Every northern guitarist runs into this problem when that good old cold wave hits. Wood cracks, strings break, and it takes everything in our ability just to keep the fretboard from falling apart from the sudden lack of humidity. So what’s a musician to do when the dry air hits? Hopefully these tips can aid you in your endeavor to protect your most precious piece of hardware.
Now keep in mind, these helps are mostly meant for the acoustic lovers out there, as electric guitars are better-suited for the cold than the thinly protected wood of an acoustic instrument.
Keeping it Away from Old Man Winter
Firstly, and most importantly, keep it in the case when you aren’t playing. Leaving it to the dried up environment of wherever you are, you can be taking all of the moisture out of your guitar and letting it succumb to all sorts of issues. Keeping it in a padded, hardshell case will give it less of a chance to breathe that crackly air Mother Nature loves to give us.
Secondly, since the air is so dry, counter it by using a way to humidify your guitar case. You can use a store-bought humidifier, or you can simply use what you have lying around the house. I use a small Tupperware container with several tiny holes poked in the top, and put a damp sponge inside it. If you use any humidifier with a sponge, remember to replace the water in the sponge every week or two, because it will get moldy and spread to other places in your case.
Eyeballing Your Case’s Conditions
Having the two most important tips at your disposal, it’s just as important to prevent your guitar from too much moisture. This means that you’ll need to keep an eye on the environment you’ve synthesized in your case, and there are several ways in which to do this.
Logically, you could just inspect your guitar upon every use. If you notice the action of the strings increasing or decreasing, or if the wood of the body begins to warp, you may need to add or remove water from your humidifier. You can also find a barometer to put inside of your case, and decide on how much water is needed that way.
This may seem like a lot of hassle just to keep your instrument healthy, but it’s a lot less frustrating than paying lots of money for your damaged baby later in life. Taking a few precautions just before the snowy season smacks your area could save you some money, and some headaches. Have fun this winter, and please take care of your guitars.