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How to store guitars for long periods of time

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by GTA4lifehomie, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. Hello, i'am planning on storing a few bass guitars for the future maybe 4 years down the line, and i was wondering watts the best way to store them?:eyebrow: and how should i store them, where would it be a good place to store them, because ive heard some pretty horrible stories of necks and bodies going snap in the wrong circumstances and i certainly dont want that to happen. Sorry if this tread has been made, i guess its always good to re read stuff to get it into your brain lol.
    pacojas likes this.
  2. NoFiller

    NoFiller Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2016
    Interesting query. Climate controlled, original case, upright and slightly tilted toward the back/bottom of the case would be my guess (so the bass sits in the case like it would in a floor stand). Interested to see other tried & true responses
    Big Shrek, TolerancEJ and Bob_Ross like this.
  3. Some of my basses/guitars sit in their cases for 4 years without that intention. They typically need a setup and new strings after sitting that long, but no horror stories. Most of my cases are upright. A couple lay flat. If they are laying flat, I make sure to either put nothing on top the case, or if I do, I make sure the weight is supported by the sides of the case, and not by the thin top over the neck.
    Big Shrek likes this.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    New York
    I have basses that I've not seen in 7 years now.. they are in their cases in upright position down tuned half step in a closet at room temperature. who knows how they're doing!
  5. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    LOL! Tell me about it! :)
    Actually, all my basses see fairly regular use, but three of my guitars haven't come out of their cases in the 4 years, 3 months since I moved to my current apartment. I opened the case on one of them just the other day because I'd forgotten what else was stored in the case, and while I was looking at it the G string spontaneously snapped! I suppose that doesn't bode well...but I just shook my head, closed the case, and parked it back in the closet, probably for another 4 years.
    pacojas, PeterH and ReggieRochester like this.
  6. Chicken Steve

    Chicken Steve

    Apr 1, 2014
    Actually the bass i'm pictured with spend a few years in a barn, and looked it....:eek:

    Took a while to bring it back

  7. dxb


    Dec 25, 2016
    Keep them in a house or a climate controlled storage unit. Constant room temperature and around 40-45% humidity are ideal. Hard cases stood upright on their ends work well, but laying down is okay if necessary. If there's a chance of a water leak or flooding, raise them up off the floor a bit. I'd say keep the strings on but down-tune a step.
  8. drums1977


    Mar 31, 2008
    The official, recommended procedure by the United Nations to store string instruments such as electric guitars and basses for periods of time longer than 1 month would be detaching all wooden parts, hardware and electronics and storing them in a plastic bag filled with a mixture of lard and Greek yogurt (40%-60%), then closing the bag and hanging it in a humidity controlled closet. The bag must be opened and its contents stirred once every six months.
    Rat Blitz, Mark76, Ewo and 3 others like this.
  9. turbo2256b


    Jan 4, 2011
    Had my org sting ray in case unused for 7 or so years. Pulled it out a few days ago took 2 min to tune it dead nuts on open string and 12 fret. battery still worked but installed a new one as it was weak
    MYLOWFREQ likes this.
  10. BIGEJ2

    BIGEJ2 Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2009
    Happy Valley, PA
    EDIT: From Fender’s website.

    Case Closed: Storage Tips to Save Your Guitars

    If you have one guitar or several, it’s worthwhile to know a few basic practical tips about how to store them properly, especially if it’s for a few months or more.

    If you're playing your guitar on a regular basis and want to keep it at arm's reach, using a wall hook or a stand are good ways to go. A wall hook will keep it off the floor while still displaying it to the room through a U-shaped grip that will hold it by the headstock, while a stand supports the guitar by its base.

    And, of course, you can always store your guitar daily in its case, which will keep it perfectly safe and sound.

    1 - Store your guitars in their cases, standing up—not lying down with one case on top of another. When storing several guitars, the cases should look like suits on a rack rather than a giant deck of cards. If standing them up isn’t an option, store your guitars (in their cases) on their sides, with the upper side pointing up.

    2 - Keep the string tension on the neck, but loosen the strings one or two half steps. They don’t need regular tension when in storage, but having no string tension at all can lead to neck bowing problems.

    3 - If possible, store your guitars in a room or a closet nearer to the center of the building rather than near an outside wall. This helps maintain a constant temperature and is especially helpful if you live in an area that experiences climatic extremes. A case humidifier is a good idea during dry winter months.

    4 - Store vibrato-equipped guitars with the arms detached (the lone exception here being Bigsby vibratos, which can be folded back to rest below the top of the bridge, which is the highest point on the guitar).

    The first and most basic rule is to store your guitars in their cases, standing up—not lying down with one case on top of another. When storing several guitars, the cases should look like suits on a rack rather than a giant deck of cards. If standing them up isn’t an option, store your guitars (in their cases) on their sides, with the upper side pointing up.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  11. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    If it is an active bass I would remove the battery as they can develop leeks.
  12. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    The only part I don't like about this is the de-tuning. If you guitar is properly set up, the truss rod is balancing the tension of the strings. If you detune you are upsetting the balance. Tuning down one or two half steps is not a lot, but it still does introduce an imbalance. My recommendation is to store the instrument with the stings up to pitch and the truss rod properly adjusted.
    60bass, Low Commotion, Honch and 11 others like this.
  13. BIGEJ2

    BIGEJ2 Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2009
    Happy Valley, PA
    I’m torn on that too. But it is right from Fender. I feel they know a little more about this than I do.
  14. BassUrges


    Mar 14, 2016
    I stored a bass for 20 years without opening the case, including some attic time, and it played fine. A little rust on some screws and in need of a setup, but no permanent harm.
    Hoochie Coochie Man likes this.
  15. fclefgeoff

    fclefgeoff Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    Eric ER, Rat Blitz, equill and 18 others like this.
  16. CentralCoastBass

    CentralCoastBass Guest

    Feb 4, 2004
    I highly recommend detuning slightly. I’ve seen and repaired plenty of vintage and recently built instruments from sitting with tension on the necks for long periods of time. In the battle of string tension vs. neck, it’s a matter of time and string tension nearly always wins.
    Templar likes this.
  17. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    I agree. They should basically be stored as if they're going to be played the next day, IMO. Checking on them occasionally and keeping them tuned to pitch is the best practice.
  18. lfmn16

    lfmn16 SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv

    I don't get this detuning advice. I don't think being at full tension is more harmful if the bass is sitting than if the bass is being played.
    Honch, RSBBass, Ewo and 1 other person like this.
  19. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    If storing the cases upright I'd be making sure they don't fall. Like a rope across the front or something. I think vibrating out of place over all that time and coming off a high shelf and smacking a hard floor.
    Honch likes this.
  20. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Really. Basses do just fine, at tune, being transported and played at varied temps and humidity. If anyone can explain why they would self-destruct sitting in their case under a more controlled environment, I'd like to hear it.
    Honch and lfmn16 like this.

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