adjusting the intonation (when applicable), conditioning the fret board, restringing, and checking the guitar for any other problems that may be present. This sort of maintenance should be done every six to twelve months to ensure that the instrument is always in the best possible playing condition and to prevent any minor problems from becoming major ones.