Guitars and humidity

How are you guys coping with humidity, it’s pretty high in my room 66% so resorted to back to the case
and Humiditrak packs in the case which say they maintain a 45-55% but it’s still at 60% after 4 days using the packs.

60% relative humidity is not high humidity, and 66% is not very high… (At least in Britain, that is - but very high for anyone living in the Sahara, and extremely high for anyone living at the South Pole!) Recommended for human comfort, at least in Britain and I believe at least parts of Europe, maybe universally, is 40-70% RH, ideally in the middle of this range, i.e. 50-60%. In Britain the humidity indoors not uncommonly can range from 30% or lower (bad for health and comfort), to 80 or higher (uncomfortable, bad for health if condensation allows moud growth).

I always understood that for wooden musical instruments the more important thing is stability of temperature and humidity, while avoiding either high or low extremes of humidity, but I would bow to an expert on this.

Slightly off topic. I have had a morning mucus chesty cough and noticed if i ever went abroad I never had this problem. The bedroom en suite had the odd bit of black mould which led me to wonder if it was everyone using-our walk in shower and causing high humidity. I bought a Meaco dehumidifier…now no problem at all.
So to get back on track they are easy to use and you can set the humidity for you and the guitars.

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Thanks for the feedback on humidity - feeling more relaxed about the situation!

Guitars tend to suffer with low humidity, rather than high humidity, but keeping it in a range is the goal. The low humidity shrinks the top laterally, and the bridge, being oriented across the top’s grain, doesn’t shrink as much. This can weaken the bonding of the bridge and/or cause splits in the top. Either can be repaired, but it’s not ideal.

Less significant effects include a change in the action (I have a low action 12-string acoustic that gets a bit buzzy in the winter), and fret ends can become a little prominent as the neck shrinks laterally ever-so-slightly. Each of these fixes itself, but they are indications that the humidity where the guitars are stored might need to be better controlled to stop them drying out too much.

Check out Bob Taylor’s website - he has posted numerous articles and videos on the effects of humidity on acoustic guitars. He certainly recommends keeping the guitar in its case at all times (when not being played, of course).

I don’t keep my acoustics in the cases, but I do detune each string one full turn when I put it down for the day.
When I pick it up a day or two later, one turn each puts it very close to tune, and I tune it before I play it anyway. I put some good locking tuners/machine heads on it, with 18 to 1 gearing, so it tunes very easily and stays there.
I re-check the necks whenever I change the strings and make adjustments if necessary, but they seldom need adjusting. Like one other poster mentioned, most variations are a seasonal thing.

I used to keep my Martin in its case, but I realise I wasn’t playing it, so now just leave it in the Living room corner (away from radiator). Now I am more likely to pick it up and play, even if its just for 2 minutes. If it does warp, which it hasn’t, then I’ll just accept it as one of those things. I had a friend who brought a brand new Rolex precisely matching his 20 year old Rolex so that he could put the old one in a box to keep it pristine - for me what’s the point of owning something hidden in a box. The only person to benefit, is who it gets passed onto when you die.

I have four acoustic guitars, 3 Collings and a Bourgeois, they are out on wall hangers in my study/music room, approx March till end of October. Then they go into their cases and stay in the same room, only takes a few minutes to pull one out but protects them from a variety of evils, humidity, log burner etc. I have sound hole humidifiers in them.

I hadn’t heard of sound hole humidifiers, and I thought to myself, I’m spending enough on my HiFi, and I didn’t expect this Forum to get me spending on other hobbies, but to my delight these humidifiers are quite cheep, so Phew and thanks, I’ll look into those!

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Yes they are really cheap and easy to use, also there are cheap humidity packs that you put in your guitar case, from the likes of D’Addario worth checking out.

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I really haven’t had any issues with movement due to humidity, over the years. I’m not sure why.
But I believe there’s more of a issue with permanent neck damage from having the neck constantly under tension/stress from the tension of the strings when it tune.
If fact, I have an old Yamaha 150 that requires a neck resetting, but due to the inexpensive nature of the guitar, I’m not sure I can be bothered.
From what I’ve read, a Martin that has been at constant tuned string tension, will require a neck reset after around 25-30 years.
For me, that’s and issue. But maybe that’s because I’m old (er).
Anyway, my guitars all hang on wall hangers, except my smaller Concertina-size that sits on a stand in my living room so that I play it more often. Again … detuned.

I don’t know , but wouldn’t the constant tuning and de-tuning Rock the neck back and forward and do more damage potentially ?

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Nope, not at all. They’re built to take quite a bit of tension, just not constant tension over 20 years.

Because I live in Canada, I have to hang the guitars on an inside wall because of the temp change.
And regarding neck movement; in a normal environment, the neck doesn’t twist or warp, it will usually only move forward or back. And, no matter how it’s stored, it can always move a little from season to season. The hope is that it will move back to where it was, in the season that it was last adjusted.

My son-in-law is a guitar builder and tech, and he checks his guitar, and adjusts the neck if necessary, a couple of times a year. 10 years ago, I would never have thought of checking it more than every 3-4 years.
Live and learn …

Dave

My 40 year-old Fender F65 is still perfect. I’m told it has a laminated top, which is likely more stable. My 15 year-old Larrivee D-09 is still perfect bar a small near-imperceptible split in the top that affects nothing. My 15 year-old Maton Messiah 12-string is still perfect, but does get a bit of fret buzz in mid-winter when humidity is low. Recovers in the spring. I don’t want to raise the action, as it is hard enough to play well as it is. They are all out, 100% of the time, and receive no special treatment.

I referred in post #6 on this thread to the videos Bob Taylor has published about humidity. I still recommend you see what he has to say. I still have three of these Dampit devices, even though I currently only have the one acoustic. To make things easier, here’s a link to one of Bob’ videos.

After watching that, you cant have part 1 without seeing the ending - did the guy get the girl?

Indeed he did.
Of course worst case scenario is you just have to go and but a new guitar, and we all know that no guitarist need much of a reason to go get another one.

Hi Guys A good mix of ideas here, in the end I tried a mix also, I found the Humiditrak packs ok but not as good as i hoped, overall I left my guitar out and sometimes switched rooms. No need to worry in the Uk now until next summer, just open fire smoke and central heating:)

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