Can Guitars Get Wet?

can-guitars-get-wet

Playing your guitar in an open space sounds like an exciting experience until it seems like there will be a downpour. And at a pool party, underwater rock and roll seem like the coolest thing ever, and it makes you wonder, ‘can guitars get wet?

Yes, guitars can get wet. Whether it is an acoustic or electric guitar, it can get wet. And if exposed to a large quantity of water, it might be irreparable. Even though you will most likely be worried about your guitar getting dry, you should avoid getting your guitar wet.

Can Electric Guitars Get Wet?

Electric guitars are not made to be waterproof, so, yes, they can get wet. But another thing to worry about is the damage it can cause and if there are other consequences of your electric guitar getting wet.

electric guitar behind the glass with water drops

As you know, water is a good conductor of electricity. If water gets on your electric guitar, you will likely get electrocuted, especially if it is plugged in while the guitar gets wet. So, it is not advisable to play your electric guitar when wet.

But if the water touches only the surface and does not get to the electronics, you can get on with using it after cleaning it with a dry cloth.

Wood and water do not go well together, so your guitar getting wet can also affect the guitar. If it is only a tiny amount of water, it might not have much effect except creating spots on the guitar’s body. The spots might not affect the guitar’s sound, only its aesthetics.

The more the quantity of water, the more the guitar absorbs water. And when your guitar absorbs water, it affects the guitar’s body by causing it to swell, inadvertently affecting its sound.  Many people beaten by the rain with their guitars testified that the sound got worse after the occurrence.

And that is not the end; depending on the material your guitar strings are made of, they might rust after exposing them to lots of moisture.

If your guitar gets wet, the earlier you dry it, the minor damage it will cause. Immediately you notice the guitar is damp, dry it with a clean cloth. If the water is muddy, clean it with clean water, then dry it.

Can Acoustic Guitars Get Wet?

Acoustic guitars are more sensitive to water than electric guitars, and they can get wet and damaged just like other types of guitars.

Acoustic guitars’ sound comes primarily from the guitar’s body, so any damage to the body will mean the same to the sound it produces.

acoustic-guitar-next-to-window-with-rain-drops

Acoustic guitars are made of thinner layers of wood than the ones of electric guitars, so they readily absorb water than the electric guitar. If you do not get rid of the water as quickly, it can cause the guitar to swell, causing the guitar sound to be muffled.

And it can also affect the joints of the guitar by dampening the glue joining the neck to the guitar’s body. Once the joints of the guitar are separated, the guitar is irreparable. 

So, if you have an acoustic guitar, you should be more protective to prevent its exposure to water and high humidity.

Are There Waterproof Guitars?

As of the time when this article is written, there are no waterproof guitars. The best you can get are guitars with waterproof coating. And the best the coating does for your guitar is protecting the body from water spots and reducing how much water the guitar absorbs in high humidity.

However, if you are under a downpour, and the water gets inside the guitar, it will be the same result as your guitar getting wet. Then, you will have to look for a way to dry it quickly to avoid the effects of a damp guitar.

Also, you can get waterproof coverings and cases for your guitar. If you are often outdoors with your guitar, get one of those, and you can be at peace even when it rains. And even when indoors, the covering can protect your guitar against high humidity.

These are the only ways to have a waterproof guitar.

Can High Humidity Affect My Guitar?

The relative humidity right appropriate for a guitar is between 45 to 55% relative humidity. Anything lower or higher can affect the guitar’s functionality.

But that does not mean your guitar exposed to high humidity will immediately affect it; the exposure has to be constant and for an extended period before it can affect your guitar.

When a guitar is consistently exposed to the high humidity of about 80 to 90% for a couple of weeks, it has a similar effect to soaking the guitar in water. The body absorbs the moisture and swells up, causing the metal components to corrode and the joins to separate.

If the humidity is not as high, say, between 60 to 70% relative humidity, it will still have the same effects, just that it might take longer than it would with higher humidity. 

How to Prevent Guitar From Getting Wet?

You might be unable to avoid water altogether, but you can prevent water from getting to your guitar through these methods.

  • Use waterproof coating on its body.
  • Get a waterproof covering for your guitar.
  • Use a room humidifier if you stay in an area with high humidity.

If it does get wet, you can prevent damage to the body and sound by

  • Clean with a dry cloth immediately after you spot water on it.
  • Blow-dry it, especially if the water gets inside the guitar. 
  • Place silica gel inside the guitar.

Conclusion

Do not be deceived by the music videos of your star guitarists in the rain in music videos, or images of people playing the guitar underwater. These are not reality; the reality says your guitar can get wet, and when it does, it can get damaged. So, protect your guitar from water at all costs so as to enjoy it for as long as possible.

Sourav Biswas

Music is my life and I love to play guitar so much. It's been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a musical family, and my parents were always supportive of my passion for music. I am also a freelance writer who has been writing for over 10 years. I have written for both online and offline publications, including Amazon and Medium.

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