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Question about humidity

Ribar

Member
Messages
274
Hello all,

I was just curious about the humidity thing with the acustic guitars. I recreantly purchase a Seagull accustic guitar and I love this guitar to death and I don’t want to have any damage done to it. My understanding is that in winter the humidity can dry out the woods and that is no good for acoustic guitars. I have also read that the guitar case protects against humidity so when I don’t play it I keep it in guitar case, is this true?

I wanted to see what the real deal is and if I should invest in some kind of humidifier. I definitely don’t want to use the one where you put sponge in the guitar and let it sit there, that was just not practical from experience. I was thinking of buying a electric one where I can just turn it on and keep the room at certain humidity.

Ribar
 

drive-south

Member
Messages
2,284
If you just own one acoustic guitar, I'd get a soundhole humidifier and keep the guitar in the case when not playing it. I like John Pearse, but there are other good ones such as the Kaiser or Planet Waves units.

If you want a room humidifier, get an evaporative unit, not an ultrasonic unit. Ultrasonics just throw the moisture into the air, and in many cases it ends up pooled up on the floor. Evaporative humidifiers heat the water enough to make it evaporate before it is expelled from the unit, so it stays in the air and actually humidifies the room and the instruments.

I heat my house with a wood stove, so my basement is bone dry. I run an evaporative humidifier in my guitar room, where I store all of my guitars on hangers and stands. I've been doing this for years and have never had a guitar crack.

Also avoid sudden changes in temp or humidity. If you must take your' guitar out in cold weather, heat up the car first and keep the instrument out of the cold as much as possible. Same goes with summer. Never leave a guitar in a hot car.

drive-south
 

David Collins

Member
Messages
2,246
If you can keep a room in the 45% range with a room humidifier, and keep your guitar in that room, that would be just fine. If not, get something like an Oasis humidifier, and keep it with the guitar in the case when you're not playing it. They're safe, effective, and hold a lot more water for less frequent refills than the sponge type (Lifeguard, Dampit, etc).
 

nmiller

Drowning in lap steels
Messages
7,456
Humidity can do serious damage to an acoustic in a surprisingly short amount of time. Keeping it in a case helps, but if you're in a dry climate (even if it's only dry in winter) you need to keep a humidifier in the case or in the room. Room humidifiers are viable, but only if the room in question can be sealed off from outside air.
 

JRC4558Dude

Member
Messages
5,967
I'd agree with everything stated thus far, except that I feel 45% may be on the low side. 50-55% would be ideal, in my experience.
 
Messages
7,039
If you are concerned about your acoustic, you have to be careful and vigilant about humidity level. Folks will talk about their 1950 Martin that's been everywhere without any humidifier and no cracks, etc. IMO, that's bad advice, and like talking about the 90yo uncle who smokes.

This is from Ryan guitars.....


Dear Friend,
Here is a chart I have made for your reference. If you become familiar with these numbers and are conscientious about proper humidity for your instrument, your guitar will remain in pristine condition through many, many years.

The figures below represent RH (Relative Humidity):

100%; You shouldn’t really be playing your new guitar out in the rain

95%; This is dangerous for your instrument; glue joints are compromising right now and the thin wood plates are highly stressed and buckling due to their swollen condition

90%; This is far too humid for your instrument; the action of the strings is very high; maybe it’s time for some air conditioning for both of you? Bad things are possibly going to start happening to your instrument

85%; Too humid; your wood plates are beginning to swell with the moisture; this isn’t good

80%; A little too humid I think (plus, aren’t you getting uncomfortable?); soundboard movement is starting to affect the action (making it higher over the frets)

75%; Probably getting too humid; if it keeps up you may actually notice the soundboard movement; sort of OK for awhile

70%; OK for awhile but don’t let the guitar get too warm; more wood movement with the soundboard bellying out somewhat perhaps

65%; A little too humid; there might be a small bit of wood movement but don’t panic

60%; Still sort of OK

55%; Not too bad

50%; OK

45%; PERFECT

40%; OK

35%; Time to think about humidifying your guitar; the soundboard is starting to sink in; probably will be OK for a few days so don’t panic (yet!)

30%; It is really time for humidifying your guitar, (a few days might be ok); action starting to get low; maybe you can start to feel the ends of the frets beyond the edge of the fretboard (which has shrunk back due to moisture loss); install the Planet Waves Guitar Humidifier when you are not playing the instrument

25%; Time to be really concerned; time is not on your side; take corrective action now; use the Planet Waves Guitar Humidifier and put the guitar in the case until the dry conditions are over; cracks are planning their assault; frets are hanging over the edge of the fretboard now

20%; Danger Will Robinson!!! You are living on the edge now; huge stresses are building up in the plates of your expensive instrument and; cracks may start to appear at any moment; the soundboard is sunk in and you have string buzzes

15%; Give me a call and we can discuss a time slot for your repair

10%; Now we need more time to fix all those cracks and glue the thing back together

5%; It’s over!
 

Ribar

Member
Messages
274
wow, ok i guess i can buy a portable humidifier and keep it in case at all times, i just didn’t like putting that thing in the guitar hole after i was done playing my guitar. I think i will just invest in a electrical humidifier that monitors the room and keeps it a certain humidity level. Anybody know how much these go for? A digital one would be ideal then i can dial in exact humidity level.

As far as my room and guitars, i keep all my guitars in my room where i have a portable heater that i plug in the wall and it just heats up the room. I don’t know what the humidity level is in the room, as i don’t have nothing to measure it up. But those figures above got me concerned.

As far as those planet wave humidifier how often do you have to put water in those? I was thinking if they last i can just put one in the case and leave it there.
 

gregc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,924
I keep my whole house at 45% using a big, console humidfier in the Winter months. I've never had a humidity problem. In the Summer, when the humidity soars, my central AC keeps the humidity in the 45% range as well.
 

JSeth

Member
Messages
2,453
Ribar - you don't say WHERE you live...

That makes a world of difference in your %RH numbers... my custom acoustic was built in Southern California, fairly near the ocean... I now live in Ft. Bragg, CA., which is near the ocean. Most of the year, I don't have to worry about humidity at all; although the house in which I live has only wood heat (a wood stove in the main living space), just keeping a pot of water on the stove all the time keeps things damp enough.

When I lived in Vermont through a winter, with wood heat, I definitely kept a humidifier in my guitar case and even used a "clip-on" soundhole unit as well. In the storage area of the case, or near the headstock (depending on how dry it was), I'd keep a small plastic container; punch holes in the top and put a damp piece of sponge inside... check it closely for the first while until you ascertain how long it's taking for the sponge to dry - then re-moisten the sponge within that interval... no problems, cheap, easy... especially if you only have one guitar about which to worry...

Take care of that little beauty!!!!

play on...........................................................>

John Seth Sherman
 

Ribar

Member
Messages
274
Ribar - you don't say WHERE you live...

That makes a world of difference in your %RH numbers... my custom acoustic was built in Southern California, fairly near the ocean... I now live in Ft. Bragg, CA., which is near the ocean. Most of the year, I don't have to worry about humidity at all; although the house in which I live has only wood heat (a wood stove in the main living space), just keeping a pot of water on the stove all the time keeps things damp enough.

When I lived in Vermont through a winter, with wood heat, I definitely kept a humidifier in my guitar case and even used a "clip-on" soundhole unit as well. In the storage area of the case, or near the headstock (depending on how dry it was), I'd keep a small plastic container; punch holes in the top and put a damp piece of sponge inside... check it closely for the first while until you ascertain how long it's taking for the sponge to dry - then re-moisten the sponge within that interval... no problems, cheap, easy... especially if you only have one guitar about which to worry...

Take care of that little beauty!!!!

play on...........................................................>

John Seth Sherman
Thanks John, i live in Chicago area, the tamps can drop insanely over night here. Ill keep that in mind.
 

Mwoodbro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
300
Also, I haven't seen it mentioned in this thread yet, pick up a hygrometer. You can get a decent one for $10-$20 or so.
 

Ribar

Member
Messages
274
Sup guys, I figure i give you update. I found a perfect solution. I did a little research, and i came across this product made by Planet Waves, called Humidipak. Its a pouch that comes with a bag that contains some kind of solution in there that keeps the humidity in the 48percent range. The cool this is if its above that it starts sucking the humidity, if its below it start pumping out humidity in the air. And the best part is i dont have to mess with it, just put it in the case and let it sit there.

One thing i didn't like about the old humidifiers is the fact that i had to fill them with water on regular bases. So this is perfect, life span of this is about 2 to 6 months.
 

freedom's door

Senior Member
Messages
11,766
Do they give you extra bags for the pouch when you buy the kit? Or do you just get the initial ones, and have to buy refills when they run out?
 

Ribar

Member
Messages
274
Do they give you extra bags for the pouch when you buy the kit? Or do you just get the initial ones, and have to buy refills when they run out?
You have to buy the refills. You get three bags, one for the headstock and the other two for the guitar sound hole.
 

pattste

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,799
Sup guys, I figure i give you update. I found a perfect solution. I did a little research, and i came across this product made by Planet Waves, called Humidipak. Its a pouch that comes with a bag that contains some kind of solution in there that keeps the humidity in the 48percent range. The cool this is if its above that it starts sucking the humidity, if its below it start pumping out humidity in the air. And the best part is i dont have to mess with it, just put it in the case and let it sit there.

One thing i didn't like about the old humidifiers is the fact that i had to fill them with water on regular bases. So this is perfect, life span of this is about 2 to 6 months.
I also use the new and improved Planet Waves Humidipak. The first set of pouches lasted just short of a month before they had to be replaced. Of course, I live in Montreal, January is the coldest month of the year and the humidity level in my house (electric heating) is around 20%. I have a room humidifier that takes that level up to 30-35% but the Humidipak in the guitar must be working pretty hard nonetheless. Still, I was very disappointed how quickly the pouches had to be replaced. This will turn out to be an expensive solution if I don't supplement it with a sponge in a ziplock bag or something else.
 

Jim Moulton

Member
Messages
2,128
So Far, my guitars' room has been no lower than 45% RH, but when it lowers, I will put my Planet waves guitar humidifier in the soundhole which usually brings it up to where I need it, if not, I will get second humidifier, a ziploc baggy with small holes in it from a hole puncher and put a moist sponge in it, and put it underneath the headstock of my guitar.
A couple of years ago, I almost ruined an Alvarez RD20s by keeping it in a closet where the humidity was 20% RH. I found out about how to fix it from folk at acoustic guitar forum on HGC , I put the Planet waves thingy in, and put the sponge with a holey baggy underneath headstock.
The action had started lowering on it's own and strings were buzzing. After about 5 weeks of doing this, the wood started getting moisturized, and the action popped back where it need to be.
J
 






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