Should I loosen the strings, or not?

I am leaving for a very long trip. My two wood guitars will be staying behind. The question is whether to loosen the strings, or not. I’ve read online articles, some saying you must, and others saying don’t you dare. While I’m gone the inside of my house will be hot, very easily reaching 40c (104f) each day for several months.

And finally, a shout-out to Andy in Australila – I’m on my way to the USA and bringing back a Journey OF 660.

I wouldn’t worry either way. If you feel more comfortable then detune your guitar a bit, but a higher temperature is more likely to cause the strings to get slacker.

Loosening the strings won’t do it any harm either. Remember the guitar was made without any strings on, and so loosening or even removing the strings shouldn’t damage it, although if you do so for longer term storage I would also loosen the truss rod slightly.

Also bear in mind guitars are strung in the factory, held in storage, shipped in containers overseas, held in warehouses, and then displayed in stores. They are, effectively , “in storage” for many weeks, and experience many temperature and climate changes without harm being done.




Awesome. Which colour do you plan to get? Mine’s dark blue

If there is a ton of moisture in the air, I’d detune a step or at least a half. Humidity soaks into the wood fattening the guitar and, therefore, tightening the strings, pitch up. If drying out - like no rain for days - pitch lowers, so no need to de-tune. If you store your guitars in a case, they are less affected by outside environmental changes. Me, I de-tuned a half step, put guitar in its case, then put it in the closet and hope it is insulated enough… Cheers! _R

if you loosen the strings for an extended period the truss rod will take up the slack and bend adversely. so no, don’t do it

Err, no!

The role of the truss rod is to straighten the neck. In normal use, with reduced tension it will make the neck slightly flatter. That is all.

To bring it back into the correct relief, you simply bring the strings back to full tension by tuning it back up.

If slackening the strings was in any way detrimental to your instrument then drop tunings wouldn’t be something people did.

And, as I said, the guitar was built and, probably, stored for a considerable period without any strings at all, and with zero string tension.

Sudden changes to string tension (like cutting all the strings when at full tension) is probably a bad idea, but gradual changes are perfectly fine.




Although it is most likely nothing needs to be done, I would err on the side of loosening a little, like a 1/4 turn of the tuner.

If the environment changed in a way that strings got looser, no problems.

If the environment changed in a way the made them tighter, I suppose it could potentially cause a string to break or put some unnecessary stress on the bridge/soundboard.

If any real damage occurred, it was probably on the edge of happening anyway, eventually, regardless of how you leave the strings.

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Humidity swell the guitar making it arch not flatten.

This is only true if you have an air tight case. Most guitars now come with a gig bag or a soft case with lose or absorb moister at the same rate as the air around them.

If I am storing my acoustics for a long time (over 6 months), I’ll de-tune them a full step and put them in their case with a desiccant pack. It doesn’t hurt, and it MIGHT reduce the bowing of the top near the bridge a bit.

He said fatten, not flatten.


Humidity here is very high all year. While I’m home the guitar is inside where the AC is on about half the day , so I haven’t had any problems with humidity causing problems. Of course, while I’ gone the AC will be off. I do plan to put it into a case with plenty of gel packs.

It you were taking them on the plane loosing strings would matter but since you are leaving guitars at home it is not that relevant. What is relevant though is the temperature and air humidity. Unless you have a guitar cabinet sustaining constant humidity I would recommend putting the instruments into hard case with two way humidifying system inside. Case itself won’t stop humidity from getting in (measured it recently, there is no difference between the room and the humidity inside the case).