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Can really dry air affect guitar electronics?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by choosebronze, Jan 6, 2020.

  1. choosebronze

    choosebronze TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

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    Well here's something that's new to me, and I feel dumb even asking it... A few months ago we had a week with really dry air. I don't know a humidity percentage to tell you, but we had the kind of nights where you get in bed and see the sheets spark when you move. One of those nights I was playing guitar in the garage. A strat copy I rewired recently was cutting in and out. I could get it to make popping noises when I adjusted the switch. One switch position just wouldn't work at all. I thought it was weird and made a note to inspect it later.

    Yesterday I grabbed the guitar and started playing. Sounds great. Switch and all pots work fine. No pops, clicks, or static when adjusting them. Same setup, same room, same cables.

    So, can really dry air mess with electronics? If so, how? If it's coincidence, I'm at a loss for how everything just came back and works fine now.
     
  2. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Tele-Afflicted

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    I suppose that if you let a guitar sit long enough it might develope oxidation on various contact points, but I have never had any problems personally. And I would think that oxidation would be more likely to occur in a "too humid" atmoshere.
     
  3. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    Seems that electronics would prefer a dryer atmosphere. Maybe the change in humidity is what may have upset things.
     
  4. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    It's always possible the pops you heard were static, as that is a known issue with pickguards. But in general, I haven't experienced or heard about this phenomenon (Michigan winters - long, cold, keeping humidity is a challenge)
     
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  5. Milspec

    Milspec Poster Extraordinaire

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    Interesting question. The selector switch does come with a little factory grease to keep things low friction and the super dry air could pull the moisture from it in theory. It could cause the contacts to drag I suppose and create odd noises. Hard to say, but an interesting topic.
     
  6. kbold

    kbold Friend of Leo's

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    IMO , No.
    Popping was probably pickguard crackle (as mentioned by corliss1).
    Pickguard crackle will be more severe with low humidity.
     
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  7. stnmtthw

    stnmtthw Friend of Leo's

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    I live in New Mexico. This is a year round problem for me, and yes, it's worse during the dry seasons (we do get rain and snow. Really.)

    The easiest solution I've found is to unscrew the pick guard and stuff dryer sheets in the pickup cavities. It sounds weird, but it works.
     
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  8. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Dry air can dry out lubes in pots. Any dust landing on metal surfaces will attract any minimal moisture and bingo.
     
  9. choosebronze

    choosebronze TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

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    Very interesting comments guys, thank you. It doesn't usually get that dry here so this is all new to me. Thank you for all the answers. Heck I'll try the dryer sheet thing if it keeps the guitar working year round!
     
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  10. kbold

    kbold Friend of Leo's

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    Never heard of the dryer sheet thing: I would check what chemicals are in the sheet beforehand.
    I have had success with shielding (and grounding) the back of the pickguard to stop this.
     
  11. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    while the typical guitar contains a passive circuit, where the static discharge, the "zap" ya feel as you touch a door knob, or someone else, or the Kitty's nose. .:D it will not do any harm.. However if you have a guitar with a battery in it, that means there's active electronics, often containing integrated circuits, and they CAN be adversely impacted... so you might wanna be careful.. you may want to discharge any Static buildup you, and your body has acquired by touching something other than the guitar first... then grab the booger and rock on..

    Ron
     
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