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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oldunc

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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
Standard wood finishes are not as effective at stopping moisture transfer as is commonly thought- if you want impenetrable, you're pretty much stuck with dipping it in molten paraffin, which can adversely affect tone. Dense, oily woods such as ebony, rosewood, teak have considerable moisture resistance on their own, of course.
 

Hey_you

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Yes. I have an air purifier that has a vaporizer feature. I also have a gage set in the room. It shows 53% atm. I have an open window, and it been cloudy/rainy last 2 days tho. Usually reads about 45-50%.
 

chamas

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I learned the hard way about humidity. Moving to Texas from a place with regulated humidity, once monsoon season is over the humidity drops to 20% and below. All of my guitars, acoustic AND electrics were developing warped necks. Freaking out I tried to adjust the truss rod to no avail. Finally heard about a certain room humidifier and that magically returned the necks to where they need to be.
Now I constantly keep an eye on the humidity in my guitar room.
 

ReverendRevolver

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I rarely think on it. But I've switched most of my guitars to the first floor of my house this summer so I maybe should?

Most of the time, my guitars live in cases upstairs where the dryness isn't as much of a factor. I might need a humidifier this year. I get nosebleeds when I'm having to fight allergies on the regular and the heaters running. That's also easier to explain to my wife than paranoia over guitars that have sat out through all seasons at 6 different houses or apartments over the last 12ish years, including the currentone for 5 of those...

My basement has higher than desirable humidity. The screws on the metal corners of my Peaveys are rusty from leaving them on the ground.
So the expensive amps aren't down there, except one head in its carrying backpack on a shelf.
 

NWinther

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If the winter is really dry I turn on the humidifier! I keep my acoustic in the case that I keep at a certain level of humidity.
 

David Menke

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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 was originally from California, moved to Colorado, then to Washington, back to Colorado and now again in Washington. Did not worry about humidity in California, but Colorado is near 0% humidity. While living there, purchased a standalone self regulating humidifier and had a whole house humidifier. You should with electrics and acoustics keep them at 40 to 55% humidity. Stand alone humidifiers are 40 to $100 and less expensive than resets on the guitar, or damage done. Another option, look at case humidifiers, but you need to check these constantly, and for around $50 you can get a digital reader, and software for your phone to keep checking. If you have a GAS issue and have multiple guitars, just do the humidifier. In Washington the humidity is usually in the 50 to 80 percent which is ok. You can also get an inexpensive weather station, which monitors the humidity in your home, or where you keep your guitars.
 

David Menke

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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.
Warmoth, has a very light coating of non-nitro. No sticky necks or bodies with there finish and very light finish. Not sure how they do it, but works well.
 

David Menke

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Yes. I have an air purifier that has a vaporizer feature. I also have a gage set in the room. It shows 53% atm. I have an open window, and it been cloudy/rainy last 2 days tho. Usually reads about 45-50%.
Just moved from Colorado in Feb 2022, was there for 20 years. Be sure to keep a humidifier set to 50% and have air flow in the room. By the way if you are close to Denver, Colfax guitar shop has the best repair work in Colorado, I used to drive about an hour to go there.
 

Cleantone

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I do not worry about my solid body electrics, but I do notice changes in tuning and neck when there is a weather swing and when the house goes through big daily temp changes (I don't have central air). A few months after I bought a 2021 Epiphone 335 I got the D'Addario humidity packs for it and my acoustic, and now keep them in their cases all the time. I have noticed a big improvement in tuning stability. I'm watching for fret sprout on the 335, but one year old and no signs yet.

My acoustic is ~35 years old and I never previously managed the humidity for it in or out of the case. Never had an issue other than tuning changes while living in Louisiana and Florida (hot and humid), North Carolina (humid with big seasonal changes) and Colorado (dry with big daily and seasonal temp changes). A local luthier says I just got lucky with one of the good ones.
 

Cleantone

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Just moved from Colorado in Feb 2022, was there for 20 years. Be sure to keep a humidifier set to 50% and have air flow in the room. By the way if you are close to Denver, Colfax guitar shop has the best repair work in Colorado, I used to drive about an hour to go there.
I second the praise for Colfax Guitar Shop. They do great work.
 

David Menke

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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
You can purchase 2 simple units, a dehumidifier and a humidifier for under $100 for both, worthwhile investment for a guitar that is over $200.
 

telemaster03

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I keep a hygrometer in my music room and try to keep an eye on humidity, 50 - 55%. Spring, summer and early fall are easy but heated air in the wintertime can really suck the moisture out of the air. We have a whole-house humidifier and I run a separate one in the guitar room to keep humidity stable. This is done primarily for the acoustics but I'm sure the electric guitars benefit as well, I don't have any problems with fret sprout and neck adjustments are minimal in the winter.
 

David Menke

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I second the praise for Colfax Guitar Shop. They do great work.
Middle picture of my icon photo is a Warmoth, they set up. Excellent work! They have done setups on about 10 of my guitars and bass. Tried other repair shops and few compare, especially the GC people, who are ok at changing strings, although I have changed string for the past 50 years and do not use that service.
 

AustinPaul

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I think some of you OCD guys who never leave the house find new things to obsess over. I've been at this for about 45 yrs and I have never once worried about it. If I'm gigging, rehearsing, or traveling with a guitar, I know I have no control over any of this stuff, so it's pointless to worry about it. Sure, I notice that some guitars are more fussy about it, but after a few sessions they stabilize.

If you get fret sprout, then your neck/fretboard weren't properly dried in the first place. You develop fret sprout, you fix it. No big deal. All that means is that you're one step closer to having the the guitar maturing.

The only exception to this is my only acoustic, my D35. It gets a humidifier.
 

TheCheapGuitarist

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I think temperature and humidity only matter in the extremes. My friend lived in Florida and kept his 70's Les Paul in a storage unit there for a couple of years, then moved to Colorado with it (formed a band that I later joined). The neck on that thing would fret-out all over the place, even with a good setup. Turns out it was twisted and warped and everything else one could imagine. It was basically unplayable. He took it to a local guitar repair shop, where they steamed it and did some other things to it, and it turned out quite a bit better, but still not great.
 

nonuniform

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I live in the high desert, don't really keep track of actual humidity value, but I do keep the two older Strats, and the 335, in their cases with humidity packs to keep them sorta consistent. So far? Seems to be working, guitars have stayed in tune throughout the year, no fret sprout, everything fits together the same way from day to day, month to month, year to year. The partscaster tele and strat, I really don't care. They just sit on the stand so I can pick them up whenever I want to play, and for others to come over and pick up. They definitely don't stay in tune, and seem to be affected by the changes in AC vs heater.
 

Patshep

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You can purchase 2 simple units, a dehumidifier and a humidifier for under $100 for both, worthwhile investment for a guitar that is over $200.
As I stated. I run a humidifier and I find little difference
 

PhoenixBill

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As my name implies, I live in Phoenix Arizona. Low humidity all year. I keep all my guitars—electric and acoustic—hanging on the wall. I don’t use a humidifier. If they are on the wall, I can play them or at least look at them. If I get fret sprout, I fix it. Otherwise I don’t see a real issue.
 




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