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Haydn

 

Posts: 59
Joined: Jan. 29 2011
 

Humidifiers 

Today, I received my first proper flamenco guitar (well, a Yamaha CG172SF), and obviously want to keep it in the best shape I can So, my question is:

What do you all use to monitor and regulate the humidity of your prized instruments? There seems to be a baffling range of options, much advice (the quality of which I couldn't testify to) and, in my case, much confusion

How can I ensure my instrument remains in fine playing order?

Btw, I live in the UK, if it makes any difference?

Thanks all
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 11 2011 23:25:11
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3462
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Humidifiers (in reply to Haydn

Haydn,

Buy a traveler's plastic soap dish with a top, punch holes in the top, and find the right sized (or cut it to size) kitchen sponge to put in it. Keep the sponge soaked with water, put the dish and sponge in the headstock area of your guitar case, under the headstock, and voila! you have a cheap and effective humidifier. The headstock is enough. You don't need another humidifier in the main body of the guitar case, as the humidity will fill up the case no matter the location of the source.

Cheers,

Bill

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With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 11 2011 23:35:21
 
jaggedsphere

Posts: 146
Joined: Feb. 6 2010
From: Ottawa/Toronto

RE: Humidifiers (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:


Haydn,

Buy a traveler's plastic soap dish with a top, punch holes in the top, and find the right sized (or cut it to size) kitchen sponge to put in it. Keep the sponge soaked with water, put the dish and sponge in the headstock area of your guitar case, under the headstock, and voila! you have a cheap and effective humidifier. The headstock is enough. You don't need another humidifier in the main body of the guitar case, as the humidity will fill up the case no matter the location of the source.

Cheers,

Bill


Yup, thats what I was going to say. Except I'm even more cheap....I just use a zip lock bag and a hole punch.

Main thing is keeping it in a case.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 12 2011 0:29:01
 
Haydn

 

Posts: 59
Joined: Jan. 29 2011
 

RE: Humidifiers (in reply to Haydn

Those are both very ingenious solutions!

I have heard of people using a sponge on a tooth pick, but these methods seem less messy.

Will the sponge need to be soaking wet? Mildly damp? And do you keep it in there all seasons, without risk of over humidifying the guitar?

Cheers
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 12 2011 9:49:04
 
Gimar Yestra

 

Posts: 298
Joined: Jan. 19 2011
From: The Netherlands

RE: Humidifiers (in reply to Haydn

do you have a hygrometer?? if not its a good idea to buy one so you can check the humidity level, since this can change quite abit between summer and winter time.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 12 2011 10:08:01
 
GerryR

 

Posts: 23
Joined: Jul. 18 2011
 

RE: Humidifiers (in reply to Haydn

A hygrometer is a good idea. In some areas you need to de-humidify. You want to try to keep somewhere between 45 - 55% RH. Too dry and you get cracks, too wet and you get swelling and glue failure. From what I understand, the UK is quite humid, so you might want to measure the RH first, before adding more moisture.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 12 2011 10:46:21
 
Gimar Yestra

 

Posts: 298
Joined: Jan. 19 2011
From: The Netherlands

RE: Humidifiers (in reply to Haydn

if you want to get realy technical, you would have to know in wich humidity the guitar was made, and try to keep your house or studio opr whatever around that humidity.

I believe it is less likely that a guitar will crack in a low humidity if it was build in a low humidity.
The biggest problem is a guitar made in a hidh humidity wich then goes to a say 40 % enviroment, the wood wants to shrink, but since the shape of the guitar is set and glued up it can't.

the other way around is less likely to cause problems, the wood wants to expand in a higher humidity level, so the top will create a bigger dome, same for the back.

then again, there are more factors that will be of influence.


Im in the Netherlands, and hiumidity can range from 30% in the winter up to 80% in the summer.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 12 2011 11:04:43
 
GerryR

 

Posts: 23
Joined: Jul. 18 2011
 

RE: Humidifiers (in reply to Gimar Yestra

Very good points. Also, the fact that many guitars are made with plywood back and sides (not the custom / expensive ones) also helps stabilize the wood and makes it less susceptable to humidity and temperature variations.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 12 2011 13:02:04
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3782
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: Humidifiers (in reply to Haydn

The advice above to take a hygrometer is a good one.

Considering my tooth pick method, I have to date not experienced any mess, and used it for valuable guitars.

What the soap container method is concerned, it will disperse in a buffered way ( taking its time if your case / guitar is dry ) and can develop mold or dough, though much less than readily available solutions ( like the Planet Wave thingy I had ) with firmly enclosed sponge.

Also, unlike described above the spreading inside the case will not always be as evenly and instant as you might expect. You could be finding the area around the headstock alright ( with fret wires still flush ) while the body indicating too little humidification still.
That is at least what I have experienced, apparently depending on individual guitar cases.

As the headstock proportionally has much less of unsealed surface, I consider the other way round more safe and evenly in general. When the corpus is fine the headstock should be so anyway.

But the hygrometer might possibly tell you that there is no humidification needed in much of the UK.
If at all, I´d rather expect need for something hydroscopic.

Ruphus

PS:
To your question: Moderately damp.
A common dish washing sponge will take a 4-5 ml of evenly distributed water. ( Prepare it by squeezing it lightly first to have the water spread throughout.)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 12 2011 13:36:01
 
Haydn

 

Posts: 59
Joined: Jan. 29 2011
 

RE: Humidifiers (in reply to Haydn

Okay, thanks for all the advice guys!

I can see a hygrometer is the way to go. Can anyone recommend me a good, reliable one? (Or if there are any brands to avoid, due to low quality/overpriced/inaccurate or whatever?)

¡Muchisimas Gracias!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 12 2011 19:01:51
 
GerryR

 

Posts: 23
Joined: Jul. 18 2011
 

RE: Humidifiers (in reply to Haydn

Try here for some ideas:

http://www.stringsbymail.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=2_405

Gerry
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 13 2011 15:28:59
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3435
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Humidifiers (in reply to GerryR

All my guitars have the Oasis OH-1 humidifier linked in the previous post. You need distilled water so as not to gradually poison the compound that controls humidity level.

I worked for several years in a building with half a billion dollars worth of electronics. Temperature and humidity control were crucial. All the cheap hygrometers (humidity measuring devices) we tested were inaccurate as received from the seller. Some were far off. Buy an adjustable one and calibrate it by the simple method given here.

http://tinyurl.com/3ceqbh

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 13 2011 22:25:28
 
GerryR

 

Posts: 23
Joined: Jul. 18 2011
 

RE: Humidifiers (in reply to Haydn

Here is an all-in-one unit that I just ran across that might interest you:

http://metronomes.net/Intelli_IMT-301_Metronome_Tuner.htm
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 14 2011 13:49:03
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