You are currently viewing How to Properly Store Your Guitar – 6 Essential Things

Last Updated on March 5, 2024 by Teemu Suomala

Displays Tyler Connaghan - guitar player and writer

Author: Tyler Connaghan

Tyler Connaghan is a guitarist, singer, producer, composer & engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Tyler has been playing the guitar since 2007. In between writing for guitar publications, he produces music for film and television. His favorite axe is his custom Pelham Blue Fender Stratocaster.

Expertise: music industry, producing, acoustic & electric guitars, songwriting

Bachelor of Science in Music Industry Studies, Music Industry

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Editing & Research: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I love guitars and have played dozens and dozens of different guitars through different amps and pedals over the years, and also, building a website interested me, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website.

I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have also been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as SongsterrMusicnotesGuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar.

I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog (I guess that went the right way…).


Not only is it essential to keep your guitar clean and pristine if you want it to be in tip-top shape for many years to come, but it’s equally important to make sure it’s stored properly. 

Unfortunately, I know way too many guitarists that are either totally careless when it comes to proper storage or unaware of how to store their guitars to keep them from getting damaged in the long run. 

In this acoustic & electric guitar storage guide, I’m going to give you a few simple yet effective tips to store your guitar at home or in your studio so you can enjoy playing it for a lifetime. 

Let’s dig in!

How to Store Your Guitar – 6 Essential Things

When looking for ways to store your guitar, you have several options. 

  • If you find yourself playing your guitar often, you might consider keeping it nearby on a guitar stand or wall hanger or hook. 
  • However, if you only use it every once in a while and you want to protect it from physical damage, you might consider keeping it in a hard case or gig bag. 

Every guitar storage method offers a unique level of convenience and protection, so picking what works for you will depend on your needs. 

Let’s look at a few storage options and some key things to consider regardless of how you choose to store your guitar.

Note that in general, acoustic guitars, classical guitars, and hollowbody electric guitars are even more sensitive instruments than electric guitars.

Hardshell Case Storage

displays Taylor 814ce in a guitar case
Beautiful Taylor 814ce in a guitar case.

For long-term guitar storage, I highly recommend getting yourself a hard case, as it’ll provide you with the best level of protection and durability compared to any other storage method. Hard cases provide plenty of support, thanks to their weight and materials, shielding guitars from physical damage. 

Plus, they do a much better job at providing protection again climate changes, such as temperature and humidity, which I’ll discuss the importance of in a bit.

However, one of the downsides of hard cases is that they are inconvenient. It’s not easy to pick up your guitar and start playing at any moment, and when it comes to transportation, they can be a major pain to carry around from gig to gig. You also don’t get to keep your guitar on display, and I always find that having my guitars ready to rock at any time gets me motivated to play. 

Check our picks for the best acoustic guitar cases.

Personally, I only use hard cases if I’m storing my guitar away for a long time or I’m flying. If you don’t already have a hard case for your acoustic or electric guitar, I recommend getting one from SKB. They make some of the strongest and most reliable cases on the market. Just make sure you find one that is the right shape for your guitar!


Gig Bag Storage

guitar player is tkaing his guitar out of the gig bag. Best Gig Bag Under 100
GND’s editor Teemu with his ESP LTD MH-400 and under $100 gig bag.

If you want a more convenient way to carry your guitar around with you wherever you go, gig bags offer a solid solution! 

Compared to hardshell cases, gig bags are lightweight and easier to carry, perfect for those who play multiple gigs per week. Of course, while they don’t provide the same level of protection as hard cases in case you drop your guitar or hit it with something, but they’re better than nothing! 

When looking for a gig bag, I recommend getting one that has ample padding on the inside and extra accessory pockets so you can keep your other necessities (capos, tuners, cables, etc.) from coming in contact with your guitar during transport.

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Guitar Stands

best guitar stand for stratocaster

If you have floor space to sacrifice and you like having easy access to your guitar, get yourself a sturdy guitar stand. As a bonus, you’ll be able to proudly display your electric or acoustic guitar whenever you aren’t playing it! 

Of course, it’s important to note that your guitar will be completely exposed to dust, dirt, and grime without protection when on a stand. Nevertheless, it’s much better than resting it up against the wall if you’re trying to protect it from a nasty fall. 

When trying to find the right guitar stand, look for those with foam or rubber padding around the contact points, so your guitar doesn’t get scratched when placed on it. While there are many types of guitar stands out there, I personally prefer tripod-style stands, thanks to the support they provide on the neck and body.

NOTE: Some guitars, especially the high-end ones have nitrocellulose finish. For these guitars, you should make sure that every guitar stand and wall hanger you use is made from materials that are nitro-safe. You can find our picks for the best guitar stands for nitro finish here.


Wall Mounts

Photo displays 3 guitars on wall hangers

Most of my guitars at home are on wall mounts. For starters, I have tons of guitars and very little free space on the floor in my home studio, so keeping them on the walls frees up real estate and minimizes the risk that they get knocked over. Plus, my guitars double as wall art, making my home studio feel more like, well, a studio.

Properly mounting your guitars to the wall requires caution and care. They are a far more permanent solution than a guitar stand, as you’ll have to drill holes in the wall and mount them with strong enough screws or bolts to ensure they’re as secure as possible. 

Guitar.com has an excellent guitar mounting guide that I highly recommend checking out!

NOTE: Some guitars, especially the high-end ones have nitrocellulose finish. For these guitars, you should make sure that every guitar stand and wall hanger you use is made from materials that are nitro-safe.


Watch Out for Humidity Levels

displays a hygrometer

Now, regardless of if you store your guitar in a case or out in the open, you have to keep humidity levels in mind. Most guitars are constructed with solid wood, making them vulnerable to permanent damage if they’re consistently exposed to extreme humidity levels. 

Constant humidity exposure can lead to major and sometimes irreparable physical issues, such as fret buzz, finish damage, neck warping, or cracking. 

Ideally, you should store your guitars in an environment with around 45-55% humidity. Check our full Ideal Guitar Humidity guide here.

It’s equally important, however, to make sure you are as consistent as possible with the humidity surrounding your guitar. Avoid exposing it to abrupt changing in humidity, as this can damage the wood.

So, now you might be thinking, how in the world do I know how humid it is in my storage space?

The best thing you can do is use a hygrometer

Hygrometers are small devices that measure the relative humidity levels in a given space. They’re super affordable and can be picked up at your local music shop. 

Whether you store your guitars in cases or out in the open, having a hygrometer is crucial. For example, it doesn’t often rain here in Los Angeles, though when it does, the humidity levels can change drastically. 

I’ll check my hygrometer regularly during the rainy season to make sure levels are consistent and that it’s within the recommended range. If humidity levels are above what they should be, for example, I’ll use a dehumidifier in the room to get it back within the range.


Find a Temperature-Controlled Environment

displays thermometer

Similar to maintaining humidity levels, you want to make sure your guitar is stored within the ideal temperature range, which is between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-24C). 

When your guitar is exposed to ultra-low temperatures, it can cause the frets to shrink. On the other hand, when it’s exposed to ultra-high temperatures, it can melt the glue or cause the wood to warp. 

If you can, use a thermostat to regulate the temperature in your storage area and keep your guitar away from direct sunlight by storing it away from windows or in UV-protective cases. 

NEVER leave your guitar in your vehicle when it’s not in use. Not only do you run the risk of losing it to a guitar thief, but temperatures in cars can reach extremes when they’re not running.


Guitar Storage Checklists

Short-Term Guitar Storage Checklist

If you’re using your guitar frequently, you’ll want access to be as convenient as possible. However, you’ll also want to make sure your guitar is safe. Let’s look at a few things to keep in mind when it comes to short-term guitar storage:

  • Have It Nearby – Keep your guitar easily accessible, whether on a sturdy wall hanger or tripod stand.
  • Don’t Try to Balance It  – Never leave your guitar around the room in unsafe standing positions, such as leaning up against the wall.
  • Keep Your Room Climate-Controlled – Make sure your storage space has the ideal temperature and humidity levels, between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit(18-24C) and 45-55% humidity.
  • Avoid the Elements – Keep your guitar away from direct sunlight or cold winter drafts
  • Keep It Safe – Store your guitar out of the direct line of sight from windows if theft is a potential problem.

Long-Term Guitar Storage Checklist

If you don’t plan on playing your guitar very often, consider some of these long-term storage do’s and dont’s:

  • Keep it Locked – If your guitar is valuable, keep it locked up in a hard case
  • Make Sure It’s Clean – Before storing it away for the long term, make sure you give it a good clean (Check How to Clean a Guitar guide here,
  • Loosen the Strings – Tune your guitar down a half or whole step to mitigate tension issues
  • Protect from Moisture – Store in a humidity-controlled environment with a case humidifier.
  • Store on High Shelving – Keep your guitar cases on shelving off the floor to protect from floods or rodents
  • Don’t Stack If Possible – Keep your guitars lying flat without anything heavy atop your cases

If you’re storing your guitar long-term, I recommend taking it out every once in a while to inspect and play it. My long-term stored guitars are often taken out every few weeks. That way, I can check for any potential signs of early damage and remedy issues before they get serious. 


FAQ

What Are Ideal Guitar Storage Conditions?

The ideal guitar storage conditions include keeping your guitar within the ideal temperature range (65°F to 75°F, 18-24C), within the ideal humidity range (45% to 55%), away from direct sunlight, in a well-ventilated area, and in a protective hard case. These baselines apply to acoustic guitars, classical guitars, and electric guitars.

How to Store Your Guitar at Home?

The way in which you store your guitar at home will depend on how often you use it. For frequent-use guitars, I recommend sturdy wall hangers in a climate-controlled room away from direct sunlight. For long-term home storage, humidity-controlled hard cases stored out of harm’s way in closet shelving are best.

How to Store Your Guitar at Small Apartment?

If you’re trying to save space in a small apartment, I recommend storing your guitar with a wall mount. Not only will it keep your guitar off the floor and out of harm’s way, but it’ll also double as a nice art piece! Just make sure your wall hanger is installed properly and securely. 

Check our picks for the best amps for small apartments here.

Should Guitars Be Stored Flat?

Whether you store your electric or acoustic guitar flat or standing up isn’t a concern as long as you have it in a hard case without anything else on top of it. 

Is it OK to Store Your Guitar in A Guitar Case or a Gig Bag?

Storing your guitar in a guitar case or gig bag is perfectly fine as long as it’s in a climate-controlled environment.

Is it OK to Leave Your Guitar On The Guitar Stand Long-Term?

It’s perfectly fine to have your guitar on a stand long-term when you aren’t playing it, as long as it’s out of harm’s way, it’s not exposed to direct sunlight, and it’s in a climate-controlled environment.

Is it OK to Leave Your Guitar On The Wall Hanger Long-Term?

Keeping your guitar on a wall hanger for long term is totally fine as long as you keep it in a climate-controlled environment and out of the way of direct sunlight. Check our full Are Guitar Wall Hangers Bad for The Guitar? – guide here.

Is It OK To Store Guitars In The Basement?

If you live in a place with high humidity levels during certain times of the year, storing your guitar in the basement is not a good idea. If you have to store it in the basement, maintain humidity levels with a humidifier or dehumidifier. 

How to Store A Guitar Without A Case or Stand?

If you don’t have a guitar case or stand at home, the best way to store your guitar is with a sturdy wall hanger that is installed correctly. 

What Can Happen if You Don’t Store Your Guitar Properly?

If you don’t store your guitar properly, it’s susceptible to the following: 

  • Fret buzz
  • Swollen or shrinking frets
  • Neck warping
  • Glue failure
  • Neck, body, or bridge crack
  • Tuning and intonation issues
  • High action
  • Falling

Conclusion

Storing your guitar properly is the only way to make sure you can enjoy playing it for many years to come. Follow the tips above, and you’ll always be able to make sure it’s ready to play when inspiration strikes!

If you have any questions, leave a comment down below. Keep rocking!

Tyler Connaghan

Tyler Connaghan is a guitarist, singer, producer, composer & engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Tyler has been playing the guitar since 2007. In between writing for guitar publications, he produces music for film and television. His favorite axe is his custom Pelham Blue Fender Stratocaster. You can connect with Tyler on LinkedIn or just email him.
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Peter Harman

If you have a high end instrument, ensure that any stand or hanger is compatible with the finish of the instrument – some River and foam products can damage nitrocellulose finishes

Teemu Suomala

Thank you for reminding us about that Peter!

Terry

I repair guitars #1 I humidity before starting work/ I always leave humidity packs in customers guitar hopefully they will continue and keep from having expensive repairs

Mark Lysaght

That was a great article full of common-sense tips and good advice. Over the years most of my guitars stay in hardshell cases but I’m taking on board that I should loosen the strings on acoustics if they’re not in regular use.

Teemu Suomala

Thank you for commenting Mark! I find a guitar case to be the best place to store my guitars when not using them in a while too!

Fern

Thank you for your information….I am in a ” rental” home … so I have been keeping my Instruments in hard cases with humidifiers in the cases..but I do like to have my
” main” guitar on a stand for quick and easy use!!!

Teemu Suomala

That sounds smart, if the guitar is easily accessible, you will play it more often! Thanks for commenting!

Kerina Trapmore

Is it ok to store my acoustic and electric guitars in a gig bag standing up in the wardrobe?

Teemu Suomala

If the humidity and temperature are on the correct levels and you don’t happen to have sunlight in the wardrobe, then sure! Thanks for commenting Kerina!

Snake

Thank you. I’ve been concerned about the correct way to store them. I got a digital humidity monitor and it shows perfect and I keep the temperature between 66°-70° so you really helped thanks again

Teemu Suomala

Thank you for commenting! Awesome if you found this article helpful!

Ruth Cooper

One thing I learned a long time ago is when you bring your guitar into a building from your car, don’t open the case for 1 hour. That lets the temperature and humidity adjust. When I was a teenager and didn’t have my own guitar yet, the pastor’s wife let me borrow hers. It was a nice acoustic, but the entire top was covered in little cracks. That’s what can happen if you bring your guitar into a warm heated environment after being outside where it is snowing.
I have been playing guitar over 50 years now and I have always followed that rule. When I lived in Kentucky, England and now Phoenix. I have about 20 instruments and some even from the 50s and none have cracks all over the top.

Teemu Suomala

Hi Ruth! That’s a really wise thing to do. Thank you for sharing this with us! 🙂

craig ball

you wrote “if your guitar is valuable, keep the case locked
“..that’s great for keeping small children from messing with it but a thief will take it case and all. maybe use a small but long chain to lock the cases together.

Teemu Suomala

Thank you for commenting Craig! True, if you are storing your guitar in a place where someone can just grab it and run then just locking it is not enough.

Ira Kromberg

For long term storage of guitars, should the strings be tuned or loosened?

Teemu Suomala

Hi Ira and thank you for commenting! For long-term storage, loosening the strings to get rid of the tension is wise. Just tune your guitar down a half or whole step to mitigate tension issues. Have a great day!