The Biggest Threat to Your Guitar’s Health

Both guitar professionals and enthusiasts know that keeping their beloved instrument in prime condition is crucial to maintaining its sound quality and longevity. A guitar that plays great will make your job as a musician easier, and even make you sound better when performing or recording.

One of the most commonly overlooked factors that can seriously damage a guitar is humidity. Humidity, or the amount of moisture in the air, can have a significant impact on the wood and structure of a guitar, leading to costly repairs or even making it unplayable. In this article, we will explore the negative effects of humidity on guitars and provide recommendations on how to protect your instrument from these harmful effects.

The Negative Effects of Humidity on Guitars

Wood Expansion and Contraction

Guitars are predominantly made of wood, which absorbs and releases moisture depending on the surrounding environment. High humidity can cause the wood to expand, while low humidity can lead to contraction. These fluctuations in size can result in the following issues:

  • Warping: The neck of the guitar may warp or twist, leading to poor playability and intonation problems.
  • Cracking: Extreme dryness can cause the wood to crack, particularly in more delicate parts such as the soundboard or body.
  • Fret sprouting: When the wood contracts, the frets may protrude from the fretboard, causing discomfort while playing and potential damage to the strings.

Glue Failure

High humidity can weaken the glue joints that hold the various components of a guitar together. In extreme cases, this can lead to parts separating or even the guitar falling apart.

Metal Corrosion

Excess moisture can also corrode the metal parts of a guitar, such as the strings, frets, and hardware. This corrosion can negatively impact the guitar’s sound, playability, and overall aesthetics.

Protecting Your Guitar from Humidity

Now that we understand the potential damage humidity can cause, it’s essential to take steps to protect your guitar from these harmful effects. Here are some recommendations:

Monitor and Control Humidity Levels

The first step is to monitor the humidity levels in the room where your guitar is stored. Ideally, you should aim to maintain a relative humidity of 45-55%. You can use a guitar hygrometer to measure the humidity levels and take appropriate action if needed:

  • If the humidity is too high, consider using a dehumidifier or air conditioner to remove excess moisture from the air.
  • If the humidity is too low, use a humidifier to add moisture to the environment. You can also get a guitar humidifier, which usually is inserted in the soundhole of the guitar.

Store Your Guitar in a Case

A hardshell case with a good seal can help regulate humidity levels and protect your guitar from rapid changes in the surrounding environment. Additionally, using a case humidifier can help maintain optimal moisture levels inside the case.

Avoid Rapid Temperature Changes

Sudden changes in temperature can also contribute to humidity-related issues. Avoid placing your guitar near heating or cooling vents, radiators, or drafty windows. Additionally, when traveling with your guitar, allow it to acclimate to the new environment gradually. Do not remove it from its case immediately upon entering a different climate.

Use a Humidity-Controlled Room

If you have the resources, consider creating a humidity-controlled room or closet for your guitar storage. By maintaining a consistent humidity level in this dedicated space, you can significantly reduce the risk of damage to your instruments.

Regular Maintenance

Regularly inspect your guitar for signs of humidity-related damage, such as warping, cracking, or corrosion. If you notice any issues, consult a professional luthier to assess and repair the damage. Additionally, make sure to change your strings regularly, as old strings can accumulate moisture and contribute to corrosion.


Humidity can have severe consequences for your guitar. However, taking the necessary precautions to protect your instrument can save you from having to invest both time and money in costly repairs, or even having to buy a new guitar because the damages are irreparable.

In the fight against humidity, prevention is the key. In our guitar repair shop, we’ve seen humidity-related damages on beautiful, great-sounding high-end guitars that could have been avoided by taking some preventive measures.

And now, over to you. Has any of your guitars had problems due to humidity? What did you do to solve it? Or, on the contrary, what preventive measures do you have in place to minimize the effects of humidity on your guitars?

Let’s continue the conversation in the comments below 👇.


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