Care & maintenance

Temperature and humidity
Your guitar is made from thin woods. The construction of a Selmer style guitar is straight forward but also relatively delicate. The top of the guitar is supported by 5 parallel soundbraces, two braces that reinforce the area around the soundhole, and two small braces to support the bridge. A construction that is easily affected by temperature and humidity if not properly taken care of.

In my workshop the temperature and humidity are kept at a constant 55% humidity and a temperature of 19 degrees Celsius.
If the temperature or humidity in your environment differs a lot from these ideal conditions, your guitar can show a reaction.

Your guitar can respond to humidity and temperature changes, or combination of both. This is what you should be aware of.

Temperature raise / humidity drop
This can easily happen if you place your guitar directly beside a heather or in a regulary heated room. The humidity around your guitar will drop much faster than it would naturally. The moisture level in the wood is forced down in a hurry. This causes certain parts of the guitar to shrink faster than others, causing cracks and open joints. When you bring your guitar in its case from cold/freezing outside temperatures inside a heated room, I advice you to gradually let it  warm to room temperature while it is in its case. This allows the guitar to slowly acclimate to the room temperature, thus decreasing the possibility of the wood and finish to crack.

Temperature drop
A rapid change in temperature or exposure to cold can cause small cracks in the lacquer. This can happen for instance when you take your guitar form indoors to outside, or vise versa.

Humidity raise
As humidity increases, the moisture content of the wood goes up rapidly, causing it to expand and swell. This can also cause cracks and opens up joints. A gradual increase in humidity won’t generally do permanent damage to your instrument.

What to do !
The fluctiations in temperature and humidity affects every wooden instrument. You should try to keep the environment of your guitar as stable as possible. Avoid extreme temperature changes. Keep your guitar preferably in your hard shell case. In this way temperature and humidity will have less effect on the guitar. When the humidity in your surroundings are generally low I advice you to use a humidifier. There are types especially made for guitars.

I recommend to monitor the relative humidity and temperature in your environment and the use of a humidifier

  • Try to keep the temperature moderate and keep the guitar between 40-60% humidity.
  • Keep your guitar in a proper case
  • Keep your guitar clean
  • Do not shock your guitar or subject it to extremes! If you are out in the snow, and enter a warm house or club, do not open the case until the guitar inside has slowly come up to temperature.
  • Do not leave your guitar in the trunk of your car! (it will damage your guitar eventually)
  • If you don’t know what you are doing with the truss rod, don’t experiment with it. Leave this to a luthier.
  • Don’t tune it above pitch. Electronic tuners are inexpensive and reliable.
  • If traveling by airplane, be very careful. Loosen all the strings on your guitar and use the best fitting, best constructed case you can find.
  • Play it as much as you can to develop tone.

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