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I recently got my yamaha F310 acoustic guitar replaced because the part of the body to which the bridge was attached started swelling and it seemed that the bridge was about to detach from the body as there were many cracks developed around it.

Now that I've got the guitar replaced, I want to know what caused that problem because I want to take precautions for the new one. I handled the guitar very carefully. I think it has something to do with how I kept it because I always kept it lying on the bed. Maybe that was the problem but I'm just geussing. So, what might have caused that problem ?

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The raising of the face of a guitar is most usually caused by a problem with the soundboard struts.

In some cases the strut doesn't get glued properly during manufacturing and the issue won't show up until after some time under tension.

Occasionally a guitar model is built with a thin top or struts in unconventional locations that causes raising later in the instrument's life.

A sharp knock to the guitar can cause the glue on a strut to break away or the strut to crack, especially a hit on the side of the guitar where the strut end joins the body. The guitar can take a hit and not show any visible body damage. In some cases this can happen during shipping and isn't the fault of the owner.

The glue under the struts can weaken under high temperature, although you won't usually see a problem unless the temperature reaches around 120F / 48C. Higher humidity will make the glue soften at a lower temp. An instrument left in a car or garage, or in its case sitting in the sun in hot parts of the world can reach these temperatures.

Unless your room has extreme conditions of high humidity or heat, it is perfectly safe to leave the instrument out of the case. You might want to get a wall hanger or non-tripod guitar stand though, so there is less risk of the instrument getting knocked off of the bed and taking a hit.

String tension itself should not cause any problems on a standard built guitar made for that type of strings. If there are mechanical problems with the guitar then higher tensions will cause a problem faster than lower tension strings. Putting steel strings on a guitar built for nylon strings will damage the guitar however.

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Some possible reasons:

  1. The guitar is ill-built. The manufacturer may have used a board which is too weak, or the bracings are incorrectly designed or installed. This is fairly common on less-expensive guitars;
  2. The string tension is too high. You may have a set of high-gauge strings installed, which your guitar cannot bare. It's normally safe to use 0.11 gauge strings on most guitars with standard tuning, but not all guitars are designed to withstand 0.13 gauge string set;
  3. The temperature is too high, or the humidity is too low. The glue which bind parts of your guitar might fail in such condition. It's always a good idea to put your guitar back to the case if not playing, especially in extreme weather conditions. A moisture-proof box will also help, although it could be more expensive than your guitar itself.
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    Are there really any decent 6 string acoustics which can't support a set of 0.13 (medium gauge) strings? – ex nihilo Oct 30 '17 at 14:25
  • The humidity could be too high, also. The top will expand as it absorbs moisture and it could buckle and start to pop off the bridge. You might mention that keeping the guitar in a case is better than keeping on a bed. – Todd Wilcox Oct 30 '17 at 15:29
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    It would be exceptionally rare to find a guitar built for steel strings that would be limited to lower tension strings. Unheard of actually, unless it was a very poor manufacture. – Alphonso Balvenie Oct 30 '17 at 19:55
  • High humidity in itself shouldn't be enough to cause buckling of the face. It is rapid changes in humidity that causes the most problems, or very high humidity and heat. A guitar maybe shouldn't be left out of the case in places like Florida in the summer if you don't have air conditioning, but in most dwellings it is perfectly fine to leave an instrument out if its case. I have many of my instruments hung on my walls for easy access. – Alphonso Balvenie Oct 30 '17 at 19:55
  • @DavidBowling It depends on the definition of decent. If the Yamaha F310 of OP's is decent enough, the answer is, yes there are, and surprisingly not rare. There is a tension limit for every guitar structure. For (an extreme) example, a fan-braced classical guitar cannot bare steel strings, not even the lightest ones. Steel string guitars have much stronger bracing, but It's not unheard of on many of those cheap guitars, especially on those $200 entry-level solid-top guitars, the bracings are not strong enough to withstand high gauge string tension. (... – hillin Oct 31 '17 at 2:21
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When you play any string instrument the strings get warmed up and relax (or stretch) which is why all string instruments that haven't been used lately can need frequent additional tuning when someone picks them up again.

I was once asked about repairing a ukulele that had had the whole face ripped off because it had been left in tune for a very long time.

If you know that you won't use the guitar for some time, it is always a good idea to loosen the strings. A few weeks isn't usually a problem, a few months is.

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