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.


Results are only viewable after voting.

Happy Enchilada

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The part of Idaho where I live is referred to as "high desert."
We are dry all year round. Especially in the fall and winter.
I have seen heinous things caused by a lack of humidification with acoustics - like a bridge pulling up.
I humidify my acoustics year round. My electrics no.
I use one of these in the soundhole between the A and E strings to monitor temp and humidity:
1664988954859.png

Two of my acoustics are US Guilds, and they have a round humidifier built into the case lid.
In the cases that don't have this feature, I use one of these:
1664989027563.png

You can get both in a set if you want.
All on Amazon and all for less than a trip to the luthier for a truss rod adjustment.
Of course, you need to stay on top of the truss rod ...
But this prevents cracks in the top and helps with the neck.
If you've got thousands invested in fine acoustics, it's a no-brainer.

I used the "green weenie" for years, and this is much easier and plus it has the meter.
 

monkeybanana

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Fret sprout!

But yes especially acoustics. Different woods/materials shrink and expand at different rates. Can cause problems. Like cracks around the fretboard extension. Seams may open up. Top may cave in raising action. I lived in a place so dry the endpin got lose. Wouldn’t want that comin out while standin!
 

Swingcat

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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!
Although lacquer or poly "encase" the wood, in most cases, the control & pickup cavities are not painted, so even though there's a pickguard, humidity CAN creep in. Also, the lacquer actually "breathes" a little.
Aside from that, even a fully finished neck is affected by both temp and humidity, which is why we have truss rods and can readjust them for the different seasons.
All that being said, I have had many guitars that were well over 50 years old, and have not ever had any attention to humidity paid them, and they were (and are) in solid shape and completely playable, so unless one is in extremely dry conditions (which are worse than wet conditions), its really not as big a deal as people make it out to be.
Also, solid body guitars are WAY less critical of humidity than lightly built acoustics.
For reference, I've been a professional guitarist for well over 50 years, and have owned upwards of 100 vintage solid body, archtop, and flat top instruments, and am a guitar builder ("Turbocaster Electric Guitars" on Facebook).
My wife and I are also on the road full time in our travel trailer (6 years so far), performing mainly in the west, so our guitars go thru LOTS of temp and humidity changes, which DOES speed up finish checking in lacquer, but leaves everything else pretty much alone.
 

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Boxla

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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.
Exactly this for me!
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.
My dad lives in Cave Creek and I visit once a year for Thanksgiving. I've had a fairly nice Yamaha acoustic that has sat out in his house for the past 15 years. Not only have I never had a single issues, it's usually dead nuts in tune each year when I show up.
 

Nitro

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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. (^fret sprout is a one time fix, find the driest time of year and file the fret ends smooth, no more fret issues).

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

.
Hey! Im not one bit pre-whatyousaid😂
 

Whitebeard

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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!
In really dry places fret sprout is known to happen. Fret ends sticking out from the fingerboard wood shrinking and the steel frets remaining their same length. https://www.stewmac.com/video-and-i...-make-sharp-fret-ends-smooth-and-comfortable/
 

kuch

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I'm from the Pacific Northwest and several luthiers have told me that in our moderate climate, humidifiers aren't necessary.

If anyone has heard differently, let me know.

thanks

edit: I keep most of my guitars hanging on the wall year round, including my Martins
I think one of the worst things to do is to leave your guitar in your vehicle in very cold or very hot weather, or take them from the cold to hot and vice versa without climatizing them 1st. Great way to crack the finishes.
 
Last edited:

David Menke

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I'm from the Pacific Northwest and several luthiers have told me that in our moderate climate, humidifiers aren't necessary.

If anyone has heard differently, let me know.

thanks

edit: I keep most of my guitars hanging on the wall year round, including my Martins
I think one of the worst things to do is to leave your guitar in your vehicle in very cold or very hot weather, or take them from the cold to hot and vice versa without climatizing them 1st. Great way to crack the finishes.
I lived up in Sammamish WA in 2004 to 2006. Did not worry about humidity. Moved back to Northern Colorado, which is 0 humidity most of the time and noticed my acoustic guitars having top issues. Electrics did not seem to mind the change. I am back to Washington this year and again not worried about drops and spikes in humidity. I check the weather and typically the low humidity levels are around 30. In Denver area, most guitar stores keep their Acoustic instruments in separate rooms with humidifiers going.
As this forum progresses, their are many instances of instruments that never are cared for and no issues. But if I pay $2000 to $5000 for an acoustic and maybe the same for an electric in a low or heavy humidity environment, what does an once of prevention cost to keep a 50% level.
Some people never use a seat belt in a car and never have an accident. GREAT!
But the time will come when you could have prevented your head going through the windshield with that simple device.
This is stretching the issue, but guitars are wood, some move, shrink, some don't. Take your chance, it is your guitar and your money to do whatever you want. Free will!!!
As for myself, storing instruments in a not so pleasant environment, I do as the OCD author explained and take that prevention on at least my acoustics. But now living in WA there is no issues, kind of like the whole West coast, California, Oregon and Washington, I would not worry, except maybe inland in desert territory :) Cheers to you all.
 

telemnemonics

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1) I voted climate controlled but not like a special room, just the same as humans needs include climate controlled, I run a humidifier in the house in winter.

2) Its fine to bring guitars into temps humand dan handle, but not hotter like a car trunk in the hot sun etc.

3) Yes, a finished guitar dries out and shrinks despite being coated in poly.

So in Austin TX you dont live in a climate controlled place?
Figure that AC dry summer air is much like heated dry winter air, and shrinking wood doesnt care what season or reason dried it out so it shrunk.
 

David Menke

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Hey! Im not one bit pre-whatyousaid😂
Jvin248, it is your $$$ and your guitars to do whatever you chose, but wood and humidity high and low, do not mix well. Pianos have the same problem with humidity.
For the low cost of humidifiers and de-humidifiers, depending on the environment that people live in, just an ounce of prevention does guarantee maybe that the wood will not move as much. Hey Nitro, I fully agree with you!!!
 

David Menke

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1) I voted climate controlled but not like a special room, just the same as humans needs include climate controlled, I run a humidifier in the house in winter.

2) Its fine to bring guitars into temps humand dan handle, but not hotter like a car trunk in the hot sun etc.

3) Yes, a finished guitar dries out and shrinks despite being coated in poly.

So in Austin TX you dont live in a climate controlled place?
Figure that AC dry summer air is much like heated dry winter air, and shrinking wood doesnt care what season or reason dried it out so it shrunk.
Well said!
 

telemnemonics

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Fret sprout!

But yes especially acoustics. Different woods/materials shrink and expand at different rates. Can cause problems. Like cracks around the fretboard extension. Seams may open up. Top may cave in raising action. I lived in a place so dry the endpin got lose. Wouldn’t want that comin out while standin!
Right, fret sprout even happens on maple necks totally encased in poly, simple proof that humidity gets in and out.

Fret sprout being when the neck shrinks so much from low humidity that it is not as wide as it was manufactured, while the frets are the same length.
Also worth noting that the resulting cracks in the poly or nitro at the fert ends is not OK.
 

Patshep

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You are one of the chosen folks with a guitar with extreme tolerance, and lucky you do not have to worry, just keep playing it and enjoy. Cheers
I am bad at language. I meant the humidifier makes little difference in the apartment. It’s still dry with the humidifier on I swear. Two gallons of water just disappear daily
 

MogwaiBoy

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If your windows 'cry' on winter mornings - yes it matters because during the day that condensation evaporates into the air of your house and will seep into your guitars if you leave them exposed. It's not just guitars though, it's you and your family's health at stake due to moisture and mould.

Here in New Z a lot of houses have ventilation where a fan in the ceiling cavity (or attic as you may call them) pulls that dry air down through ducting into every room in the house, making the house dry all year. It's brilliant and I couldn't live in a house without it. Don't need to worry about guitars at all unless it makes it TOO dry.
 

guitfiddles

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I like-a play-a da guitar-a

I'm at the mercy of a 73 year old house and 4% humidity winters with 30mph winds. I literally use a pump garden sprayer to wet down anything and everything that won't get ruined with water, and can barely manage 30% on those nasty dry days.

I’m on the beach in Florida now but moved from the mountains in Ruidoso, NM about a year ago. Up there we were right at 7200’ elevation and it was super dry between like 4 to 15% humidity. We had those big humidifiers from Sears and had to fill them with water like every day and always had nosebleeds. My guitars like it here in Florida a lot more. I miss the mountains but not that super dry climate.
 

teleplayr

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Humidity and acoustic guitars is something everyone should be concerned about.

I have a friend who's a luthier and the majority of issues he sees on acoustic guitars is due to lack of humidity and the tops cracking. Keeping a humidifier in the case is a must for an acoustic. I keep a D'Addario humidifier (the one with a sponge inside of it) that fits between the strings and in the sound hole of the instrument.

Electric guitars not so much. I usually have to adjust the truss rods on my electrics twice a year due to humidity changes, between winter & summer.
 

somebodyelseuk

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The vintage stuff we lust after was built before climate control equipment was commercially available, and a fair bit of it has spent many years circulating the globe on the back of trucks and in aircraft holds.
Your hero's guitar probably spends less time being played than your's does, and it definitely leads a harder life.
 




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