Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Guitar kept in case or out in the open?

First I’d like to say hi to everyone. I’m new to the site and am enjoying Ben’s instruction.
At home I have always kept my guitars in a case for protection. I see all the instruments on Ben’s wall and started to wonder: Is it better to keep a guitar protected in a case or left on a stand out in the open to absorb vibrations?

Which is better for the guitar? Same question for a mandolin. Any thoughts?

Hi ex fiddler and welcome to the forum! I keep my instruments out of their cases and hanging on the wall of my music room for a couple of reasons. First, they’re just plain pretty to look at. Second, they get played more, having them out and easily accessible. Your point about absorbing vibrations is probably more a matter of opinion although I wouldn’t disagree with it.
Keep in mind that I have a “designated” music room that stays properly humidified and no kids or dogs running around the house. If it werent for that the guitars and mando would stay in their cases.

Good timing on the question, as we are coming into the colder months when heaters come on and the air gets drier. For the health of the guitar, it likes to be in a relatively constant environment. Rapid changes in temperature such as leaving a guitar in a non-running car in the winter can cause a guitar to crack or have other problems immediately. A bit more subtle and slow, is getting an instrument too dry which leads to similar problems. A case helps slow and buffer environmental changes that the instrument experiences. Also a case protects against impact damage. As a result, a case is safer (better) for an instrument than sitting out. However, as Bulldog mentioned, he keeps his house humidified (I do as well). By controlling the temperature and the humidity, the only remaining problem is rash and damage from unintentional contact with the instruments. If you aren’t worried about that, then keeping your instruments out gives you the opportunity to pick them up and play them whenever you want, even if only for a few minutes. Plus, looking at Bulldog’s room, I think they also look good out there where everyone can see them.

As for me, I generally have one or two instruments out and the rest are in their cases. They get rotated around quite a bit, so it’s not like I have instruments that stay out and some that stay put away. Well, that’s not really true… I forgot that my PBass stays out. I lent it to a friend for a few decades, and it went through a flood and then apparently sat against a heater for a bit (it did a nice relic job for me). The case was mildewed, so I hung the PBass out for a while and it has stayed there, but a solid body is a bit more robust than an acoustic.

Welcome to the forum exfiddler! I usually keep mine in the case when not playing, although most of the time it sits on the floor in front of the TV speakers soaking up the vibes when I’m not playing it. In the winter I keep a Dampit in the soundhole.

Sure would like to have a humidified room like Bulldog has though. That’s nice!

Humidity and keeping the instruments away from direct sunlight (and smoke, if you smoke) would be my main concerns. Stable temp. would be good also (keep away from heat source or cold walls.) Nice music room Bulldog!

Thanks to all who answered. When I grow up I want to be like bulldog. That’s a nice music room! Looks like I need two more Martin guitars,($6,000.00) a mandolin($5,000.00), some plants($300.00), a mixer(?), humidifier, a new house ($500,000.00) with an extra room… kind of like cutting firewood, chainsaw, new truck, etc…
Ex Fiddler

Thanks for the compliments guys. Its really no big deal, just my daughter’s bedroom that I made “mine” when she left for college several years ago. Just right for practicing or jamming with a few pals.

Winter months most homes have humidifiers on the furnace adjust it to about 30% and that should protect instruments left out of their cases My guitars sit in their stands next to the computer . I can relate a incident that happened to me, I have this Fender Strat it is a 1989 Strat plus as I used to play all surf and rock music that is until I got hooked on flat picking , any ways I left the Strat out and the humidity was not right for over a year and you could actually feel the ends of the frets as the fret board had shrunk. A damp wash cloth inside the case for about two months and the fret board came back to its right size . I was lucky as it had not done permanent damage . I had no change in the wood on the body as it was sealed very well with the paint it is not checked nor cracked, so make sure these critters has enough moisture . if you store them in cases I recommend a small humidifier that is placed inside with the guitar, they sell for about 20 to 30 bucks but well worth the investment .

Good thoughts welder. Down here in Texas we don’t see furnaces very often, much less humidified ones, so we have to add humidifiers if we want to keep the house humidity up. If anyone is trying to humidify guitars in cases on a budget, here’s a link to making home made case humidifiers. They do work well, but ensure you get the excess moisture off the outside of them.

I have guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, fiddle and used to have banjo as well. All of my instruments I hang up just like Bulldog has. But I live in Phoenix and it is extremely hot and dry out here. But, what I have noticed is that in my office, I also have a fish tank, and in the summer time, no matter how cool you keep your house, that tank evaporates faster than I can keep water in it, the result is that it keeps my office fairly humidified :slight_smile:
So, I guess it just comes down to Humidity level, ease of access to your instruments, and looks basically?

I would also invest in a fish tank if you want to :slight_smile:

I have always kept my guitar on the stand in my room, but here on the Oregon Coast dry is not an issue. Since I got my Collings I got a meter to check just in case and every morning it’s 45 or 46% right on the money, since I got this guitar however it lives in it’s case when I’m not using it. It is safer in the long run in case something is dropped or whatever by someone clumsy like myself. I can bet if something fell it would hit the guitar if it was sitting in the middle of a acre! Had a music stand before I got my good one I have now, tip and you guessed it,

Its better when you live in a humid place and not 120 degree oven (dry) that’s for sure. I bought a wooden pick guard for an older guitar i had one time, and it wasn’t yet sealed (guy had just carve it), it was a custom made rosewood guard from east coast and the guy told me to let it sit for a month until moisture stabilizes before sealing it due to climate. Did i listen? Nope, i got it in the mail, went to home depo and bought me some sealant, made the guard real shiney, and it ended up warping on me to wear i couldn’t really use it.

Since then, i try to keep my instruments just right since i now know what could happen to wood.