Do you care about humidity with respect to your electric guitars?

  • Yes! I keep my electric guitars in a climate controlled environment, just as an acoustic would.

  • Not really. Temperature is the main thing I keep an eye on.

  • I'm not concerned with humidity or temperature. Just play the damn thing.


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Stinger22

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Can it affect wood? Yes. Wood with a sealed urethane finish not to any extent. Do I worry about my others? No. I live on the gulf coast with 50-99 percent humidity mostly on the very high side year round. But my house is tempnis set to 75 degrees and heat pump keeps inside house between 45-65 percent year round which is perfect.
 

David C

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Yes, it matters. Wood expands and contracts with humidity changes. If you have a new digital thermostat it likely has a built in humidistat. Then you can monitor the changes throughout the seasons. Low humidity is not a good thing because dimensions change. It doesn't take much change to impact your guitars sound.
 

Telecaster88

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Fender-type necks made from one single piece of wood are somewhat more prone than laminated necks where opposing forces reduce movement in the finished item.
+
I like all-maple necks. Mixing woods causes the neck to move around more.
Well, that settles it! :)

As an aside, I have two humidifiers that I use when the furnace comes on. One is in the basement family room and one is upstairs in the dining room - where my guitars are most of the time.
Either you are not married, or you have the best wife in the world! ;)
 

andy__d

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Here, summers are humid and things get seriously dry during the cold periods in winter. People don't baby their electric guitars (except maybe for serious collectors' items). Some electrics seem to require seasonal tweaks of the truss rod.
Yup, I found the same since I moved from Colorado to Florida, a couple of my guitars now need a little tweak as the seasons change - our nighttime temps just dropped into the 60s, and I was just thinking yesterday that the action on one of my teles had noticeably changed, and it‘s probably time for a “seasonal tweak”.
 

Jukers

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I take a slightly different approach to temp and humidity. Let's start by looking at an old thermostat.

Inside an old thermostat there's a "spring" looking thing that consists of two different types of metal that are layered together in a coil shape. When the temp changes, since the expansion and contraction rates of the dissimilar metals are different, then the "spring" thing rotates and turns a contacts with Mercury in it in order to make a connection.

So that's my longer winded way of saying, necks with two dissimilar woods probably warp due to temp and humidity more than necks made out of one piece of wood because they are layered together.

If you have a one piece maple neck, temp probably won't effect it nearly as much as a rosewood fingerboard neck, especially a slab rosewood. However, IF humidity changes inside that maple neck, the grain will dictate how it moves. A quarter sawn neck will warp less than a flat sawn neck.

Acoustics have a LOT more dissimilar woods, joints and also the bodies are usually not coated inside. That's a ton of surface area for humidity to effect. Electrics, not so much.

That's my $.02.
 

Matthias

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My music room stays between about 55-65% all year. Other rooms are more variable and I would not store guitars there. I would ideally like to get some better ventilation and try for more 50% throughout.
 

hemingway

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A friend and I once left some guitars in a basement room at work for a few months. They were in gig bags, one electric, one acoustic.

I suspect it was really dry in there. When we collected them, both had the strings flat to the fretboards.

They were beyond truss rod adjustments. I had to put my acoustic in its case with one of those wet sponges for a few months (although I suspect that just leaving it in my living room for a while would have done the job, too). And my friend had to eventually get taller screws for his bridge saddles.

Yes, this stuff matters.
 

Brent Hutto

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We just run Vick's Vaporizers, one in each end of the house, during the coldest/driest season December-March. Unless it's a severe cold spell for a few days, that keeps the house in a range where I worry not at all about electric guitars sitting out all winter.

It's also in a range where I don't worry about my acoustic instruments (guitar and mandolin) being out for a few hours while I'm playing but I'll store them in their cases with Humidipacks overnight or if they aren't being played.

We usually have a 3-4 day spell about twice each winter where even with the Vaporizers the RH gets under 30% but otherwise it's pretty manageable in our climate.
 

Smitty088

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Been thinking about this as of late...

I've been keeping an eye on my RH meters lately, seeing that the % keeps steadily dropping with the change in weather. I used to make a point to use a dehumidifier in order to keep RH between 45-50%, but I'm not so sure it really matters anymore to be so particular about it.

For a guitar finished "head-to-toe," meaning guitars sans rosewood, ebony, etc., that have no wood exposed, does humidity or a lack thereof even really matter? I understand temperature changes are a big problem because of different rates of thermal expansion between materials such as wood and metal, but really other than the pots or pickups corroding from being in a really humid environment, a dry one really shouldn't do any harm, right?

Not to stoke the issue of nitro vs. poly finish, but if what people say is true about poly being a plastic encasing of the wood, then poly won't let any moisture in or out of the wood. On the flip side, if nitro lets a guitar "breathe" then it's letting moisture enter and exit as well...withholding the information that many nitro finishes have a poly base coat sealing it anyways.

So...what do you guys think? Do you care about humidity with your electrics at all? Is temperature your only concern? Do you not care about either of these things?

Looking forward to see everyone's perspective!
 

Jukers

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.

I am not concerned with temperature or humidity because I make purchases that counteract the typical fears:

I like all-maple necks. Mixing woods causes the neck to move around more. I want a very stable guitar. I also like that maple is more locally sourced.

I actually like Poly finishes best and hate the fussiness and pretentiousness of "Nitro".

.
Pretentiousness of " nitro", I totally agree!!

I just wish the poly wasn't so dag-on thick. It makes the guitars feel like it was just dipped in cheap plastic and they loose their soul. There's more options that just poly and nitro, I wish the guitar world could be a little more open minded.
 

Patshep

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I live in nyc where summers are super humid and these apartments are overheated and dry in winter. I find that certain guitars seem to remain unaffected, while others, especially acoustics will completely freak out
However a room humidifier doesn’t seem to make a huge difference
 

Boxla

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I'm 34 years into playing the guitar. I own dozens of guitars. I watch humidity and keep my nice acoustics in cases when not being played as I have seen what dry and humid weather can do to thinner solid top acoustic guitars. I have yet to see a need to treat my electrics the same way. In fact, I have a Traveller EG that rides shotgun in my car 365 days a year. It's been through blizzards and heat spells and has sat in that car for days as the internal temp probably reaches over 130 degrees as well as negative temps. I've had zero issues with the guitar. Not only do I not have issues, it stays in tune. Needless to say, I've also has zero issues in over 3 decades of all of my electrics being out and about.
 

GratefulDean

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I live in Colorado, I don't worry. Unless, I take my instrument out of the house, then I may think about it for a second but do nothing about it.
 

CVS54

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I keep my electric guitars in cases when not being played. I have humidity systems for acousitic guitars which also are in cases when not being played. I should add, that I have not had to have any neck adjustments over the years except when I have changed string guages.
 

tugginalong

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Been thinking about this as of late...

I've been keeping an eye on my RH meters lately, seeing that the % keeps steadily dropping with the change in weather. I used to make a point to use a dehumidifier in order to keep RH between 45-50%, but I'm not so sure it really matters anymore to be so particular about it.

For a guitar finished "head-to-toe," meaning guitars sans rosewood, ebony, etc., that have no wood exposed, does humidity or a lack thereof even really matter? I understand temperature changes are a big problem because of different rates of thermal expansion between materials such as wood and metal, but really other than the pots or pickups corroding from being in a really humid environment, a dry one really shouldn't do any harm, right?

Not to stoke the issue of nitro vs. poly finish, but if what people say is true about poly being a plastic encasing of the wood, then poly won't let any moisture in or out of the wood. On the flip side, if nitro lets a guitar "breathe" then it's letting moisture enter and exit as well...withholding the information that many nitro finishes have a poly base coat sealing it anyways.

So...what do you guys think? Do you care about humidity with your electrics at all? Is temperature your only concern? Do you not care about either of these things?

Looking forward to see everyone's perspective!


I live in SC and we have a plenty of humidity. I have two humidity gauges in my house and it’s typically around 50% humidity (45% to 55%). When the indoor humidity rises to 70%, I’ll put my D-28 in it’s case. It’s rarely that high but I does occur. In the winter, the humidity can get get a little lower. If needed, I’ll use my humidifier that fit in the sound hole on acoustics. I typically have a couple of electric guitars and a bass that are on stands and I’ll leave them out either way. Needless to say, the high humidity can impact tuning. I check my neck semi-frequently.
 

Killing Floor

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Over time any extreme swings can affect wood. Any house/apartment is climate controlled. I’ve never done anything regarding cases.
Just don’t eat the Do Not Eat.
 

Old Deaf Roadie

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If I lived in Denver, I would be concerned a little bit about the dry winter air, when solid hardwood furniture can crack before it ever leaves the store. But, I live on the Oregin coast where there is plenty of precipitation, where I can only shoot finishes during July & August due to the chill in the air.
 




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