How to Store a Guitar Long-term – Guide + Best Ways!

Author: Dedrich Schafer | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

Properly storing your guitars is something that a lot of people tend to overlook, especially beginners. The way we store our guitars is a very important factor behind keeping them safe and healthy.

Let’s take a look at some best practices for storing a guitar, and why we need to store guitars properly.

Closed Case

Perhaps the safest way of storing your guitar is in a case. The best choice being a good quality hardshell case, and not just a gig bag or even a chipboard case.

Hardshell cases offer a lot more protection against knocks and falls, but this doesn’t mean that guitars can’t still be damaged inside the case.

If you have multiple guitars in cases, it is very important not to stack them on top of each other. Unless you want your guitars to fall over like dominoes, storing the cases next to each other is the way to go.

For extra security, you can also get a multi-case stand to store your guitar cases. This one from Gator is a nice option because it’s foldable as well for easy storage.

If you do want to store your guitars horizontally, make sure to use a heavy-duty shelving unit that can hold at least around 12-15 pounds.

String Tension

Hardshell cases might protect your guitars from external damage, but that doesn’t mean they’re fully safe.

One of the biggest issues guitars face when stored in a case is string tension. This is especially an issue when guitars are stored for extended periods of time.

String tension causes the action on the guitar to rise. This changes the geometry of the guitar by pulling the neck forward.

The more the neck is pulled forward, the less resistance there is to the string pull. At the same time, the strings are pulling on the bridge of the guitar. This causes the bridge to be angled up, increasing the string tension.

All this string tension and warping of the guitar can cause it to distort and sound out of tune, and can cause the guitar neck to crack or even snap.

The best way to prevent string tension if you’re storing a guitar for a few weeks or even months, is to just loosen the strings a bit. Between about a half step and a whole step should be enough slack on the strings.

If you’re storing for longer, maybe more than 4 months, consider going even slacker. Leave just enough tension to hold the nut, saddle and bridge in place.

Climate Control

Another important thing to consider is climate control. Don’t store your cases close to external walls, attics or heat sources. You should also be mindful of humidity.

Changes in temperature can cause the intonation of guitars to change. Heat and excessive dryness can also possibly crack the paint or even body of a guitar.

Just like dryness can cause damage, too much humidity can also be an issue. Humidity can cause black mold to grow on guitars, which isn’t good for either the guitar or you, and even cause structural damage.

A good way to keep track of the humidity is with a D’Addario Humiditrak. It works with Bluetooth and can be tracked with a free smartphone app.

For acoustic guitars, you can also use soundhole humidifiers like this. Just be sure to check on the guitar regularly.

If you’re looking for an easier, more DIY solution, you can store multiple cases in a closet with a bowl of water to humidify an area.

On Display, on the Floor

If you use your guitars frequently and want to store them in a way that they can be reached quickly and easily. Or maybe you want to put your instruments on display.

Tripod

Floor stands are a good choice as they are relatively cheap and easily arrangeable in a room or studio. Floor stands also come in a variety of different designs.

Tripod stands are the most common. These stands are very sturdy and are a good choice to display a guitar securely. There are plenty of cheap options like this Gator GFW-GTR-1000 if you’re just looking for a simple solution.

For more security and some extra features, there are also premium options like this Hercules GS414B. It’s a great choice with its self-locking neck yokes to keep the guitar secure, and even has a headphone hook.

A-stand

For a more discreet look you can go with an A-stand. They are great, because they are fairly compact and foldable, making them easy to store and transport. A-stands are also fairly cheap, like this Hercules GS200B.

The biggest downside with A-stands is that they aren’t as secure as tripods, and a guitar can easily get knocked over if it gets bumped.

Multi-guitar Stands and Racks

Just like guitar cases, there are also options for storing multiple guitars on stands or racks.

Tripod stands are good for multiple guitars if space is a concern. This Gator GFW-GTR-3000 is fairly inexpensive and can store up to three guitars.

But if you’re going to store more than one guitar on a stand, I would rather go for something a bit more premium and stable. This Hercules GS432B is great choice while still not breaking the bank.

If you have more space to work with, a guitar rack is the way to go. They work the same as a case rack by storing the guitars next to each other.

They come in a variety of setups depending on how many guitars you want to store. This On-Stage GS7361 can hold up to three guitars and is also foldable. If you have more guitars, this K&M 17515 is great for up to five guitars.

Aesthetic Options

If you’re not a fan of the metal look, or just want something with a bit more visual appeal, go with a wooden stand.

Wooden stands are made from a variety of different woods. This opens up your options if you’re looking for a lighter or darker wood.

The Cooperstand Pro-G has a nice darker finish and is also foldable, making it easily transportable.

For a lighter wood, this Taylor Guitar Stand is a nice choice.

Safety Tip

No matter what type of guitar stand you go for, there is one thing to keep in mind.

Guitar stand manufacturers often use a plasticizer on the rubber to help prevent it turning hard and cracking. This plasticizer is a solvent. This solvent can cause damage to a guitar’s finish, especially on nitrocellulose lacquer.

Something to help prevent any damage is to put soft cotton covers on the contact points of the stand.

Also, remove the guitar often from new stands until the solvent has had time to set and won’t damage the guitars finish.

On Display, on the Wall

Guitar stands aren’t always the best option though. For people with small children or pets, putting a guitar on the ground could be very risky. If you’re worried about your children or pets getting to your guitars, go with a guitar wall hanger.

These wall mounted guitar holders are great for keeping guitars out of the reach of kids and animals. I also like them for displaying my favorite guitars and making them stand out a bit more on a wall. Something like this String Swing CC01K is really cheap and made with walnut, giving it some extra appeal.

Mounting a guitar hanger to the wall is pretty straightforward. Simply attach them with studs or plastic toggles in drywall, or with masonry screws if you have brick or concrete walls.

If you’re not the handyman type, it would probably be best to get a professional in to mount the hangers.

The important thing to remember is that guitars weigh quite a bit. You’re not hanging a painting, so it’s important to use screws or studs that can hold a fair bit of weight and won’t snap or tear out of the wall. Think of it like mounting a cabinet or a heavy mirror to the wall.

Keep Your Guitars Happy

No matter how you choose to store your guitars, it’s important to keep them healthy. Whether you’re keeping them in a case or on display on a stand, don’t forget their environment.

Keep your guitars in a climate-controlled area. This means keeping them away from external walls or heat sources, and keeping the humidity under control.

Heat and humidity can damage wood of a guitar, affecting its tonality and playability. Excess humidity can also cause metal parts on a guitar rust, especially the strings, which will then need to be replaced more often.

Invest in a good thermometer and humidifier. The ideal conditions to store guitars in are temperatures around 70-degrees Fahrenheit and humidity between 40-60%.

To Conclude

There are many options when it comes to storing our guitars. From keeping them safely stored in a hardshell case in a closet, to putting them on display hanging on the wall.

Regardless of your choice, remember to keep them in the right environment. Because, a happy guitar makes for a happy guitarist.

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About Dedrich Schafer

Dedrich is a guitar player, songwriter and sound engineer with extensive music production and studio experience. He mostly listens to classic rock and punk bands, but sometimes also likes listening to rap and acoustic songs.

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