If you are a guitar player, you have probably asked yourself, “Should I loosen my guitar strings when I’m not playing?”.
And you must have come across a lot of conflicting information. Some guitarists insist that the strings should be loose, while others are sure that it shouldn’t be done.
With this article, we aim to clarify the reason for this controversy and give you valuable tips on how to properly store your guitar.
Can loosening the strings damage the guitar?
The truth is that loosening the strings can damage the guitar. Not immediately, but frequent increases and decreases in the tension of the strings can have unwanted consequences.
This is what can happen if you frequently loosen and tighten the strings:
- The strings will wear out and break much faster.
- The machine head and tuners also will wear out and break quickly.
- It may damage the guitar nut.
When is the right time to loosen the strings?
The only reason to loosen your strings is when you know you won’t touch the guitar for more than 6 months. Then you can loosen the strings a little before putting them back in their place. But also remember to adjust the truss rod because the neck may get a back bow.
How to store your guitar for extended periods
Different types of guitars have different storage methods. The one rule that refers to all of them is: store your guitar in a room with a good humidity level.
How to store your electric guitar?
Electric guitars are very strong, and their strings don’t need to be loosened even if you’ll not use them for a long time.
The bridge is bolted to the guitar’s body, making it very stable under sustained tension. If you do decide to loosen the strings, do it halfway. No need to take them off completely.
How to store your acoustic guitar?
For the acoustic guitar, loosening the strings is necessary for an extended period without playing. Loosening halfway can prevent damage to the instrument’s bridge and neck.
How to store your classical guitar?
Classical guitars have nylon strings, and they can’t resist the same tension as steel. Some models don’t even have a truss rod.
Loosening the strings on classical and flamenco guitars is recommended because otherwise, the neck may bend.
Our personal tips for storing your guitar
We have some personal tips for storing your guitar, which will help you to maintain your instrument in optimal condition for years to come.
- Keep your guitar in a room with a consistent and moderate temperature. Extreme heat or cold can cause damage to the wood and affect its overall performance.
- Protect your guitar from moisture at all costs. Excessive humidity can warp the wood, while excessive dryness can cause cracking. If needed, consider using a dehumidifier to control the moisture levels in the storage area.
- Invest in a hard shell case. These cases provide sturdy protection and act as a buffer against accidental falls or impacts from other objects. A quality case can safeguard your instrument from potential damage.
In conclusion, it is not necessary to loosen the strings of your guitar every time you set it aside. Your guitar is designed to withstand string tension over an extended period.
Instead, focus on ensuring proper and safe storage conditions for your instrument. You can maintain its integrity and playability by storing your guitar in a suitable environment, away from extreme temperatures and humidity.
Remember to clean and protect your guitar with a sturdy case or stand. Experiment and find what works best for you to ensure your beloved instrument’s longevity and optimal performance.
How often should I change my strings?
How often should you change your strings depends entirely on how much you are playing the guitar – do you practice for hours every day, or do you barely touch it a few times a month? Read more on the topic here: When to change guitar strings?
Should I Detune My Guitar After Playing?
We advise you to detune your guitar only when you will not use it for a long time or when you will be traveling with it. If you always tune it up before playing and then detune it, it may cause serious damage.
Should You Loosen Guitar Strings When Flying?
When flying, changes in temperature and pressure in the room or luggage compartment can affect the neck of your guitar and damage it. It is best to loosen the strings when flying with your guitar.
How long can a guitar stay in tune?
A guitar can stay in tune for at least a few days. Still, many things can affect this, such as the type and condition of the strings and if they become too loose, the temperature and humidity in the room, etc.
Do guitar strings get tighter over time?
Over time, strings can become tighter and begin to break more easily. They should be neither too loose nor too tight. They must withstand enough tension to produce the desired melody. If the strings get too stiff, maybe it is time to change your guitar strings.