Storing A Guitar: How To Properly Protect Your Instruments

When it comes to storing a guitar, it’s important to take certain precautions. This will ensure its longevity and maintain optimal sound quality. The last thing you want is a damaged instrument due to improper storage. Especially when it’s so easy to learn how to store a guitar!

Hard and soft cases, guitar stands and wall hangers are the most conventional methods. These guitar storage options are effective and affordable. But using them properly and in the right environment is also key. 

In this article, we will share the best practices for storing a guitar. Plus, we will offer practical tips to help you protect your instrument.

Safest Methods of Storing a Guitar

There are right and wrong ways to store a guitar. Never lean your guitar against a table or wall and consider it safe. This is a bad way to store your instrument! But, even if you are using one of the suggested methods, there are things to keep in mind. Here are some of the safest methods of storage.

1. Hard Case

Storing your guitar in a hard case is the best method. Not only does it protect from impact! But it can also keep the environment conditioned correctly. A hard case must be used correctly, however. For long term storage, always make sure to keep the case on its side or straight up.

If you store it laying down, gravity will pull on the neck. This can have a bad effect on the guitar! Especially if you have a thinner neck on your instrument. It could eventually lead to warping. So always try and keep the case on it’s side when a guitar is inside.

A hard case is also a better option when traveling or gigging. This will prevent any damage from knocks, drops or bumps. So if the guitar will need to go in the back of a truck, get yourself a hard case!

Hard Guitar Case.

2. Soft Case

If you choose to store your guitar in a soft case, there are a few additional precautions to take. First, it’s important to store the guitar in a room with a stable temperature and humidity level. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can cause damage to the instrument.

Second, make sure to store the guitar in a place where it won’t be bumped or knocked over. Even in a soft case, damage can result in a nasty fall. Again, you also want to make sure that the case is stored on it’s side.

For long term storage, a soft case is fine, but keep it on the side or straight up. This will prevent gravity from pulling in the neck. If you leave it on it’s back, the neck could warp. Also make sure it fits your guitar perfectly. Movement inside the case can cause damage if it’s excessive.

3. Guitar Stands

Using a stand is also a great way to store a guitar. Especially if you want it within reaching distance and easily accessible. But there are a few things to keep in mind when using one. First, make sure the stand is the right size. If they are too big or small, the guitar can fall over. All it takes is a simple bump in some cases.

Another important consideration is the environment. Store it in proper humidity levels and in a location that is safe from bumps and knocks. Also, keep it out of direct sunlight to protect the finish. Otherwise, a stand is perfect and not overly hard on the neck!

4. Wall Hangers

Basic guitar hanger.

Using wall hangers is also a great storage device. Some people believe that hangers hurt the neck, but this isn’t true. Because they hand from the headstock, the neck can keep its bow just fine. Gravity won’t be able to pull down on the neck either, so the method is a good one.

However, the guitar is exposed to the environment, so just like a stand, you must condition the air. Proper humidity and temperature must be kept. And don’t use hangers in areas of direct sunlight. Nothing kills a finish faster!

How To Prepare a Guitar for Storage

Once you have decided on a method of storage, you must also consider preparation. Here are a few things to do before putting it away for a long period.

Clean Your Guitar

Before storing your guitar, it’s crucial to give it a thorough cleaning. Wipe down the entire guitar, including the strings and fretboard. Use a clean and dry microfiber cloth.

If there are any fingerprints, smudges, or dust on the surface, use a guitar cleaner. But one that is designed specifically for the finish. Applying a light coat of guitar polish can also help protect the finish during storage. And a good oil for the fretboard can help with additional protection.

Loosen the Strings

When storing your guitar, you might consider loosening the strings. This is important with acoustic guitars. This is because the saddle is normally glued to the body. The tension and aging of the glue can lift the bridge. Many players have returned to a guitar to find the bridge lifted!

The strings just need to be loosened slightly to relieve some of the strain. But not completely removed. A step or two will be fine.

The neck shouldn’t move, so it’s preferable to keep a little pressure on them. However, if you keep it stored on the side, this ought to be alright.

Things are different with the electric guitar. The strings don’t need to be loosened. In fact, since the truss rod and neck will remain stable, it is preferable not to. The bridge won’t move anytime soon because it is mechanically secured!

Choose the Right Location

The final step in proper guitar storage is selecting an appropriate location. The ideal storage area should have moderate humidity. But also an ideal temperature, and minimal exposure to direct sunlight. An area that is not frequently used, such as a spare room or a closet, would be an excellent choice. Away from outside walls if possible.

Avoid storing your guitar in areas that are prone to dampness. Again, temperature fluctuations are also a guitar killer. So the attic or basement might be a poor choice. But you will need to be the judge of that, as every home is different!

Check on it Periodically

It’s crucial to occasionally check on your instrument, even with good storage. You must make sure it’s in good shape while being stored. Open the case and inspect it for any signs of damage or imperfections. They should be fine if you have done your due diligence. But it’s not a bad idea to make sure!

Benefits of Proper Storage

Proper storage will protect your guitar. But you might be wondering what you are protecting it from? Here is a list of things that can happen if the guitar is not stored correctly.

  • Physical damage.
  • Lifted bridge or saddle.
  • Incorrect action.
  • Fret buzz.
  • Sharp frets.
  • Shrunken wood.
  • Cracks and bulges.
  • Warped neck.
  • Tuning issues.

As you can see, the benefits are numerous! Proper storage now will also prevent any expensive repairs later!


Is it OK to store a guitar flat?

No, it is best not to lay a guitar down flat on it’s back. This is because gravity will be pulling on the neck. While in most cases damage will not result, this is just extra force that doesn’t need to be applied. So when possible, it is always best to store a guitar in a case on it’s side.

Is it alright to leave a guitar in the garage?

If your garage is controlled in both temperature and humidity, then it’s fine. But if your garage is left to the natural elements, then no, this is a bad idea. Especially if it gets cold and dry or even hot and damp. This is a recipe for disaster!

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Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear. I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!