Guitars in Cars

Contributed by Todd Farnsworth, Owner of Wood & Wire Guitars & Music

Lots of things are great in cars: the perfect tunes for driving, spare change for tipping baristas, your dog riding shotgun – you get the picture. Heck, most of those things are even fine to leave in there overnight. Sure, probably not your pup, but your music? Spare change? Even your favorite pair of shades. But, your favorite guitar? Definitely not.

In response to Humidity and your Guitar (see last month’s issue), it seemed appropriate to talk about whether or not you should leave your guitar(s) in your car (and the duration, if so). Realistically, this should be a short article, because the answer is short: leave them in there for as long as you'd like to be left in there (even with a coat in winter, and without in summer).

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To make a short story long, winter is harsh enough on your instruments. Why would you leave your precious baby in the car? Things shrink up, cracks happen (both superficially and the wood itself), glue joints become brittle and likely to pop. Not to mention the ever-present possibility of theft.

Summer in a car is no better on your guitar. Sure, we like the warmth, but just like you wouldn't leave a human baby in the car, you shouldn't leave your stringed baby either. Heat is to glue; what Kryptonite is to Superman. Think about all those glue joints: bracing, bridges, fretboard, laminates...the list goes on. And theft would seem even more likely in summer.

The truth is we're probably all guilty of leaving them in the car at some point. Perhaps it was after a late-night gig and you just don't have it in you to deal with it. Maybe you had one too many and passed out before taking them out. Whatever the reason, it gets easier each time, and every time it's damaging your instrument. And all of this certainly applies to other instruments.

I've said it before – I repair guitars for a living, so by all means, neglect your one true love. It's how I pay my bills and keep my shop doors open to the Palmer community. Just don't be surprised when you run into trouble with your guitar in cars.