A reminder to hydrate your acoustics.

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by Chunkocaster, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Three hours is the fastest I've seen a acoustic come back to normality. It must have just been so dry and combined with the added moisture, plastic over the hole and hot temp to make it sweat the guitar just absorbed it faster than usual. The last time I had a problem was on another acoustic that had a cracked top with a wide gap and a couple of braces had let go. That needed a bowl of water sat inside it for a week to come back together before I could glue the bracing back on and install some cleats over the split in the top. These cheap humidifiers I have I just run under the tap and then shake them off. They all seem to work the same, I like these because there is no dripping etc but whatever holds water and doesn't wet the guitar works as good.

    I had another play on it a few hours ago and it sounds much better now, it was sounding kind of cheap and boxy like a low end starters acoustic. It now sounds fuller and richer like its old self. I've been leaving the dampened humidifier in it when not playing it and will let it take in some more moisture over the next day or two.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
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  2. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I'm using Oasis humidifiers in all of my acoustics and I'm keeping them in their cases.

    oasishumidifiers.com

    It's -25C here right now and the air in the house is bone dry. In the basement, the humidity is 25% and the temp is 25C. Waay too warm and dry for guitars even with a humidifier going.
    I have my guitars in a dedicated 10'x12' room on the main floor with a humidifier going. Even then, it's hard to keep the humidity between 40 and 50 percent.
     
  3. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have a couple more acoustics in cases and they show no signs of any problems. We are averaging between 40% and 60% humidity so the problem was all due to the air conditioner.
    I'd struggle to keep up with maintaining them if it required constant humidification. I guess i'd have to leave them all in cases too with a humidifier and dampen them every month without forgetting.
     
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  4. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I play at least one of the acoustics every day so I'm able to keep track of the amount of distilled water in the Oasis between-the-strings humidifiers.
     
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  5. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

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    My daughter gets nose bleeds when everywhere is too dry. I do laundry each night and hang it over the bannisters to hydrate the house, but northern England is a pretty moist place anyway

    Acoustic lives in a case. Hate to think what really drying out would do to the little fella

    I have another old beater that lives at work with conditioned air. Brace separated and creaks like a haunted floorboard, but I actually quite like it: poor man's resonator
     
  6. Bristlehound

    Bristlehound Friend of Leo's

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    Good call on the humidity... easy to forget.

    I have a strange house in that I live in Wales, which is rightly famous for being a very wet place, and my hygrometer usually sits around 55 - 60%, but I have a real static problem which is usually associated with low humidity. Once, when vacuuming, I got such a static shock that I staggered and had to sit down for a while. I also get static crackles off the pickguard when playing my strat and occasionally zap one of the cats when stroking them!
     
  7. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Indeed! Humidity is quite important to maintaining a "healthy" wood acoustic guitar.

    I had a nice, brand new Martin some years ago that taught me a lesson. I had just moved to the dry desert climate and unknowingly allowed the guitar to get too dry, in the low humidity here. I left if unplayed out of the case for a week or so, and when I did pick it up - it was way out of tune, the fret ends were sticking out from the fretboard, the top had sunk in, and the action was waaay off. Scared the CRAP out of me! Expensive new Martin that I thought I might have ruined.

    What I did was put the guitar in the case, laid a plastic sheet inside the bottom (on the back of the guitar), then took a wash cloth, got it plenty wet, wrung it out, then microwaved it until it was steaming hot, then laid it on the plastic sheet inside the guitar body - making sure it would not drip any water. Then, I covered the sound hole so that the humid moisture from the steamy cloth would release to the wood, inside the body of the guitar, and not escape.

    I refreshed the steamy hot cloth inside the guitar a couple of times over the course of the next couple of days. I also had a couple of hot steamy sponges inside open plastic soap bar containers under the headstock in the case - releasing moisture to the fretboard/neck.

    Then I kept the case closed. Within a few days, the guitar had completely returned to normal.

    Big WHEW!!!! for me. And important lesson learned, without any lasting damage to the guitar.

    Since then, of course, I maintain humidity inside my walk-in guitar closet with a small humidifier running on a timer that operates the humidifier for a few minutes, every couple of hours. All is well if I keep the humidity around 40%, plus or minus 5% or so. And, the acoustics stay in their cases there, with sound hole humidifiers and hygrometers for checking humidity levels.

    I also bought a Rainsong carbon fiber OM acoustic, so I could leave that acoustic out and about wherever, whenever, with no concerns whatsoever about humidity levels.

    Really nice thing is, the Rainsong guitar sounds AWESOME, as well as being impervious to the environment! I sampled a large number of carbon fiber guitars before deciding that the Rainsong sounded the best to my ears, and the OM size was just right.

    Rainsong makes very nice carbon fiber guitars that are absolutely impervious to any weather, humidity level, or temperature that you personally can tolerate. They are not inexpensive, but they're done extremely well and sound awesome.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  8. Chick-N-Picker

    Chick-N-Picker Friend of Leo's

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    Thank you for the reminder. Still need to make sure my Guild is not too dry.
     
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  9. eclecticsynergy

    eclecticsynergy Tele-Afflicted

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    Yep, that's just what mine look like. I got some for my five best acoustics and check them regularly. They work well.

    A bit of humidity is good for electrics too. I started keeping a damp sponge in each case back in the 70s on the advice of a friend went on to be a celebrated NYC guitar repair guru. I've continued it ever since.

    Another habit I cultivated during the 80s was leaving a stick or two of myrrh incense in my cases. I sweat a lot when I play and the wet leather straps were starting to make the cases a little funky.
     
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  10. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    IMG_1248.JPG IMG_3622.JPG IMG_3623.JPG IMG_4373.JPG IMG_4375.JPG IMG_5782.JPG

    I don't have any pictures of sharp fret ends but that is probably the first indicator of problems

    Here is the fix

    IMG_5749.JPG

    IMG_3624.JPG
     
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  11. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    When I see a severely dehydrated guitar I send it away with a couple of my big sponge baggies - one inside the body, one in the headstock area of the case. I tell the owner to bring it back in a month, we'll see if its ready for the repairs and setup. It might take two. I will (sometimes) shim the saddle and I will dress the frets so it is playable, but I don't do any other work until it is stable.

    I consider a dry guitar abuse and its normally not covered under warranty
     
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  12. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Yes , I always hydrate mine... acoustic and electric...
    [​IMG]
     
  13. keithb7

    keithb7 Friend of Leo's

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    I recently purchased a combo gauge. Thermometer and hygrometer. I keep my room at about 20.5 celsius. I had no idea what the relative humidity was until I got the hygrometer. Pretty dry here it seems at about 25%-30% RH. I purchased a humidifier at a local thrift shop and put it to the test. Cost me about $3.00 US funds if I recall. It holds about 1 gallon of water. It'll run about 24 hours on that gallon. Since I can now view the RH, I have had the room up to about 65% when I close the door for a few hours. I can easily regulate the RH by opening the room door various widths. A recent experiment: I checked RH at about 52% before I went to be last night. I shut off the humidifier and closed to door as I exited the room. This morning I woke up to find RH was still at about 46%. Not bad. I will continue to monitor and hydrate around the 50% range. I like my guitars and they will all live in this temperature and humidity controlled room.
     
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  14. aeyeq

    aeyeq TDPRI Member

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    Here on the northern gulf coast we do not worry about the dry air much.

    The only time I had to deal was during my time in New Jersey, a couple of very cold winters and radiators for heat.

    Good practice to keep an eye on it in the dry climes.
     
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  15. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Room humidifier combined with D'Addario Humidipaks in the cases. In addition to the dry winters we have in the N.E. we've got electric heat in the house that contributes to drying things out.
     
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  16. Average_Joe

    Average_Joe Tele-Holic

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    25% humidity in the house right now, highway to the danger zone...

    Humidity-Infographic-502x650.jpg

    feel some fret sprout that wasn't there before, time to water :(
     
  17. loco gringo

    loco gringo Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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  18. Patton

    Patton TDPRI Member Gold Supporter

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    Here in Michigan the humidity over the year fluctuates badly. My favorite acoustic on the stand / writing acoustic was an inexpensive 2002 Seagull S6 I bought new. That neck just became an extension of my hand and damn that cedar topped thing is LOUD! Fast forward to 2017 when I noticed buzzing. Yep, infamous neck bump at about the 14 fret or so. I was pissed off bad! No, I wasn’t hydrating it but still, very disappointed. Couldn’t justify the $ to fix it based on the cost.

    So I spent more than I wanted and bought a Rainsong carbon fiber. That sounds as good or better and no matter when I pull it out it’s almost always in tune. Problem solved......for me.
     
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  19. Stardog75

    Stardog75 Tele-Meister

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    Where does you acoustic live? Wish I had some hot weather.we just had snow here in Seattle. Next year I plan to move to Arizona and need to make sure I take good care of all my little axes
     
  20. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    I put my small 1-gallon humidifier on a timer where you can set any number of times during the day to turn the humidifier on and off. By fine tuning those times, you can keep a small room at a moderate 45% or so (which seems about ideal for acoustic guitars - not high, not low).

    In this way, you keep a fairly level humidity, the humidifier only runs intermittently, and the water lasts MUCH longer. I can get about a week or so from a gallon of water, in my music room walk-in closet, when the desert humidity is around 18% to 25%. I also keep a large open crock full of water beads in the music room and walk-in closet.

    BTW, I highly recommend using distilled water or RevOsmosis water (vs. ordinary tap water) in a humidifier, to keep the humidifier internals/filter from getting really gross over time. You will still need to clean/replace the filter and internals from time to time, but much less often.

    Also, it's a good idea to purchase several different hygrometers and place them in the room. I judge humidity by checking the readings from several of them. Not a great idea to trust the accuracy of a single hygrometer.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
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