Winter care for your guitars

Out here in the Midwest, Chicago specifically, the winter is an extreme,t dry time and that dry air could wreak havoc on your guitars. So this is how I make sure my guitars aren’t thrown out of whack every time we abruptly go from a dry to humid season or humid to dry season.

A couple of years ago I bought a small whole house humidifier that I put in the hallway leading to my home studio. Unfortunately the house (which is about 1,000 square feet) soaked up that humidity and I could barely keep the room at 35% humidity on a good day. So I bought an even larger humidifier of the same model that supposedly can handle spaces that are 2,600 square feet. I have that one set to 65% humidity on the lower level of my home and the smaller one set at 60% humidity on the upper floor of my home out in the hallway leading to my studio. These two “whole house” humidifiers working together keep the house at a steady 45% to 55% humidity depending on the day.

During the worst, driest parts of winter I can settle for a few days where the room is at 40% humidity but generally I’m able to keep the room between 45% and 55% humidity at all times. This keeps the wood from warping, keeps the strings in tune, and generally makes it so that I don’t have to do a full setup on mtyguitars every month. Every now and then the humidity will drop to around 38% but it’s temporary and if you can keep the room where you store your guitars at 40%-55% humidity most of the time then you’ll avoid fret sprout and generally keep your guitars in a great playable conditions.

That said, in the end the safest place for your guitars are in their hard shell cases when not in use. In my case, they’re always in use so that’s how I keep them nice and playable year around, especially since I like to keep them hanging on my wall for easy access any time inspiration strikes.