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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Brent Hutto

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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.
We run vaporizers during the coldest/driest weather because of our human needs. Not for my guitars. I find super low humidity absolutely miserable with everything from chapped lips to cracked fingertips to nosebleeds if the house stays too dry for too long. Plus the stupid static electricity when you walk across a rug.

I'm probably more sensitive than any of my musical instruments :cry:
 

telemnemonics

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We run vaporizers during the coldest/driest weather because of our human needs. Not for my guitars. I find super low humidity absolutely miserable with everything from chapped lips to cracked fingertips to nosebleeds if the house stays too dry for too long. Plus the stupid static electricity when you walk across a rug.

I'm probably more sensitive than any of my musical instruments :cry:
Yeah I actually find it hilarious but also a little sad how rigorously so many defend their right to live in 14% relative humidity because their guitars are manly like their bad selves.
 

telemnemonics

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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.
Luthiers have used some sort of humidifiers in their shops for centuries, and wood manufacturers have also run humidifiers in factories for probably the whole 20th C.

This is so simple, so basic, and so old for all the new opinions on humidity not being of any concern in wood musical instruments or wood in general.

Touring professionals with a traveling guitar tech on staff do not take care of valuable guitars?
Where is this info from?

I think many get confused because they assume running a humidifier in house means they cannot take the guitar out of the house.

It takes many weeks in a dry environment for an electric guitar neck to dry out and shrink enough to warp and need the truss rod tightened.
If you tour for months in a van in winter in the snow belt, maintaining your electrics will be a little harder than just running a humidifier at home. Might have to look at maybe Jim Dunlop in case humidifiers and maybe even put your Tele in a quality hard case rather than a gig bag.
Or just keep tightening the truss rod as the autumn turns to winter and the neck shrinks and warps.
Figure that if indeed you tour in a van in snowy winter and your guitar started in "proper humidity", you will need to tighten the truss rod several times over the many weeks it takes to dry out, and may not know which night you pull it out at a show and find the action kinda sucks more than you remember it at the last show a couple of nights ago.

Edit: figure also that anyone who lives where winter is not super dry, like maybe the UK, will not have the problems we have in the snow belt with temps way below freezing for months.
 
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wildcatter

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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 am still trying to "repair" a bunch of ELECTRICS that I mistakenly moved into what I thought was going to be "THE" room for them when I bought this house due to it's acoustics.
WRONG!!!! The humidity in that room was so bad that not only did I end up having to deal with mildew on my babies but several of them are going to need rewiring due to the moisture damage getting into the internals.
They have been moved into a room that isn't pumping humidity through the poured concrete foundation with a high water table.
My cigars do love that room though...
 

Tjeppen

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I keep most of my guitars on my attic, not heated or A.C.-ed but reasonably well insulated.
It's not super hot in the summer, nor is it freezing in the winter.
I live on the coast in Belgium and never have issues with my axes, not even the cheap ones.
 

Chipss36

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I can see changes I all my necks, via a tuner with changing weather conditions , or even walking outside with a guitar…this expansion and contraction a tuner so clearly shows, and a guitar will sure let me know it if it has not had a truss rod adjustment In awhile.
this is in coastal Texas, tons of humidity, usually lots of heat, but it can also freeze up from time to time. i see no difference In maple or maple rosewood, finished\unfinished, the wood moves around on all of them…I have found the older the guitar the more stable it is…a brand new neck, I am chasing the neck relief every few months or so, to get it back to where I like it. After a few years it really slows down.
 

boris bubbanov

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I find, that if I like the humidity, the guitar will also like the humidity. I don't care if additional humidity would be good, or not, because I am finished trying to practice or play (or even do non guitar things) when the humidity is too high. Louisiana, except between Thanksgiving and Easter, looks uglier every day. Dew points are just out of control. Life is too short for that nonsense.

I will admit, I pay so little attention to this "forced air dryness" stuff in winter that plagues some folks. We stay up in the mountains of North Carolina and usually (even in winter) the heat is off and windows are open. The solution is to generate some heat of your own!!! :^)
 

rxmoore

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I keep my electrics in the same place I keep my acoustics, and that room is maintained in 45-55% humidity throughout the year, and it normally stays at about 65 degrees. I don't think humidity has a huge impact on electric guitars, but big shifts, like bring a guitar upstairs or outdoors into higher humidity/temperature environment, will require an adjustment in tuning most of the time. I can't say I'd go to such lengths if I only had electric guitars, but that's kind of a moot point.
 

Milspec

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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.
Just make certain that you are using softened water with vaporizers, otherwise that limestone scale can settle onto everything in the room and that stuff can really mess things up.

Decades ago I used to do HVAC work in North Dakota and people were using large vaporizing humidifiers with hard water systems. Their furnace filters would actually fill up with limestone / calcium deposits to the point that the furnace would shut down. I sure wouldn't want that stuff depositing onto my gear.
 

Brent Hutto

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Just make certain that you are using softened water with vaporizers, otherwise that limestone scale can settle onto everything in the room and that stuff can really mess things up.

Decades ago I used to do HVAC work in North Dakota and people were using large vaporizing humidifiers with hard water systems. Their furnace filters would actually fill up with limestone / calcium deposits to the point that the furnace would shut down. I sure wouldn't want that stuff depositing onto my gear.
The ones we use are the kind that boil the water, not the ones that blow a mist. Even with the reasonably soft water we get from the city, those mist kinds deposit minerals everywhere. I've never seen any deposits with the steam kind but they do suck down a LOT of electricity.
 

David Menke

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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
In Colorado, I had to get a humdifier with settings and set it for 50% and had to fill it every other day. I also had a whole house humifier and a weather station to make sure when humidity dropped to 0 I could check each day. Pain, but it protects the D-35 and Breedlove, that are $$$ guitars.
 

Patshep

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In Colorado, I had to get a humdifier with settings and set it for 50% and had to fill it every other day. I also had a whole house humifier and a weather station to make sure when humidity dropped to 0 I could check each day. Pain, but it protects the D-35 and Breedlove, that are $$$ guitars.
I learned the year I left my guild on the stand too long and it took several visits to the shop to get it back to playing well. Certain electrics are unaffected while others freak out with changes. I need it for my sinuses too, but I swear gallons of water in the thing and the difference is small
 

David Menke

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I learned the year I left my guild on the stand too long and it took several visits to the shop to get it back to playing well. Certain electrics are unaffected while others freak out with changes. I need it for my sinuses too, but I swear gallons of water in the thing and the difference is small
I also had a whole house (forced air) humidifier to keep the humidity between 30 to 50%. We moved to the Pacific Northwest, due to the humidity, nose bleeds constant in Colorado. And with Covid, and letting people do work at home, my wife was able to keep her Colorado position and become a remote user full time. Have about 20+ guitars and want to protect them as well as possible.
 

Silverface

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Much of my spring and fall work is fixing "fret sprout" on electric guitars.

If you run heaters in the winter and/or air conditioners in the winter you need a room or whole-house humidifier. I have around 60 instruments and keep my house at 45% relative humidity. I never have humidity-related issues.
 




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