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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / I was looking at maybe getting guitar case Hydrometers ?


LA , Calif

I try my best
Mar 27th, 2017 10:03 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

It seems that most sold now have such mixed reviews that none are even close to accurate. There are the planet wave or oasis.

Basically I have a stew mac analog one in this small closet in the living room and have two acoustics in hard shell cases and check each one at least one a week although sometimes it seems time flies and 8 days zips by.

I still use a dampit seagull grand and a sponge in a zip lock with small holes at the head stock and a planet waves in the sound hole of the EL-00 pro and the same deal with the zip lock .

They both seem to be fine so far . The seagull is 13 years old and I read that guitars over time acclimate , whether true or not who knows.

We have had this up and down dry then rain for the last year. It can be 70 * 60%RH then 72 50% and it's mostly 52% 70 degrees average.

Still even at 52%RH the sponges and sound hole deals dry out so I wet them and squeeze them till damp. It may be 4 days and they are dry or slightly damp.
I know some moisture has to be absorbed by the case lining. Also I imagine if the hygrometer reads 52% RH it must be a bit higher in the closed cases . I also realize all hydrometers are off unless one spends hundreds of $'s.

Would it be better with at least one in case unit to see and compare with the Stew Mac analog or just check the sponges at least twice a week and keep going as I am now? Even if they are slightly damp I write down times and dates and RH and temp I wet them and wring out till damp so I know except for the dampit if it's damp I leave it alone. I also check the action each time I play to see if anything changes. Sometimes I notice a bit of buzz then check them more often.

These reviews always seem to be a who knows what deal so I look at a few and ignore them .

Contributing Member

The spotlight

looks like a prison break
Mar 28th, 2017 02:42 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hygrometers are all over the place when it comes to true accuracy. The way to know when things are right is when the guitar dials in and plays great with little deformation in the top of the guitar.

Once you achieve that stasis--take note of the hygrometer's reading and mark it with a dot of paint, etc., so you know where the needle should be to keep the guitar in great shape.

What I use. No batteries required.



Mar 29th, 2017 07:49 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The ones available in the music biz are pretty sketchy. Lately I've been recommending one from Amazon. It isn't the most accurate, but it isn't wildly inaccurate either. Perhaps a bit bulky for some guitar cases, but still usable.

The best ones are going to be the ones that you can calibrate yourself. There is some trick to it with a cap of salt and a drop of water or something... I haven't done it, but it is tech and tricks that come from the cigar world. At some point I'll probably grab one just for the sake of having a reference one.


Contributing Member

North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Mar 30th, 2017 03:23 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Do they have a wifi one? So you can freak out when your out of town and the hydrometer is registering 10' under water "o)

Contributing Member


Axe Victim
Mar 30th, 2017 04:03 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Just keep your acoustic guitars in a case, that will take care of most issues.

I've been playing guitar for a stupid amount of time and this has been my experience. And I do own one high end Gibson acoustic.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member


American-made in Oz!!
Mar 30th, 2017 05:04 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

This is why I play electrics!

I have enough keeping up with maintenance on them (7) without having to worry about monitoring and balancing humidity etc.

"Do they have a wifi one? So you can freak out when your out of town and the hydrometer is registering 10' under water"

HAH!! Good one hush!!


LA , Calif

I try my best
Mar 30th, 2017 05:47 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks for the ideas.

Thing is some recommend 35 to 45 % RH others 45 to 55%.

I do notice the 2004 Seagull grands top does change or rise a bit to eliminate all fret buzz. The EL-00 Pro always seems the same.

I didn't know a thing about acoustics when I had them in the 60's one was a 67 J160E and the other a Gibson 12 string and I had them in IL in their cases and they always played fine. Fact is I didn't know about acoustic RH until 2009 and got some Dampits so the seagull sat here in it's case for close to three years after I got it then year 2 it had some fret buzz. I have no idea how it was kept for the 2 years the on line dealer had it then there is the shipping shipped in it's case in a box which was almost shreds when UPS dropped it off and it was tuned to close to pitch. Same thing with a 2006 AMI came in a gig bag with a sort of home made box tuned to pitch. The the EL-00 came well packed in it's fact box in another box and it sat in a ware house for 2 years before I got it and it took a month for the back ordered case to blow in. I kept it in the foam sleeve in the box with zip lock and sponges.

I just check the sponges and dampit and planet waves every 3 days now and when they are dry I re wet them.

I've also read that each guitar is different even the same model and year. Each is from a different tree or several.

One Video think it was high end Zager guitars shows their way. a large freezer bag with long slits cut and a very wet towel placed in the bag zip lock open and stuffed into the guitar not even held by the strings. This is something I would never do.

Here's a link to that video. What it and tell me you would try this.

Zager Zip lock and towel


michigan usa

Mar 30th, 2017 07:52 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've done similar for a collapsed top; made a "dish" out of tin foil and put a wet paper towel on it, plugged the sound hole and the next day the top had popped back up.

The guy in the video seemed to be exaggerating. I've had guitars in Wyoming in the summer and used only a small one with no problems. Unless the guitar is dangerously dry you'd rather give it regular doses of a smaller amount of water. You wouldn't do what that guy did on a regular basis. Well, I wouldn't anyway.

His plastic bag idea is probably fine but why risk it if you don't have to? It'd be easy enough to modify that design such that you wouldn't have to worry about water spillage.


LA , Calif

I try my best
Mar 30th, 2017 08:43 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

twangdoodles :

That part of him placing a zip lock with all the slits and open with a really wet towel . How would it even be possible to avoid getting braces or any area inside an acoustic in direct contact to water , not vapor , water?

I can see placing something like a bowl that can't contact wood directly yet this zip lock he did , like that . Man that's asking for trouble.

It's 100 times worse than dunking a Dampit in water and simply hanging it in the sound hole.

It's possible this video is a sort of selling aid , bet if you did it and the thing ruined the guitar there goes the warranty. I've seen tin foil deal with towels and even that to me is really risking things .

I wonder since I stand my cases standing tall with enough tilt so they can't fall forward if that makes a difference , I mean with normal hydration devises not a wet towel that requires the guitar parallel to the floor. With normal devises I imagine as long as they don't leak standing tall or on it's side or parallel would all have the same result.


michigan usa

Mar 31st, 2017 05:52 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yeah, I hear ya. He had that towel fairly well wrung out and realistically, a little bit of water on the wood in there won't cause any problems so long as you don't saturate it. Still, why take the chance?

I generally lay my guitars flat when humidifying and use either the Kyser KLHA Lifeguard or the Planet Waves GH. Both of those will hold tight no matter how you store the guitar.

I also have the one in the link which works well but needs to be placed in the compartment in the case.


Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Mar 31st, 2017 10:50 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"...Thing is some recommend 35 to 45 % RH others 45 to 55%..."

With pianos, there's an agreed-upon standard: 45% R.H. I don't see why guitars would be different.

Unfortunately, human beings are most comfortable at around 55% R.H.

(This message was last edited by Te 52 at 01:30 PM, Mar 31st, 2017)


Philly, B-3 Capital

don't dream it be it
Mar 31st, 2017 11:12 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I may be wrong but I don't think you need a hygrometer in LA.


LA , Calif

I try my best
Mar 31st, 2017 05:59 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

" I may be wrong but I don't think you need a hygrometer in LA."

It's 24% RH @70 degrees here on my hydrometer. I wet the dampit and PW's on the 27th and 4 days later they were both dry. The sponges in the baggies were still damp.

I personally thing the planet waves deal is a waste. I bet if I checked it every day it would be dry , the Dampit lasts longer. I'm thinking of perhaps a baggie with a sponge held by the strings to each sound hole.

(This message was last edited by catnineblue at 08:09 PM, Mar 31st, 2017)



Apr 1st, 2017 09:05 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic


45% RH is the standard for the music industry, but how often the standard is followed is non standard. ;) You may find some guitars prefer a bit higher or lower, and it is reasonable to find that some were made at a different humidity level. I have a classical made in Spain and I'm pretty sure it was made in high humidity because it always looks dry at 45%... but, it does fine at 45, so I leave it there.

LA is dry and needs humidification, but I'm suspicious that you're having to work as hard as you are... it shouldn't be THAT bad this time of year. The PW stuff is pee wee league for the southwest, unless you supplement with something different. I'm a little concerned that maybe you have a hygrometer that reads low. Learn the signs that the guitar will show you: bulging back: look at the widest part of the back. If it follows the arc of the rest of the back, you're good. If it looks like a bubble, too much. If it looks flat, too little. The top is similar, but natural deflection muddles it. One trick is to look at the tail block. If there is too much humidity you'll see pinch lines around it.

If I'm bringing up a guitar's humidity, I generally use a couple dampits inside the case and recharge them frequently. It works every time. For home maintenance of humidity I use (and recommend) the Oasis.

Be careful with the home methods of damp paper towels or bowls of water. I've seen many a well intentioned guitar owner get some serious water stains and mold inside their guitars from those projects gone wrong. Sure, they can be done right, but I've seen enough bad mistakes that it makes me nervous.

""Do they have a wifi one? So you can freak out when your out of town and the hydrometer is registering 10' under water"

HAH!! Good one hush!!"

Don't laugh too hard. Taylor has one. I'm yet to try it, and it only works with Taylors since it replaces the jack/battery box unit. I'm not sure how accurate they are. They talk to your apple device supposedly.


LA , Calif

I try my best
Apr 2nd, 2017 12:24 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I don't see any issues at the tail block or any place on the seagull. Both it and the EL-00 have solid wood tops back and sides are three ply hardwoods.

It's usually not always this dry here , it's been dry more this year and rained more this year than I recall.

Basically what I'm trying to do is see just how long it takes for the dampit and planet waves to dry out> The hydrometer I have seems to read and react well not certain on how accurate it is.

I felt at least from what I've read is once the devices dry out you should wet them . I'm not sure if the dampit and PW can over do it like too much moisture in the wood. I keep a sandwich size zip lock with a slightly damp cello sponge in each case under the head stock.Just small holes on one side and it's folded over since the sponge is half the baggie. Small holes that face up.

I didn't always use the zip locks and sponge just the dampit for the seagull yet since the dampit would dry out fairly fast the zip lock was added.

When It reads below 40% I check more often , 45% - 50% maybe once a week sometimes skip a week. At times I've gone longer than a month and the seagulls action gets low yet it always comes back. The top has never gone flat all I notice is the action is just a bit lower. The EL-00 always seems the same , the action has always been 3/32" and 2/32" so it has a slight fret buzz if I dig in a bit , can't say if it was set up this way or coming from Indonesia sitting in some ware house for 2 years if the action dropped so far it always plays the same and measures the same.

I know when I got the seagull at one point I got fret buzz on the low E and the A if I dug in a bit which it didn't before . Removed the strings and the saddle fell out so I got a new one thinking it was to thin new one was the same. I had to trim the treble side slot because it had a small step then fit the new saddle and made it 1/32" taller and it still had the buzz until I kept an eye on the dampit more often now it's 1/8" bass 3/32" treble so it's about 1 /64" higher than what it was stock. I had to account for the step in the bridge slot treble side so after I removed that I added the difference so I had to make the saddle a bit taller than the original one treble side and the 1/32" bass side and drew the line and sanded it. Seems most specs are 1/32" higher on the low E than the high E. I just go by that.

If they were high dollar solid wood then I'd be freaked.


LA , Calif

I try my best
Apr 14th, 2017 10:24 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Sorry to bring this topic back. All these years I had acoustics on and off and not until 2009 did I even consider it.

Would it be rational to say since I just keep them in a small closet with a Stew Mac analog hydrometer and check their dampit and planet waves and sandwich size zip lock and damp sponge at worst once a month and at best every 5 days.

Both guitars seem to always play very much the same , meaning nothing stood out at all. The seagull is 11 years older.

With that said if I was doing this humidity deal wrong by now one of them would have issues , this is my main point.

I always seem to watch videos on these things and to be honest I get the concept , where I get dazed is all the ways and opinions do vary quite a bit , at least enough to create doubt.

Plus not one ever mentions all solid wood verses hard wood laminate back and sides and solid top. There is a difference at least as far as cracking sides and back on a solid wood. I realize even real wood laminate will dry out and shrink or swell from over doing it.

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / I was looking at maybe getting guitar case Hydrometers ?

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