Proper care will make sure your guitar continues to look and sound just as beautiful as when you played it for the first time. Thankfully, this can be done in small and manageable steps to keep your instrument in great condition.
As you read our recommendations for humidity & temperature as well as storage, please keep your current and future climates in mind. Many areas in the US, such as our beloved Teton Mountains, have notoriously low relative humidity levels. Care for a guitar purchased in the Nevada Desert will vary from a guitar purchased in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Our recommended guidelines stay the same regardless of your location, but we ask you to adjust your care plan accordingly to help maintain your Teton Guitar in the best condition.
First and foremost in proper care is well-balanced humidity & temperature. When a guitar dries out due to extremely high or low temperatures, it can cause the top of the body to sink and crack. For solid tops, which all of our guitars have, the risk for cracking is even higher. Guitars that aren’t properly humidified can also cause loose bracing inside the instrument, sharp and uncomfortable frets, and warped necks, which can result in too high or low of an action. All of these can drastically harm the playability or sound of your guitar.
Luckily proper climate where you choose to store it will help prevent these issues. Care doesn’t have to be labor-intensive, our recommendations will help keep your guitar in good playing condition whether it’s stored in a case or displayed for all to see.
Try not to expose to extreme temperatures on either spectrum. Avoid storing your guitar in a warm place, like near a window with frequent sunlight, or by a heater. Storing in temperatures of 70-75 degrees is best, but we ask you not pass 60-80 degrees to prevent drying. Should the instrument be exposed to freezing temps you should allow it to warm slowly while still in the case. It is best to let it slowly acclimate than to shock it with sharp temp changes.
Even if you don’t live in a particularly dry place, you still may need a humidifier to protect your guitar from cracking and warping. We recommend keeping your room or case at 40-45% humidity (not exceeding 38%-53%) to keep the wood at its factory moisture content. Measuring humidity with a hygrometer can help you monitor humidity levels and make adjustments if you need to. While some cases or humidifiers also come with a built-in hygrometer, they often can be found for less than $10 if you need to purchase one separately.
High Temp+High Humidity = Bad Combo. This can cause the wood to swell or glue joints to weaken and even open slightly. Remember we give our humidity and temperature parameters because there is such a thing as “too wet”, you don’t want the wood on your solid top to expand and shrink over and over unnecessarily.
Storing in the case with a soundhole humidifier is best when it’s not played. Maintain the guitar+case in a temperature-controlled area (like a room in your house, not a shed or garage). Displaying your Teton Guitar is fine but make sure the room has proper temp/humidity control to keep the guitar in good playing condition. It is also beneficial to loosen strings anytime you expect to store your guitar for an extended period of time to allow proper adjusting.
Avoid bag-checking the guitar case at the airport since cargo holds are not temperature controlled. When traveling by car avoid putting the case in the trunk for this same reason.
Loosen the strings on your guitar when traveling across different elevations or climates to allow the wood to acclimate and breathe without restriction. Keep the guitar at a lower humidity level (40%) while traveling to prevent damage from temperature changes (ex. Swelling from high humidity and high temperatures).
If you are shipping it to be repaired under warranty, send it in a case with a humidifier in it at 40%, with strings loosened for travel. This is for the same reason as stated above, carrier trucks and planes are not always temperature controlled. Shipping within a case will also help prevent damage from carrier mishandling. We recommend you ship it in the case, place the case in a box, and bubblewrap/peanut around the case for maximum safety during shipment.