Playing guitar is such an art form for many people, and a lot of artists wonder what the lifespan of an acoustic guitar is. Since guitars are being handled constantly, it’s normal for them to wear out or even break.
So, do acoustic guitars wear out? Yes, they can depending on the way you use your guitar. It also depends on other factors such as environmental factors, storage, and the frequency of playing. If you take proper care of your guitar, with normal maintenance it should last years.
Now, let’s see what the average lifespan of an acoustic guitar is, the factors that affect it, and whether or not an old acoustic guitar sounds better than a new one. Let’s read on!
Can Acoustic Guitars Wear out?
Yes, as discussed above, acoustic guitars might be at risk of wearing out. It could be because of several factors, like temperature conditions, storage and rough usage. Moreover, sometimes certain parts of guitars are more susceptible to getting worn out, such as the strings, frets, and tuning gears.
Routinely changing and providing maintenance on your guitar should extend the life of your acoustic guitars for a few years. I have seen guitars that are decades old and super vintage, but that’s because they were properly taken care of and almost worshiped.
Also, most of the acoustic guitars may only require minor repair work every few years that can definitely make them sound as good as before.
How Long Do Acoustic Guitars Last?
The lifespan of your acoustic guitar depends on the brand and model. For instance, if you have an inexpensive acoustic guitar from a medium-quality brand, it may last for around 5 to 10 years. After that, it may require minor repairs and thus, increase the maintenance costs.
Fender is a great brand and one of the most reliable guitars out there. Fender guitars can last decades if you take care of the correctly, with proper maintenance of course.
Having the best quality and model of an acoustic guitar, can ensure your guitar lasts even a lifetime! Some acoustic guitars have been passed down from generation to generation, since they were take care of and properly maintained.
What Can Affect the Lifespan of an Acoustic Guitar
Most acoustic guitars can last for a lot of years. Yet, there are certain factors that may lessen the lifespan of an acoustic guitar. These factors include:
Temperature and Humidity
Temperature and humidity are the two major factors contributing to the lifespan of an acoustic guitar. It is because if you expose your guitar to extreme heat too often, it can cause the glue to weaken which can further cause damage to your guitar’s bridge. Thus, it may require repairing in order to work properly.
Similarly, humidity can also have an adverse effect on your guitar’s durability. It is also because your guitar is made up of thin wood sheets glued together. So, due to humidity too, the glue may wear out and cause problems.
Not Changing the Strings
Keep in mind that not changing strings regularly may also reduce the lifespan of your acoustic guitar. It is because if you don’t change them regularly, they may pick up on all the dirt, sweat, and oils. This can result in a dull-sounding guitar.
So, it is a healthy habit to get the strings of your acoustic guitar changed if you feel like you have used them too often.
As mentioned earlier, acoustic guitars are made up of thin and delicate wood sheets. So, if you don’t store them properly, they may be exposed to high temperatures as well as humidity.
For instance, if you leave your guitar in a car, for an unhealthy amount of time, it may wear out faster. Thus, potentially damaging your guitar and affecting its lifespan.
Lastly, your usage may also affect the lifespan of an acoustic guitar. The way you use it and handle it may determine the total lifespan. If you’re using it too carelessly and not investing in minor repairs when needed, you may be wearing out your guitar sooner than later.
Do Acoustic Guitars Improve With Age?
Yes, acoustic guitars definitely sound better and improve with age. Now, there’s a scientific reason for this as well. Let’s understand the process.
As you may already know, one of the most important components of the guitar is the soundboard. So, as it is made up of wood, there are some changes with it as time passes by.
For this, you need to understand that the sound of the acoustic guitars gets better as the wood becomes lighter in nature. It is because of a phenomenon known as sound resonance that makes the sound more pronounced and deep.
Now, as guitars age, the wood or timber used for them tends to lose moisture content. Another reasoning is that the ‘hemicellulose’, a type of substance found in the cell wall of wood, may also evaporate. This can contribute to the changes in the weight of the wood as well.
As discussed above, once the wood loses its weight, the guitar’s soundboard becomes more resonant. This is why guitarists say that guitars improve with age.
Another great thing is that they also get better in terms of quality. It is because they become more resistant to temperature or humidity. Thus, surprisingly, an old acoustic guitar is more resistant to wearing out due to environmental factors than a new one.
How Can You Make Your Acoustic Guitar Last Long?
As you now know, acoustic guitars may worn out if they are not taken care of properly. Thus, it becomes necessary to follow some measures that can help in increasing the lifetime of your acoustic guitar.
Let’s see some of these methods.
Keeping It Away From Humidity and Heat
As mentioned above, high humidity and heat may damage your guitar. To give you an idea, most acoustic guitars require a relative humidity of 45-55%. Yet, if this level increases, your guitar might wear out. The same goes for high heat as well.
So, to protect your guitar from these two, make sure you don’t keep your guitar without a cover. Additional measures that you can take may include placing silica gel packets or bamboo charcoal packets in the cover. These will help in absorbing extra moisture.
You can also use a room dehumidifier wherever you are storing a guitar.
Changing Strings Whenever Needed
Secondly, to maintain your acoustic guitar, it is necessary that you change the strings at the right time. There are some obvious signs that can signal to you that your guitar strings need to be changed. For example, if your guitar’s strings used to work melodiously but are often out of tune now, you may want to go get them changed.
Similarly, you might still be able to play but the tune sounds dull rather than refreshing. In this case, too, you need to get them changed. You may also want to look out for any other signs such as string discoloration or stiffness if your strings get too old.
Investing In a Hard Case
Extra protection is always a good idea when it comes to protecting your acoustic guitar! A durable and strong hard case can help in reducing the risks of any accidents that may break your guitar. Additionally, it is also a convenient option if you’re traveling somewhere.
I recommend this Hard Case for your guitar. It offers amazing protection, and it’s also affordable.
Lastly, it may also help in keeping the humidity out, if you pair it up with a good-quality humidifier.
There is no doubt that acoustic guitars may get expensive, especially if they are of a well-known brand. Such guitars barely wear out even after decades!
Yet, if you’re having an inexpensive model, you can make use of the above tips, have regular maintenance when required, and reduce the chances of your guitar wearing out.
Don’t forget to check out my other articles for all your instrument Q&A’s!