Tips for Triaging and Repairing Flood Damaged Instruments

Flooding from Hurricane Harvey


Many of you know that in the wake of severe flooding in Nashville - we worked with members from Lynyrd Skynyrd to repair and restore flood-damaged instruments. We also helped Rich Robinson save his prized Gibson ES-335 from damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. 

For those of you now being affected by the flooding from Hurricane Harvey, in Texas, Louisiana, and other states as the storm's remnants head north, we've got some tips for quickly triaging and getting your guitars handled so that the damage may be mitigated or lessened. 

Caveat emptor - this is just advice based on procedures we developed - your mileage my vary. If you have a guitar or bass that has been damaged by flood waters, we'd be glad to discuss getting it into our shop for service. Inquire through email at, or, or by calling us at 859-737-5300.


Guitar Flood Triage

Care for Guitars:

  • First, remove the strings.
  • If the truss rod is not removable, loosen truss rod ½ turn, add a couple of drops of penetrating oil on the threads, then tighten ¼ turn. On vintage Fender or Gibson guitars where the truss rod can be removed, remove the truss rod lug. Oil the threads then re-install snug but not tight.  You want to make sure threads are lubed so the truss rod does not rust in place. 
  • Remove all parts from body including hardware and electronics. Wood will try to move and solid items like screws & tuners will not let it move.  This can cause cracking of the wood, as well as cause rust staining in the wood.
  • For bolt-on instruments, remove the neck.
  • Take all hardware and place it in bags filled with uncooked rice, and leave it until you are ready to re-assemble.
  • All electronic parts such as pots and switches should be cleaned with a quality electronics cleaner, and then stored in uncooked rice as well.
  • Air-drying of the wood is best after parts have been hand dried inside and out. Keeping guitars in a small room with a dehumidifier can also help.
  • Do not try to use any cleaners on the finish or hardware of the guitar until it is properly dried and stabilized. 
  • Do not try to tape down loose binding or wood coming un-glued as it may damage fragile finish loosened by water.
  • Get the guitar to a qualified repair shop as soon as possible. 


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