Making Room For You Since 1973

guitar cases stacked against each other against the wall

How To Store a Guitar the Right Way

November 2, 2022 | Storage Tips

Guitars are famous as symbols of coolness throughout most of the Western world and beyond. Despite their cool factor, they are still large instruments that can take up a lot of space in your home. If you won’t be bringing it out for a while, finding a good place to store it properly becomes very important. You don’t want to damage such a valuable item through carelessness.

Prestorage Setup

The first step to preparing your guitar for storage is to give it a thorough cleaning. Get all the dirt, grime, and sweat off to prevent any wear on the body or strings from sitting long term. After the cleaning, loosen the strings about two to three half steps. This step is considerably important because guitars are designed to have tension in the neck, but too much can cause damage over time. 

Specifically, if the guitar is left under full tension, the neck will begin bending forward. The change happens slowly, but if you store your guitar away for a long time, it will be immediately apparent when you retrieve it. A similar problem occurs if there is no tension left on the neck. Because guitars are designed to be under tension, the necks will start bending backward if left without something to help hold its shape. If you’re storing a vibrato-equipped guitar, you should also remove the arms before you pack it away. However, if you can fold the vibrato bar to rest below the bridge, removing it is unnecessary.

Proper Guitar Storage

Close up of guitar strings

Now that you’ve cleaned and prepped your guitar, you need to pack it away in a properly fitting case. While there are plenty of ways to store guitars out of their cases for display purposes, they should be kept in their cases for long-term storage. The case is the best way to protect your guitar, so make sure you have a good one.

Proper Storage Conditions

The wood in guitars can be heavily affected by temperature and humidity. In high humidity, the wood will absorb much of that moisture, swell, and warp. In too much heat, it will dry out and possibly even crack. 

For one guitar, a case humidifier is a great way to keep it from drying out without risking oversaturation. For multiple guitars, you could also use a room humidifier to maintain all of them at once. For long-term storage, you can also put the guitar and case in a large plastic bag to add an additional layer of protection from exterior conditions. Whenever possible, try to store your guitars in a place with a consistent temperature and humidity. For example, many rooms toward the interior of your home and climate-controlled storage units maintain reasonably consistent conditions.

Hard shell guitar cases lined up on the floor.

Proper Storage Setup

When you store your guitar, you should place it upright if you can. This is the ideal position for storage to prevent damage as the weight of the guitar is better distributed to rest on areas designed to support it. Just make sure it’s stacked stably so it doesn’t fall over and waste the effort you went through to keep it safe.

Do not store it on its back stacked on top of another one. This puts a lot more weight on the back of the guitar, which can warp more easily. The guitars at the bottom of a stack will be the most at risk because they will bear not only their own weight but also the weight of all the guitars on top of them. A good way of thinking about this is that your guitars should look like coats on a coat rack rather than a deck of cards. 

If you can’t store your guitars upright, laying the case on its side with the top upward is an acceptable substitute. This is a pretty standard option for storage that still provides a lot of support in areas that could bend or warp without it. 

Climate-Controlled Storage With Metro Self Storage

When you’re a guitar collector lacking display space, have an old guitar you rarely use, or if you’ve inherited a few new ones you can’t find room for, you’ve probably started looking for good places to store your guitars outside of home. At Metro Self Storage, we offer climate-controlled storage units that can help protect your guitars from damage caused by extreme temperatures or rapid temperature changes. Don’t let your unused guitars take up too much space. Choose Metro Self Storage with climate-controlled storage units to help protect your instruments.

Find a Metro Self Storage facility near you and rent your space today!