Guitars in case, store it horizontally (not flat)?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by rsm, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. rsm

    rsm Member

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    I have too many guitars, want more, none I want to sell...so I'm out of room.

    When I was a kid, several people told me it was best to keep the guitar in the case, and store the case vertically/upright, not flat (e.g., under a bed lying flat), not horizontal (on end, handle/locks up)...I've always kept the guitars upright and never really thought about it until I ran out of space

    At present, I have them upright (vertical), body at the bottom, handle toward the wall, leaning on another wall, stacked like books on a shelf, leaning on each other. This takes up too much space, not to mention having to move several to get at those at the end!

    I have a space that will allow me to store several guitars (in hard cases) horizontally, on edge (not flat, handle/locks up) instead of vertically. Any concerns with this?
     
  2. Tim Plains

    Tim Plains Supporting Member

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    Sounds like you have way too many. :rotflmao

    Personally, I don't buy into this and would like to see proof rather than just opinions of how laying them on their backs is bad. I mean, many guitars have been stored under beds for ages without issue. I think the key is to just check up on them every so often and tune them up.

    What's the harm in laying them flat? Gravity pulling the neck back? First off, cases have neck supports, and second, strings are pulling that neck forward with a greater force.
     
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  3. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Member

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    unless they're made of paper maché, or you're standing them on the headstock, they'll be fine
     
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  4. Oldschool59

    Oldschool59 Member

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    Interesting question, I've asked myself the same thing a while back. I wouldn't think it matters, for the reasons that follow: although a neck has some flex (when adjusting the action or the truss rod, always do so with the guitar on its edge, in playing position, not with the guitar lying flat on its back, as the latter has an measurable effect on the neck deflection), I do not think that the neck is as compliant in the lateral plane (the neck is, most times, wider than it is thick). I think that the geometry of the profile inhibits lateral neck deformation. I also think that a deflection in the lateral plane (provided that the neck surface stays the same) would have no noticeable effects on the playability of the guitar. Also, the guitar case supports (well, most cases do, anyway) the neck, which could also reduce the flex in the lateral plane. In short, I've put my money where my mouth is, and have been storing some relatively expensive guitars this way, with no noticeable effects whatsoever. I hope I'm not wrong ;-)
     
  5. Oldschool59

    Oldschool59 Member

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    Precisely. When adjusting the truss rod, or fine-tuning the action, the recommended practice is to have the guitar on its side, in order to avoid neck flex by gravity. It sounds funny, but it DOES make a measurable difference.
    But you're right, I also believe that the case supports the neck either way, on its side or on its back. I store them lying on their side, since I have young kids running around the house, and they can topple an upstanding case. I also have a few guitars, and simply stacking them one on top of each other, on their cases' backs, is not practical.
     
  6. RockDC

    RockDC Member

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    If they are molded cases it wont matter unless you start stacking them on top of each other.
     
  7. rsm

    rsm Member

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    Thanks! I suppose I will find out; I plan to move the guitars this weekend to make some space
     
  8. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    My guitars have only ever lived in 2 houses (always in their cases).

    At house number 1 they were stored horizontally/flat. They were at that house for about 3 years.

    At house number 2 (current house) they are stored vertically like books in a bookcase. They have been that way for 7 years now.

    I haven't noticed any difference at all between either storage method.
     
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  9. Dr. Tweedbucket

    Dr. Tweedbucket Deluxe model available !!!11

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    I always wondered about this too. I have a few that are flat under the bed and they seem to be happy.

    What about loosening the strings a bit while storing them?
     
  10. rsm

    rsm Member

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    They aren't really in storage, I rotate through them regularly, at least 1-2 times a year usually more. It's a space issue and trying to make some room in the room by moving them to a place where I can store a few of them horizontally (not flat) out of the way and not taking up floor space in the room (I have a modern style house, the closet has a flat "roof" that I can use to store things...I think it was for affect or for displaying objet d'art :)

    Of course, if I make more room I'll probably just buy more guitars and have the same problem again eventually! :confused:

    Guitar GAS is my worst. :oops:
     
  11. splatter

    splatter Supporting Member

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    My guitars are and always have been in the case on its side ( handle facing the ceiling . Never had a problem
     
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  12. TheoDog

    TheoDog Silver Supporting Member

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    Storing guitars "in the playing position" is normal. Vertical, on end is a slightly better use of space.
    Flat is sufficient if stacking is done with care to respect weight of one on top of another.
     
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  13. edro

    edro Member

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    One of my Lesters in particular, when not being played, has pretty much ALWAYS sat in case on floor, handle up, for the past 40+ years... Nothing has changed, have not had to touch the truss rod once...
     
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  14. adorduan

    adorduan Member

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    Measurable?? How far does gravity move a neck?
     
  15. Fishyfishfish

    Fishyfishfish Member

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    Depends on the guitar and precise and quick you want the job done. Not sure the exact amount in MM or SAE. I do the same for intonation (guitar on side as opposed to flat).
     
  16. Oldschool59

    Oldschool59 Member

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    Absolutely. It is measurable. I use the StewMac ruler in thousandths on an inch, and you can easily see the effect of gravity on the space between the bottom of the string and the top of the fret. I can measure it for you, if you're curious. As Fishy said, it does depend on the guitar (wood, geometry, scale length, etc.), but it is measurable.

    From the Stewmac website: With the guitar strung up to pitch and held in the playing position, use your straightedge to evaluate relief. Measuring in the playing position is important because of the effects of gravity: a guitar laying on its back will give different measurements than it does on its side (playing position).

    http://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Onlin...tion_and_Setup/Basic_Set-up_Instructions.html
     
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  17. cvansickle

    cvansickle Supporting Member

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    This is how I keep mine when I'm not playing. They stay in tune almost perfectly too.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    If you're interested, https://www.guitarstorage.com/. Not related, just a 100% satisfied customer.
     
  18. Dashface

    Dashface Member

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    Haven't had to touch the truss rod once? In 40 years? Wow.

    For me, I have my guitars upright like books in a series of closets. Works for me.
     
  19. davess23

    davess23 Member

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    I doubt there'd be a problem either way. Most of my cases aren't flat on top, so stacking them flat doesn't work well. I've got them standing handle up on the floor or leaning against a wall.

    The real challenge for me is keeping the guitar cases away from radiators and other sources of dry heat. Here in New England the humidity in your home can get low enough so it's an issue for solid body electrics as well as acoustics.
     
  20. BlueHeaven

    BlueHeaven Member

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    Eric Johnson insists that they be vertical and facing magnetic north.
     

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