I have a quick question. I know heat can cause warping of the wood in your guitar and such, but how much damage can cold do?

I'm really fond of playing acoustic on my porch swing outside at night, but it can get a bit cold.
I live in Arizona, where cold is usually not an issue. (tonight was about 45 Farhenhiet)

My real concern is that I had my guitar out there, and then brought it inside, where its about 71 degrees. Is that too drastic of a temperature change for my guitar to handle?

Also, can it ever be too cold for a guitar? (not that it'll ever be too cold in Phoenix, but just a general question)
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No I live in Kansas. My guitar is in and out of freezing to warm weather all the time. It's the exposure time that hurts it not the change in temperature...I think. I have no idea. Sorry.

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i know that if u leave it out in like 20degre weather then bring it in to about 70 itll **** up the paint job...i think thats it tho
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I live in Southern Canada and it gets pretty damn cold here.. I've left my guitar in pretty cold temperatures but so far nothing terrible has happened so I assume it'll take a lot of cold to do damage.. unless its absolutely shocking to the instrument
I broke my G string
If you leave your instrument in cold temperatures for an extended period of time the neck has a tendency to warp quite badly, also if you move it from a warm temp to a cold temp or vice versa and play it right away you may warp the soundboard and the glue holding the bridge on may let go. If you play on your porch swing and bring it right inside, it shouldn't pose too much of a problem. Its more a question of exposure time. Hope that helps.
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. Youre dry heat in Arizona would worry me more than catching a chill in the evening. Outside all night ,keep an eye on condensation when you take it inside. Also let youre case get cool also and let them warm up slowly when you come inside.
Yeah my neck on my guitar warped pretty horribly when I left it outside for 3 days in my truck during the cold...
The main thing that can cause problems is quick temperature changes. Extended cold is not good, of course, maybe not as bad as high heat but can cause warping. Quick temperature changes can crack the finish. To be on the safe side I would bring the case outside with me, put it in the case and let it warm to room temperature slowly.

Other than that, sitting outside on the porch shouldn't cause much trouble unless it's seriously humid. I played my Takamine on the front porch almost every day for 2 1/2 years except in cold weather, no problems but I made sure to keep it inside in really cold or really humid weather. In cold weather I can't play much because it's too rough on my fingers, they get cold really fast and it's painful to play, so I don't play outside in cold weather much.

I've seen guitars that were taken out of the case in a warm room immediately after coming out of a trailer after several hours in freezing weather, the finish cracks and looks like a dry lake bed. It's not too common, but it happens. Going from really hot to cold does the same. But we're talking extreme temperature changes, 20 or 30 to 80 or so, you probably won't be sitting on the porch playing if it's cold enough to damage the finish when you walk inside...if you're worried about it, take the case outside with you.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
I think the temperatures/humidity can do some damage on the guitar if they are really extreme circumstances and for a long time!
Instant temperature changes can and will crack an acoustic guitar. Just think of how it feels for you to go outside into the cold from the warmth of a house. Cold will cause the wood to try to shrink fast, and some parts won't be able to as fast as others, then bad things can happen. It's always best to try to allow the temperature of the guitar to change gradually. 45 degrees in Az. isn't so bad, but up here in Minnesota it's substantially colder, and I never, ever, bring my acoustic outside unless it's in it's case, and then it's straight into my pre-warmed up car. It doesn't take a long time for these things to happen either. It could be a matter of minutes. If you value your guitar, just be careful with it and don't subject it to extremes.
On the flipside to this coin, you most certainly can allow an acoustic to get cold, even freezing, but certain measures need to be taken so that it survives the change. Loosen the strings for starters. No tension on the neck will allow it to flex as it needs instead of against constant string tension. Then allow it to make that drastic temp change slowly. And I'm referring to storage/traveling here, not playing it outside in sub-freezing temps.
yes.... shock temperatures can .. it appears to be the answer from this site,,

heres the link
Caring For Your Guitar / Bass / Mandolin

Temperature, Humidity and Environment Lack of knowledge (or concern) for an instruments environment certainly keeps me knee deep in repairs and should be taken seriously if you would like to preserve your instrument cosmetically and structurally.

Damage done to an instrument as a result of too little, or too much, humidity is not covered by the manufacturers warranty. Cracks resulting from a lack of humidity are not due to a manufacturing defect but are considered neglect and educating yourself could save you some heartaches...and pocket change.


Hot Temperatures Do not leave your instrument in a hot car, direct sunlight, anywhere near a woodstove, heater, an attic or other area where temperatures are high.

As you may realize heat is a popular tool used to disassemble glue joints. Unfortunately, that means an instrument left in a hot environment can begin to disassemble itself.

Excessive heat can soften glue joints and allow things to slide around. One of the most common predicaments I see on flattop guitars as a result of excessive heat is a sliding bridge. Once heated the bridge can lift or actually begin to slide towards the soundhole, scrunching the paint as it slides and twisting the bridge pins into a crooked shape. And while this is easily spotted there are other areas of the instrument that can be adversely affected as well. Frets, neck joints, braces and literally anywhere glue is used can be affected in a way that is difficult to reverse.

Heat allowed the bridge on this guitar to slide forward and damage the finish.

Cold Temperatures Finish checking and cracks can form as a result of temperature shock. Taking a cold instrument and introducing it to a warm environment suddenly can cause the finish to craze or check.
When instruments are shipped or transported during the winter it is highly advisable to let the instrument slowly warm up to room temperature before removing it from the shipping carton or case.
Generally, finish checking is a result of sudden severe changes in temperature.


Low Humidity Whether it's due to a lack of knowledge or a lack of concern many have ignored the advice and comments made by luthiers to humidify their instrument in the dry season. (45-50% is usually the target.)

Flat top guitars have a slight radius or "arch" to them, when they begin to dry out they flatten. In this picture the instrument had dried out to the point of becoming concave, it also developed a nice top crack as a result.

More on top cracks caused by dryness

HOW DRY I AM.........♪

Symptoms of dryness: These are the symptoms I think a consumer is most likely to observe...

* Top grain prominent - This resembles a washboard in my mind. These are raised lines in the top which are noticeable to the touch. The soft wood between the darker grain lines has lost it's moisture and the grain now stands prominent. Warning: once this becomes severe cracks are usually imminent. Take heed, this may be your last chance to avoid cracks.

* Sharp fret ends -The fingerboard has shrunk due to the loss of moisture but obviously the metal fret wire does not. The frets are now wider than the fingerboard and the sharp ends can become apparent. yow! This is particularly noticeable on unbound fingerboards.

* Action has dropped - The top has begun to flatten out as it looses moisture and the action is lowered as a result. The fingerboard extension (portion of the fingerboard which is glued directly to the top) may also sink a bit causing a bend in the area where the neck and body join.

* Top is concave - Yes, after dead flat comes concave. If you've gotten to this point without a crack you are very lucky.

* Top cracks - After a fair amount of moisture loss the top begins to flatten, the soft grain begins to shrink and eventually the pull is so great that a crack forms in line with the grain.
If left unattended these cracks can spread open and create even more costly and highly visible repairs.
Any large amount extremes in anything will be bad for any object. Ever. hahaha.
Last edited by captivate at Feb 16, 2008,
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Any large amount extremes in anything will be bad for any object. Ever. hahaha.

What. The. ?
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What. The. ?

Essentially he's saying "Everything in moderation." My mother used to say this when I was little.
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My instructor is a custom guitar builder and when I got my custom guitar from him, the biggest thing he warned about was quick temperature changes. He said if you leave it in your car overnight or something, which he also didn't recommend... he said the best thing to do is to keep it in its case and let it heat up slowly over 3 or 4 hours.

Basically, wood expands when it gets warmer, everybody knows this. And, wood does not conduct heat very well. So what happens is that the outside of your neck or something can start expanding due to warming up, but the inside is still cold. This is why things warp due to temperature changes. Letting it slowly warm up doesn't have that extreme temperature and expansion rate difference between the inner and outer wood.
The key to all things in life is moderation. Guitars are no exception when it comes to temperature.

Heres some examples...

eating - eat too much after being starved for a long time can kill you. it happened in WWII to POWs.

music - too much of anything makes a musical group sound like crap.

sunlight - too much sunlight can cause cancer, but the right amount will help you absorb nutrients from food more efficiently.

the key to guitar care is to let things work out gradually. moderation works wonders.
The answer is ACCLIMATIZATION fellas....go consult the Mirriam Webster......
I have a question. I keep my acoustic guitar all day in around 35 to 40 degree celcius. And in night I keep my guitar in around 18 to 24 degree celcius ( air conditioned). I have the Fender CD60. Is this range of temperatures bad for my guitar. Or I should store my guitar in a contant room temperature. Please help.
If you have a hardshell case for your guitar, bring your case outside with you when you play outside and put the guitar the cold case before you bring it inside. Once it's inside, allow the guitar to warm up slowly in the case for awhile before getting it out again. This one little thing will go a long, long way to protect your guitar from temperature shock.
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