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I have a question about storage. I'm planning to build a rack like thing made out of plywood or glass to store my guitars. Yet, I'm curious to know whether my guitars will have an affect with the environmental conditions such as humidity, water vapor, light, etc... Please advice.

Thank you

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Many folks keep some of their collectible guitars in display cases or guitar cabinets that may have a glass front to allow viewing of the instrument. However these cases should have a built in humidity control system as it is vitally important to maintain the proper level of relative humidity for your guitars.

When storing guitars, one of the most important consideration is the environmental conditions that the guitar will be subject to during storage. This would include extremes of temperature and most importantly, relative humidity.

This is particularly important with acoustic guitars who's body is solid wood (verses laminate or composite) or guitars with a solid wood top. Solid body electric guitars and all laminate body acoustic guitars are not as sensitive to the environment as the solid wood acoustics, but will still be affected.

Wood is very susceptible to relative humidity (basically the amount of moisture in the air). Too little humidity and the wood drys out and your guitar can develop any number of problems. Conversely, if your guitar is exposed to conditions where there is too much moisture in the air, the wood can swell and cause different problems. Here is a link Humidity and Guitars that tells you more about how humidity can affect an acoustic guitar and the optimal humidity range.

Many people choose to store their guitars in a hard-shell case with either a sound hole or in the case humidity control system. However, if you have quite a few guitars, it might be practical to store them in a dedicated case or cabinet, as long as you have a way to control the temperature and relative humidity levels inside the case or cabinet.

If you can create a weather tight seal with weatherstripping and tightly closing doors, you could use some sponges in containers to provide humidity along with a hygrometer to monitor the humidity level and add or subtract water from the sponges as needed.

Or you could use a small electric humidifier with a built in hygrometer which you would set to maintain the humidity at your desired level (between 45% and 55%). Of course you would need to be able to get the power cord into the case or cabinet.

If you don't want your guitar "rack" to be sealed, you may want to consider a room humidifier to maintain the optimal humidity level in the room where your guitar rack will reside. Again, there are many models that will automatically maintain a pre-set humidity level.

Aside from taking steps to insure optimal relative humidity, you should also consider the location of your storage cabinet or rack or case. It's best not to expose anything to direct sunlight that you don't want to fade over time. If you live in a climate where there can be temperature extremes, you might not want to locate your storage unit on an outside wall.

One other consideration for security that I would keep in mind. Guitars can be valuable and if a burglar ever breaks into my home looking for something to steal, my guitars are the last thing I want him to see. You might want to locate the storage unit in a part of the home where it will be least likely to be found by burglars looking for valuables.

Finally, be sure your guitars are supported inside the case in a manner that does not put undue stress on the neck of the guitar. You don't want any pressure in either direction that could warp the neck. Store the guitars so that the necks are not touching anything or so that the guitar is suspended freely from the headstock - with no pressure on the neck itself. For long term storage, I would recommend loosening the strings as well.

Good luck with your storage unit!

  • Thank you very much for your info:. Still I need to know something. All the issues you have mentioned in your answer will happen only if I keep the guitars in the rack for a long time, right? What if I take the guitars out of the rack everyday or 4 / 5 times a week and clean both guitars and the rack? Sorry if I sound stupid, because I'm not that knowledgeable about the guitars and the environmental conditions. – Sahan De Silva Feb 18 '15 at 11:47
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    @SahanDeSilva It's fine to take your guitars out of the rack. Just be sure that they are not exposed to extreme sudden changes in temperature, (don't take them out of a warm house into very cold outside unless they are in a good guitar case - then leave them in the case) and don't leave them in unfavorable conditions (humidity) for a long period of time. How long the guitar can remain in a too dry or too wet environment depends on the degree of too dry or too wet and the type wood. Generally unfavorable conditions can start affecting wood in as little as 6 hours. – Rockin Cowboy Feb 18 '15 at 21:41
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    @SahanDeSilva If your rack is open to the atmosphere in the room and not sealed, you just need to worry about the climate conditions in the room where the rack and guitars are stored. If you have a weather tight seal on the rack or storage case or cabinet, be sure not to leave the door open long as the controlled conditions inside the case/cabinet will change if you leave the door open. Just like your refrigerator will get warm if you leave the door open. – Rockin Cowboy Feb 18 '15 at 21:43
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Unless you are building a sealed case like a humidor, the construction material matters very little. All you should concern yourself with is whether the structure can support the weight of your guitars (and then some).

Environmental considerations are addressed in this answer.

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