Is it OK to leave a guitar without strings?

Is it OK to leave a guitar without strings?

Whether you’re a dedicated guitarist or an occasional strummer, there may come a time when you consider leaving your guitar without strings. Perhaps you’re taking a break from playing or need to store it for an extended period. But is it safe for your guitar to go stringless? In this article, we’ll explore the considerations and potential effects of leaving your guitar without strings.

Short-Term vs. Long-Term:

The decision to leave a guitar without strings largely depends on the duration of inactivity:

  1. Short-Term (a few days to a few weeks):
    • If you plan to put your guitar aside for a short period, removing the strings may not be necessary. Guitars can handle brief periods of rest without strings without significant issues.
  2. Long-Term (several months or more):
    • If you anticipate not playing your guitar for several months or longer, it’s advisable to consider the impact on your instrument and whether removing the strings is the best course of action.

Considerations for Leaving a Guitar Without Strings:

  1. Neck Tension:
    • Guitars are designed to withstand the tension created by the strings. When you remove the strings, the neck experiences a reduction in tension. This can lead to changes in the guitar’s neck relief (the curvature of the neck) and might result in a backbow or forward bow.
  2. Truss Rod Adjustment:
    • If you’re planning to store your guitar without strings for an extended period, it’s recommended to loosen the truss rod slightly to compensate for the reduced tension. However, truss rod adjustments should be made carefully and may require professional assistance.
  3. Humidity and Temperature:
    • Ensure your guitar is stored in a stable environment with appropriate humidity and temperature levels. Extreme conditions can negatively affect the wood and overall health of the instrument.
  4. Protecting the Guitar:
    • To prevent dust and potential damage, consider storing your guitar in a padded case or gig bag. This helps shield it from environmental elements and impacts.
  5. String Preservation:
    • If you choose to remove the strings, it’s a good idea to coil and store them separately. This can help preserve the condition of the strings for future use.

Benefits of Leaving Strings On:

  • Leaving strings on your guitar, even during periods of inactivity, helps maintain the neck tension, neck relief, and overall structural integrity of the instrument. This minimizes the risk of warping or damage.


In general, it’s advisable to leave strings on your guitar if you plan to store it for an extended period. However, if you must remove the strings, take precautions to address the reduced tension and protect your instrument from potential harm. Keep in mind that maintaining proper humidity levels and providing a secure storage environment are equally crucial to preserving the long-term health of your guitar.

If you’re uncertain about how to handle your specific guitar and its unique needs, consulting with a professional luthier or guitar technician can provide valuable guidance and ensure the well-being of your instrument during its downtime.

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