Your Guitar’s Worst Enemy: Heat and Humidity
Written by Madison Iszler
Wooden guitars are very susceptible to the negative effects of temperature and humidity. The surroundings of your guitar matter because of these factors.
Humidity is not good for guitars because it can cause the metal parts of the guitar to rust and the wooden parts to become wet and weakened, which obstructs sound resonation.
Fort Lauderdale guitar teacher Dyce Kimura offers some personal advice of his own. “Part of the soundproofing in my office is done in plexiglass, which seals out the humidity and helps me keep my equipment in the best condition.”
Heat can negatively effect a guitar because of the wood glue that is used to make guitars. Heat affects acoustic guitars more than electric guitars because of the wood glue issue.
“I live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where the trunk of a car can become 140 degrees in 10 minutes. Wood glue melts at around 120 degrees. It is important to NOT leave your guitar in the car.”
“If the heat is not at glue-melting temperatures, it is not inherently bad for the guitar. For example, if a room is warm and is always warm, the wood of a guitar in the room will expand to acclimate to the temperature and will get accustomed to the warm air. However, when a guitar is taken back and forth between a hot environment, like a hot car, and a cold environment, like an air-conditioned room, the wood of the guitar starts to warp because of the expanding and contracting that the wood tries to do.”
According to promusicalaska.com, a rapid change in temperature or exposure to cold can cause small cracks in the finish. If a guitar is exposed to freezing temperatures, allow it to warm up to room temperature while it is still in its case. This allows the guitar to acclimate to room temperature more slowly decreasing the possibility of wood and finish cracks.
Exposure to certain temperatures can change your guitar forever. Dyce says,
“When the guitar gets hot, the guitar neck expands and curves from the pressure of the strings. When it contracts, it does not go back to the same place it was before. If this occurs over and over again, this process causes the neck to warp.”
Dyce protects his guitars by keeping the temperature of his house consistent at all times.
“When I take my guitars to venues to perform, I pack them in hard cases. If you get an airtight case, it especially helps with the temperature. For a person who has a lot of acoustic guitars, I would recommend that you invest in a dehumidifier.” Because of humidity and weather, Dyce has a cheap acoustic guitar that he can bring to the beach with him without having to worry about one of his nicer guitars being destroyed.
Make sure that temperatures and humidity are not destroying your guitar(s) before it’s too late!
Dyce Kimura teaches in Fort Lauderdale, as well as Weston, Parkland, and other Broward and tri-county cities. For more information, visit his website, dycekimura.com. To contact him, email Dyce at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 786-457-3687.
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