Can Heat Damage My Guitar?

Can Heat Damage My Guitar?

If you’ve left your guitar in the hot sun lately or even played outside when it was 80 plus degrees Fahrenheit outside, chances are pretty good that you wondered if heat could cause damage to your guitar. 

The quick and simple answer to this question is yes, heat can damage your guitar when left in a hot environment over long periods of time.

Sometimes the damage done can be fixed, while other times there may be a permanent scar left on your guitar, and it may even become unplayable. 

In this article, we will cover what temperature is too hot for your guitar, and what the right type of humidity is also. 

There could be both fixable and irreparable damage done to your guitar if you leave it in the heat for long enough.

One thing to look out for is any glue that could possibly melt. Glue is commonly used to hold parts of an acoustic guitar together such as the fretboard, nut, or bridge. 

Most guitars are made out of wood and usually have some type of finish on the body. This finish could be damaged by heat if it got hot enough.

Another possible result of leaving your guitar in the heat for too long is cracking on the body of your instrument and also warping of your guitar’s neck.

This is usually not something that will happen if you leave your guitar in a hot place only temporarily. But, if leaving your guitar in extreme temperatures becomes a habit, it could definitely result in a warped neck.

Leaving your guitar in a hot environment could also result in the body of your guitar becoming cracked. Likewise, this is usually done after longer periods of exposed temperatures. 

What Temperature Is Too Hot for a Guitar?

The ideal temperature to store your guitar is between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity in an acceptable range, which we’ll discuss later.

But what about while you’re playing? Temporary, short-term exposure to high heat, much like what you’d expect if you are playing on an 80 to 120-degree day, will be okay.

Under these circumstances, I would not worry too much. Any higher, though, and you risk damaging your guitar. It’s not worth it then.

I would advise against leaving your guitar in a hot car, however, as this could cause serious damage, depending on how hot it gets in the vehicle. 

A good rule of thumb would be to treat your guitar like you would a baby or a dog when it comes to hot cars. 

Would you leave your dog in a hot car with the windows rolled up? I certainly hope not. Don’t do that to your guitar either. 

Can I Leave My Guitar in the Sun?

The short answer to this question is ‘yes’ when left exposed for awhile. There is nothing good that will come out of leaving your guitar in the sun.

So if you’re thinking about hanging a guitar near a window, you’ll definitely want to find a more suitable place for it. Leaving your guitar in direct sunlight over long periods of time could cause it to warp, affecting its playability.

The same goes for putting your guitar in a car on a sunny day. Even, if it’s not that hot out, the sunlight could still cause damage.

It should be noted that leaving your guitar in the sun temporarily, likely will not harm your guitar – unless your guitar is made out of ice cream.

So how long is too long when it comes to the effects of sunlight on your guitar? I would aim for no more than 2 hours just to be on the safe side.

It’s a good idea to store your guitar in a hard case when the environment could cause damage to your instrument. 

Low Humidity vs High Humidity for Guitars

The best humidity for your guitar will be in the 45 to 55 percent range. There are devices you can get that will measure the humidity for you so you don’t have to guess.

These are called humidity monitors, and they work similarly to how a thermometer works. You can find them at any home goods store or here on Amazon. They are relatively inexpensive, so it’s a good idea to have one handy just in case.

If your guitar is buzzing a lot or the frets seem like they’re shrinking, there’s a good chance the guitar is too dry, and you’ll need to raise the humidity in the room that they are kept in.

The best way to do this is to keep your guitar in a hard case and stick a humidifier in there. If you don’t have a guitar case, then you will have to buy a whole room humidifier and these may be more costly than one used in a guitar case.

If you notice that your guitar seems to be warping or the action is becoming too high, then your guitar may be in an environment that is too humid.

The easy way to fix this is by keeping special packets in your guitar case that will fix the humidity levels to a comfortable range for your guitar.

It’s important to note that low humidity will likely damage your guitar faster than high humidity, but both conditions are easily controllable.

About Me

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!

Affiliate Disclosure

Guitar Gear Lab is reader supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. We only recommend products we love!

Recent Posts