I gave my brother’s girlfriend an acoustic guitar and stand over a year ago. I was over at their place the other day and I thought I would play the guitar. Of course it was out of tune, but I was surprised that there was terrible fret buzz everywhere on the guitar! When I gave it to her fret buzz wasn’t an issue. It played great. I’m pretty sure that the guitar has been on the stand almost the entire time she’s had it. It’s one of the “normal” stands that has neck support.

What would cause the guitar to have so much fret buzz? As a bonus, what’s a good way to prevent that?

Some additional information: The guitar is in Southwest Ohio in an air conditioned and heated house. I've never noticed any issues with the humidity in their house. Also, it's not exposed to direct sunlight. They keep the blinds down in that room.

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    No.1 - don't give guitars to someone who may never play them! No.2 the neck has straightened out and needs adjustment on the trussrod. No.3 - it may well have been subjected to too much sun. – Tim Jun 10 '20 at 16:18
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    @AlbrechtHügli - the neck would have a back bow, so the strings are too close. That's the opposite. Tightening the strings (not a good idea) may help. – Tim Jun 10 '20 at 16:54
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    We really need to know more about the guitar & the environment. I've had guitars sitting out in a room for 20 years or more with no ill-effects… some of them haven't even been re-strung in that time [yeah, I know, I like that dead string sound on some instruments, it's apropos.] – Tetsujin Jun 10 '20 at 18:08
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    They could make a clone of you from the DNA on that guitar. – ggcg Jun 10 '20 at 18:10
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    I let him out, alternate weekends, to give myself a rest :P – Tetsujin Jun 10 '20 at 18:17

Where do you live? If the seasons changed dramatically then the guitar would have dried out in the dry seasons, expanded when humid. Temperature changes will also cause expansion and contraction of the wood and this will not be uniform throughout the instrument. This translates to the instrument being a different shape after a year (or less, or more depending on circumstances).

Ideally one should not keep an acoustic out like that. It should be in the case with a damp humidifier in there with it. The humidifier should be checked every day. This is more important in the winter when the air is dry and heat on in the house. In dry climates this should be practiced. It's okay to leave the instrument out if there is some type of humidifier in the house that is on all the time. Some centralized heating and A/C units have humidifiers built in that will blow moist air into the home. Then there are large floor units. Many musicians keep these in their music room and keep the instruments out.

After a year of sitting out and not being looked after I'd guess the neck is warped and needs to be adjusted, as per Tim's comment. However the top could also be warped given that it was not taken care of. If you take it in for an overall adjustment a Luthier will let it sit near a humidifier to reanimate the wood. If it's in really bad shape even an adjustment might not bring it back to its original state.

Typically guitars need an adjustment at least once a year (sometimes every season) even when they are being taken care of properly. I am quite surprised that some people leave guitars out all year and DON'T get buzzing, dead spots, and permanent damage.

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    This sounds very contra to what I would have to deal with in the UK [or anyone in the dampest parts of Asia for that matter]. We don't get dry winters here, humidifiers are definitely not a common domestic appliance… nor is air conditioning. – Tetsujin Jun 10 '20 at 17:57
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    Where I am in the US the seasonal changes are drastic! Also, even if the air is not dry in the winter turning on the heat w/o a humidifier will dry it out. It is not uncommon for my skin to crack a bleed if I don't hit it with gobs of lotion, which is NOT good for the finish. – ggcg Jun 10 '20 at 18:09
  • "The US" is a pretty big place, so I've heard. Alaska vs Florida, for instance… I think your guide is clear, but very very climate-specific. – Tetsujin Jun 10 '20 at 18:11
  • I agree, it is climate specific. And by climate I mean indoor climate as much as outdoor. – ggcg Jun 10 '20 at 18:12
  • For sure, but as I've never ever met anyone who owns a humidifier of any description, nor anyone with domestic air-con [except for myself, who owns a small portable] it all sounds a bit… excessive. – Tetsujin Jun 10 '20 at 18:14

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