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Low humidity- am I overreacting?

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
39,541
I haven't had good results with regular humidifiers.
why not?

is it that they run out too fast and it's a pain to keep up with refilling them constantly?

(here in southeast VA we get all four seasons; it's damp in summer and dry in winter so wintertime we're having to deal with it too, i assume not as bad as actual desert environment)
 

Tone chader

Senior Member
Messages
927
why not?

is it that they run out too fast and it's a pain to keep up with refilling them constantly?

(here in southeast VA we get all four seasons; it's damp in summer and dry in winter so wintertime we're having to deal with it too, i assume not as bad as actual desert environment)
The regular humidifiers don't provide enough humidification in my experience. Plus the sound hole unit for the humidipak has been very reliable in my years of experience with them.
 

Funky Chicken

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,411
I'm in central North Carolina. I don't bother humidifying individual instruments. I'm fortunate that my music space is a daylight basement that doesn't require a whole lot of HVAC use. I keep 75% of my instruments out all year-Rickenbackers and Set Necks stay cased when not in use. I run a dehumidifier in summer and a room humidifier in winter. I try to keep things below 55% in summer and above 40% in winter. I do monitor it with a hygrometer.
The basement is on its own HVAC zone so I have thought about adding humidification to it. The problem there is that I run the system so infrequently that I don't think I would get the results I get from my current method.
 

Jimbo99

Senior Member
Messages
609
AC controlled environment is your best bet to control humidity. I live in humid FL , but the enemy for me is the other extreme of air that is so humid you need gills to breathe at times. Anyway, the HVAC system keeps it between 45-58 at the extremes indoors. So the range of 45-55 is not an issue for me. Summers 55-58% RH, winters it can fluctuate 45-55 as those months pass. Very rare is it 40-44%, but that single day isn't a problem as long as it's a 24 hour period. Almost Halloween and it's 55% right now indoors. For my acoustic, 2011 Applause AE128, any humidity changes seem to be more about neck relief and action height than it is about the sound board deck. So a slight truss rod turn +/- to compensate usually takes care of the 2x a year adjustment it would need.
 
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BEACHBUM

Member
Messages
3,292
Over the last 50+ years of humidification neglect I've only had one top crack and that was due to a rapid temperature change when my A/C went out and the temperature in my house went from 75 degrees to 110 within a few hours. I also think a lot depends on how the guitars are constructed the assumption being that heavier built acoustics will hold up better than more fragile lite weight acoustics.
 

RCM78

Member
Messages
6,175
It's been extra dry out here, with the heat and the fires and the air conditioning. I know that 45-55% humidity is ideal for happy guitars, but it's been below that here, often changing suddenly and starting that way for sustained periods of time. It's generally in the low 40s, but dips into the mid to high 30s depending on the time of day and the situation.

As such, I've been leaving my guitars in their cases, avoiding the nicer ones like the acoustics and archtops altogether and only trotting out the cheaper or more durable ones for the time being, like the solid bodies. Am I overreacting? No real issues yet, aside from a little tuning weirdness here and there, but I'm trying to keep it that way.
You’re over reacting.
 

mysterious1s

Member
Messages
1,693
First of all, it doesn't matter what the OUTDOOR humidity level is, only what your rh% is, indoors... central heating and air conditioning can cause wild discrepancies between indoors and outdoors.

That said, 35-40%rh is not anything to worry about, not at all... as someone replied, solid wood guitars are not the fragile things that many want to think they are...

I only have hand-built acoustics. I don't really worry about humidity unless and until it gets down in the low30's into the 20's.. then I'll case them and humidify them, but normally, they are out on stands in my little home.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't pay attention to what the humidity is in your home/locale; it's that whole "Chicken Little" mentality that is over the top. Get yourself a hygrometer (or two) and place them where your guitars are... ~$10 at most stores, not EXACT instruments, but they'll give you a good ball park reading.

Most of all - PLAY THOSE GUITARS!!!

THIS!!
 

Bluestar

Double Platinum Member
Messages
674
It's been extra dry out here, with the heat and the fires and the air conditioning. I know that 45-55% humidity is ideal for happy guitars, but it's been below that here, often changing suddenly and starting that way for sustained periods of time. It's generally in the low 40s, but dips into the mid to high 30s depending on the time of day and the situation.

As such, I've been leaving my guitars in their cases, avoiding the nicer ones like the acoustics and archtops altogether and only trotting out the cheaper or more durable ones for the time being, like the solid bodies. Am I overreacting? No real issues yet, aside from a little tuning weirdness here and there, but I'm trying to keep it that way.
IMO wanting to take of things you care about is a good thing, and taking reasonable steps to take a bit more care (like monitoring your environment and exercising some control over humidity) is also a good thing, and not overreacting. I have a humidifier in my music room, and I'm comfortable with the time and expense I invested getting it set up and using it.
 

Jimbo99

Senior Member
Messages
609
One of these is only $ 3 & change after taxes. I thought about getting the digital version for $ 12 or so and then I thought how stupid that would be to rely on batteries. Basically used the smartphone weather app and went outside with it to verify it's accuracy and once I was satisfied with that, it was really a no brainer. I did my test on site at Home Depot and in the garden section outside to get the outdoor reading. Takes only a few minutes to see the change & compare. What I liked about it most once I got home with it, I was able to determine where to set the HVAC thermostat to get the RH I preferred it to be and optimize that with an energy bill regardless of season.

 

rowdyyates

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,358
As said before, acoustic guitars aren’t that fragile, or shouldn’t be. 40-60% RH long term is fine. For short periods, up to a few days, much higher or lower won’t hurt anything. I’ve done 3 day bluegrass festivals where the humidity never dropped below 80% with no problems. I did a week of outdoor gigs in Colorado when the humidity was super low, and only started to get a little string buzz on the sixth day.
 

Route67

Member
Messages
1,245
I’m in general agreement about not being overly concerned with mid 30% indoor humidity except to say, often guitars will give indications of drying out, for example string buzz and sunken tops, especially on new, unseasoned instruments.

Although outdoor humidity is not an issue here, it’s worth to point out the permanent loss of that pristine scent of a new solid rosewood (for example) backed instrument by overdoing it with soundhole humidifiers, which if not carefully done, can result in a irreversible, dank “off smell” by overhumidifying in typically (already) naturally, humid climates.
 
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Messages
276
Rather than create a whole new thread, hoping to piggyback here.

I just purchased my first solid body, an ‘04 Taylor 310. Room RH is around 25-35 and I have an Oasis humidifier in the Taylor hardcase. This is the first day and I know the case will take time to absorb moisture. Hygrometer reads 37. If it stays at that level do I need a 2nd humidifier or am I good enough?
 

edward

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,037
Rather than create a whole new thread, hoping to piggyback here.

I just purchased my first solid body, an ‘04 Taylor 310. Room RH is around 25-35 and I have an Oasis humidifier in the Taylor hardcase. This is the first day and I know the case will take time to absorb moisture. Hygrometer reads 37. If it stays at that level do I need a 2nd humidifier or am I good enough?
If you keep it cased with the Oasis properly used as you are already doing, yes, you are fine. Don't overthink it, sir! Hygrometers are not not not all that accurate, nor are acoustic guits all that fragile. And yes, your guitar and case will likely "catch up" as the case padding is likely absorbing lots of that moisture in the initial days. Any RH in the range of high 30s-low 50s is fine, particularly since most everyone's hygrometer is likely off anyway! Enjoy your splendid 310 without fear! :D

Edward
 
Messages
2,239
It's been extra dry out here, with the heat and the fires and the air conditioning. I know that 45-55% humidity is ideal for happy guitars, but it's been below that here, often changing suddenly and starting that way for sustained periods of time. It's generally in the low 40s, but dips into the mid to high 30s depending on the time of day and the situation.

As such, I've been leaving my guitars in their cases, avoiding the nicer ones like the acoustics and archtops altogether and only trotting out the cheaper or more durable ones for the time being, like the solid bodies. Am I overreacting? No real issues yet, aside from a little tuning weirdness here and there, but I'm trying to keep it that way.
You are not overreacting. I lost a very nice steel-string to a severe rack caused by low humidity.

Buy some humidipaks. They are cheap insurance.
 

feet

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,857
one thing i love about this place is that we can all agree there is no consensus.
 




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