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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / All you guys that worry about humidity...

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stratcowboy
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USA/Taos, NM

Jan 4th, 2018 05:49 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Well...must be your specific locale. Here in the southern Rockies...well...we're waaaaaaay better off. We've currently got a humidity level of 10%.

Yes...I put one of those Music Nomad soundhole humidifiers in. Works great. When I owned a Westerly Guild F-50 blonde back in the '70s, I used a travel soap dish punched with a bunch holes, and a regular sponge inside. So some of us were worried about this stuff back then. But there certainly wasn't an industry built around it.

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Jan 4th, 2018 05:56 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Jeez, stratcowboy, that's subtropical compared to here!

We went for a hike today, it was 52 degrees, sunny, with no wind whatsoever. Not normal. We need snow.

HeavyDuty
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Northeast IL

Not very bright but does lack ambition
Jan 4th, 2018 07:46 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

One of the reasons I switched to carbon fiber acoustics...

catnineblue

LA , Calif

I try my best
Jan 4th, 2018 08:30 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have a 2004 Seagull S series grand. For the first 4 years I never had any case humidifiers, didn't even know they existed. Point is it played great until I decided to add a dampit. I called a tech here in Hollywood CA who does repairs , Neely Guitars and he told me I should never have added this or any sort of humidifier. Since then about 1 1/2 years ago I haven't and it still has not changed meaning it has never been the same.

I can see the bridge tilts a bit down near the sound hole and like high action yet it's higher than I want so soon I will lower the saddle which has plenty of height to bring in down from 1/8" to 3/32" at the 12th fret low E. Also the original saddle was a very loose fit . Never noticed this until one day I removed all the strings and it fell out so I got a new one and shimmed it since Graph Tech only offers one thickness. I need to lower it by 1/16" at the saddle and shim it on the neck side instead of the lower bout side. I guess Seagull routed the slot to wide on this one. Plus on the treble side the slot had a lip that did not allow the saddle to sit fully down on the slot. I trimmed that away and replaced the saddle.

I've read at a certain age guitars settle into their environment 6 years if I recall and since only the top is solid wood spruce it never cracked yet it did sink a bit. I never measured the action when I got it or checked for how the neck was and it does have a bit of fall away from the 12 fret to the sound hole. I do think it was level years ago. I had a 2002 AMI 12 fret and even though it had a ply top it sounded great it was the Almond model. It was my go to above the grand yet I liked the 14 fret deal. I have a Epi EL-00 Pro and like it better because for me a 12" radius works better than the Seagull 18". I keep the Epi humidified and it's a 2012 Model. It seems pretty stable and the frets are a bit taller. Seems to high of action on an acoustic puts to much strain or leverage on the top. Seagull states 7/32" low E 12th fret. I can see the saddle on the Seagull grand does tip toward the neck so I will lower 1/16" and shim that side.

Ragtop
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Jan 5th, 2018 07:40 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hey, Peegoo, now I'm curious; what kind of problems can you have with a humidifier attached to your HVAC system?

MJB
Contributing Member
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Who's we sucka?

Smith, Wesson and me.
Jan 5th, 2018 07:49 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If you do decide to add a humidifier to your furnace, they are normally in the ductwork downstream of the actual furnace. The furnace can be replaced without disturbing the humidifier.

I too would prefer stand alone units as they are easier maintenance.

It's a thing of the past for me as I now live in east central Florida. 64% RH outside right now.

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Jan 5th, 2018 08:15 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Maybe I should send my guitars to you, MJB, for a couple weeks of R&R.

Although, I must admit, they sound really good right now and hold their tune well.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Curled up

in the fecal position
Jan 5th, 2018 09:01 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Ragtop, whole-house humidifiers can cause rust in the metal ductwork if they go out of adjustment.

They can also be a breeding ground for mold spores, bacteria, and other stuff if not properly maintained.

The AMA recognizes a condition commonly known as humidifier fever, which is a low-level bacterial infection of the lungs. It presents like minor flu symptoms that are persistent despite treatment, because once the medication runs out, the cause takes over and the person is sick again.

Ultrasonic humidifiers are safer in this regard because they don't operate by passing forced air over or through a wet membrane; there's no place for bacteria to grow.

Hammond101
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So. Cal. USA

Jan 5th, 2018 09:39 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

My acoustics are stored in their cases with humidifiers and hygrometers. It's been very dry in SoCal and my electrics on the wall are suffering a bit even with a humidifier running.

A Tele that I built about 6 weeks ago now has a slight amount of fret sprout and I had to completely redo the set up.

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Jan 5th, 2018 09:46 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Interesting, Peegoo, thanks. Actually, I used to worry about mold and bacteria. My previous 4 houses, all back in eastern Nebraska, had HVAC humidifiers, and each year I would change that aluminum wick. It got pretty gross over the course of time.

As I mentioned, I also use an ultrasonic humidifier in my guitar room. Those things are pretty slick and really crank out the mist. Only drawback is that they require distilled water, which is kind of a PIA, seems like I'm always running to the store for more.

stratcowboy
Contributing Member
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USA/Taos, NM

Jan 5th, 2018 10:10 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"They can also be a breeding ground for mold spores, bacteria, and other stuff if not properly maintained."

Legionnaire's Disease...anyone??? I'll take a pass and go with the in-case solutions.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Curled up

in the fecal position
Jan 5th, 2018 11:31 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

You can distill your own water at home.

A purpose-made countertop distiller pays for itself in short order.

Go to the Amazon link above and shop around.

One like this.

Doc Sarvis
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USA/Salt Lake City

Tuned Strings and Tight Lines
Jan 6th, 2018 04:34 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

My Martin D28 has fifteen un-humidified years living out of its case in Salt Lake City with zero issues. I tried using a humidifier at first but I'm just too lazy to stick with it. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Gene from Tampa
Contributing Member
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Tampa, FL

Press On Irregardless
Jan 8th, 2018 01:49 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have had my acoustics on stands since I moved to Tampa 12 years ago. I have also heard/read that after a relatively short number of years, if a guitar was to crack it would have happened already. So the wood acclimated to the ambient humidity and you don't need to worry about it anymore after say 5 (? - I don't remember the number) years.

(This message was last edited by Gene from Tampa at 03:49 PM, Jan 8th, 2018)

Hammond101
Contributing Member
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So. Cal. USA

Jan 8th, 2018 05:49 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have formulated my own thoughts on humidity and acoustic guitars. I think current manufactures using solid woods build with humidified tome woods to decrease loss from cracking in curing and production. It's then up to us to continue the trend.

jhawkr
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Wichita, KS USA

It's all gravy from here on...
Jan 9th, 2018 04:52 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I use in-case humidifiers for my acoustics and run a 12 gallon humidifier for the electrics. Several of my Mexican Fenders have a problem with fret-sprout and it's very difficult to get the necks re-hydrated. RH outside has been as low as 10% this winter and is usually about 25-30%. My humidifier can put out about a gallon per hour so I have to fill it up twice a day when running. I try to keep the guitar room at 40-50%. I have several hollow and semi-hollow body guitars too that I am concerned about during the winter months as well.

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Jan 9th, 2018 09:46 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have a home-built Tele with a MIM neck. I just checked it, and it's showing a bit of fret sprout.

Not enough to worry about, I don't think. It's a rugged ol' thing.

Homemade Telecaster

thumbpicker
Contributing Member
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St. Louis

"Thumbpicks don't slide into soundholes"
Jan 28th, 2018 09:53 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I use a console humidifier in the guitar area to keep things on an even keel in cases and out. That way I don't have to mess with case digging all the time.

I think as folks have changed the way guitars are built in humidified factories and tighter tolerances the wood stability has improved.

Sadly a perfect guitar when it leaves the factory may crack,bend,bow or whatever when the humidity changes. Some woods and even a specific tree out of a dozen may cause a problem.

To make matters worse unlike an electric guitar which is usually sealed well inside and out by paints or finishes the acoustic is bare wood everywhere on the inside even though it's sealed on the outside which causes more rapid water content variables in the wood.

Perhaps this is why some of the older guitars were about bulletproof and the newer models are prone to crack etc.

Years ago I thought that all the humidity stuff folks were jabbering about was bunk and left a Martin out on a stand in my unhumidified toy area for a month or too one winter. When I picked it up one day to play it I noticed the fret board was not cracked but I could see that the grain and pores in the wood were really opened up enough to be seen by the casual eye to the point you could feel the grain with a fingernail and the finish was rougher and sort of rippled across the grain of the wood. I also noticed the action and setup was changing. I put it in the case with a sound hole humidifier and after about three or four days the action returned to normal, the finish smoothed out and the fretboard returned to it's normal smooth appearance with the pores closed again.

My results made a believer out of me. This guitar was new in 1990 and there was no lasting damage but the environment the guitar is used to is probably the key. Now in the summer I have to run a dehumidifier to keep things level as well.

910ken

United States

Feb 8th, 2018 11:17 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have been in the HVAC business for 20+ years. We don't have supper low humidity in northern ohio but during the winter a house can easily drop below 20%. Way too dry for most people.

Just telling you my experience here,but a good quality well installed central humidifier can change lives. Sometimes a customer will say they didn't notice a difference but that is usually not the case. Normally people tell me how much better they sleep and awake without that dry nose and dry skin. How sparks don't fly when they take their clothes from the dryer. Usually people can keep the thermostat 1 and even 2 degrees lower and be comfortable.

Modern humidifiers really can't cause furnance damage if installed correctly. 40+ years ago this was more common. And the only time I see mold build up is when the furnace is in a very damp basement/crawlspace setting. Usually they are dry as bone when I pull the cover off. Just change the water panel every 2 years, and that has gotten so oooo much easier. Once in a while there will be calcium build up depending on the water quality.

Agian this is just my experience in my location. If you start to get water on the inside of windows turn the humidiStat down. 35% is usually what folks settle on.

910ken

United States

Feb 8th, 2018 11:28 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The brand I install is Aprilaire. No affiliation nor am I soliciting work. I am always jammed . I use exclusively the bypass style. A 500M would work in most houses. The "automatic power" units ARE a bit more troublesome but still not bad.You could see the differences on line.

To reiterate (I love that word) this is my experience, in my location, but they have come a long way with these systems in the past 25 years. The old black power units from this manufacturer were a real PITA but they haven't made those in many many years.This is a small part of my business but I have probably 50 of these out there plus the existing ones that I service.


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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / All you guys that worry about humidity...




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