Will Water Ruin a Guitar?

Too many movies have rock and roll scenes where the guitarist has the time of his life in the rain. While this may be cool to watch, is it actually a practical thing to do? Read on to learn how water affects your guitar!

Water and moisture can ruin your guitar’s body, joints, and electronic parts. Water damage to guitars is irreparable. Deformation may happen because of the absorption of moisture by the wood. The more water it takes in, the worse it will bend and swell. It also weakens the wood, so it will become easier to break.

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Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Most new guitar users aren’t familiar with water and how it can ruin their guitars. This article will help you learn why and how water can damage your guitar’s internal and external parts. You’ll also find helpful tips for protecting your guitar from possible water damage. 

3 Ways Water Can Ruin Your Guitars

All types of guitars are prone to water damage. Some may be more sensitive to it than others, but no guitar can be played in the rain as people do in the movies.

If you keep your guitar maintained, it could last you years. However, it’s as good as gone if it is exposed to moisture or water since water damage in guitars is irreparable. 

Many things can go wrong with a guitar after water exposure, but the general damage you will observe will be the same as others. 

The three biggest problems caused by moisture or water are:

1. Body Damage

The body and neck of your guitar can become deformed because of water or constant exposure to moisture. 

The extent of damage will depend on the amount of water it came in contact with and the type of guitar. While water is terrible for both acoustic and electric guitars, the former kind will be impaired worse. Acoustic guitars depend on their shape to produce their sounds, so they won’t be the same again.  

The deformation happens because of moisture or water being absorbed by the wood. The more water it takes in, the worse it will bend and swell. It also weakens the wood, so it will become easier to break or split the wooden parts. 

None of these damages can be repaired easily, so it’s better to buy a new guitar in such a case. 

2. Joint Separation

All components of a guitar are held together by glue. While water won’t necessarily break down the glue itself, the movement of the parts and swelling of the wood will make it harder for the guitar to hold its shape. As the shape changes, there is more stress on the glued joints, eventually separating. 

If your guitar comes apart, you may think regluing things will bring it back to normal, but in reality, putting it back together will not take it to its original look or shape. You could ask a professional if the damage is repairable, but since its cause is the wood of the guitar deforming, it is doubtful that it could be fixed.

3. Ruined Electronic Components

The electrical parts of your guitar are relatively safe if the water stays outside the guitar. However, if it traveled inside, you may also have to get the electric components checked. If there are problems with the glue or wood of the guitar, as mentioned above, then electronic components are more likely to be displaced inside.

The biggest risk of electronic components is actually to you. You could get electrocuted using a wet electric guitar and connected to a live amplifier. That is because there is now a live current flowing through the guitar, and the human body is a great conductor. So you should avoid plugging in your guitar if you’re suspicious about it having water inside.

How to Protect Your Guitar From Water?

You can’t always ensure that your guitar will be out of harm’s way. Many things you don’t anticipate can go wrong, and you’ll beat yourself up about them. 

To be careful, here are a few tips to help protect your guitar from water:

Sr NoTipExplanation
1Use a guitar caseOne of the best solutions for most guitar risks. The guitar case will keep moisture and water out, saving your guitar from rain or water spills.
2Keep silica gel or bamboo charcoalThese are moisture absorbent packets that keep areas dry. You can put a few packets inside your guitar case to be safe from any moisture that may have seeped inside.
3Invest in a dehumidifierDehumidifiers are best to keep in a room with your guitars. They take moisture from the air and keep the air dry. 
4Consider water-proofing your guitarCommonly done by professionals, getting your guitar water-proofed will keep it safe from accidental spills, environmental moisture, and rain.
5Have absorbent towels on handAlways have fast absorbent towels with you to wipe down your guitar. This is useful for sweat, water, drinks, and other spills. 

FAQs

Q. What Happens When Your Acoustic Guitar Gets Wet?

Acoustic guitars are vulnerable to water because their sound depends on their shape. Water deforms the guitar, which makes it sound dull and flat. If this happens, you’ll have to replace it.

Q. Can a Water-Damaged Guitar Get Fixed?

No, generally, it can’t be fixed. However, you could check with an instrument shop for fixes if it is minor damage.

Q. Will Water-Proofing Help Your Guitar Last Longer?

Yes. If you water-proof your guitar, it will be safe from all possible water damage. However, that shouldn’t encourage you to expose it to water. 

Final Thoughts

Water will ruin your guitar, so you should be careful about it. Most damage happens to the guitar’s wood, which can impact other aspects. Since a guitar can be quite an investment, you should be mindful of how and where you use your guitar. Always take precautions and don’t forget to have fun!

Sources

https://fretfolks.com/guitars-wet/#:~:text=Guitars%20exposed%20to%20water%20
https://www.quora.com/What-happens-when-a-guitar-gets-wet
https://whoatwherewhy.com/can-water-damage-a-guitar-2/
https://www.guitartricks.com/blog/Weatherproofing-Your-Guitar

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