can guitars get wet?

Can Guitars Get Wet?

If you’ve stumbled across this article, chances are pretty good that you may have dropped your guitar in a lake. Just kidding! Unless, of course, you actually thought it was a good idea to bring your guitar with you out on a boat and then you actually did drop it in the lake.

All jokes aside, though, there are many instances where maybe your guitar has gotten wet. Flood damage and playing a guitar in the rain are just a couple of examples that might lead to one’s guitar becoming wet. 

How much damage that can occur when your guitar gets wet really depends on a number of factors. Among these are the type of guitar, what it’s made of, and how long it was subjected to water. 

While it is not advisable to leave your guitar in the rain, if you are caught in a downpour while carrying your instrument, fret not (pun intended). There are several things that you can do to protect your prized possession from damage.

If your acoustic guitar doesn’t get too wet (just damp), then you can dry it with something as simple as paper towels or a soft piece of cloth. It would also be a good idea to leave it out of it’s case if possible to air dry the remainder of the dampness. 

What you don’t want to do is use a hair dryer or heater to dry off your acoustic guitar as this could cause the wood on your guitar to warp. It’s better to have your guitar dry slowly then it is to speed dry it, because instant environment changes have a tendency to do damage on wooden instruments.

Water can cause your guitar to deform and in doing so, can warp your fretboard, bridge, and other parts of your acoustic. It’s important to note that this damage is permanent and cannot be undone. 

Humidity and wetness are typically one in the same when we’re talking about wet acoustic guitars. If you live in a climate where humidity is a big problem, you might want to consider putting special silica packs in your guitar case to help with this problem. Silica packs will soak up the moisture in the air when it becomes too much. 

What Happens If My Electric Guitar Gets Wet?

Playing your electric guitar in the rain for small periods of time is usually okay, but it is still not recommended. After all, you’re dealing with electricity in a wet environment. 

When an electric guitar gets wet, this can bring on a whole new world of problems. Because it’s an electric guitar, it has electrical components inside the guitar. Many of these you cannot see from the outside, and you might not even know they exist. 

If your electric guitar gets really wet, it’s usually the electronics inside that get damaged and not necessarily the body of the guitar. Obviously, this does not apply to the fretboard which is made of wood and could warp if left to wet and humid conditions. 

If you fear that water has gotten inside the electrical components, you may need to pull off the pots, switches, knobs, and faceplate. You’ll then need to lay the parts out on a paper towel and allow them time to air dry.

It’s extremely important to understand that electricity and water do not mix! If your guitar is soaking wet, never plug it in and play it. You’re better off waiting for it to dry before you test out whether or not your electric guitar is damaged. If it is damaged, you’ll need to replace the damaged components one by one. Or better yet, hire a professional to do it.

How To Prevent Your Guitar From Getting Wet

The answer to this is pretty simple really. You prevent your guitars from getting wet by keeping them in their case when you are traveling in the rain. If humidity is the issue, then the silica packs I mentioned above are a good solution.

And if you do end up gigging in the rain, try to limit the amount of time you are playing if possible. Most outdoor venues plan for rain will usually have a large canopy available just in case. 

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I love playing around with various types of guitar gear so I started this website to share my guitar gear knowledge with the world. Enjoy!

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