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

Previous 20 Messages  
Gene from Tampa
Contributing Member

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)

Contributing Member

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.

Contributing Member

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.

Contributing Member

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

Contributing Member

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.


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.


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.


LA , Calif

I try my best
Feb 18th, 2018 11:56 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

When I lived in IL I had a 66 Gibson solid wood 12 string I got new and an 66 J-160E I won in a band competition deal. I new nothing about humidification and lived in a finished basement that had floor heating of coiled copper tubing set in the concrete.

It was not a dry heat and I never had an issue.

I didn't think of humidification until 2009 and the acoustics I have only have solid tops and Have lived in southern Calif since 81.

I keep all my guitars in a small closet and don't have case Hygrometers yet do have a analog stew mac model and keep them in their cases and use a dampit and planet waves sound hole and a sponge in a zip lock near the head stock. I check the RH and temp daily and make sure the sponges are just damp as well as the sound hole devices.

On Taylor guitars I saw a chart.

" 20-35% 5 to 7 days - 35-45% 10 to 14 days - 20% use 2nd sponge." I imagine most Taylor's he refers to are solid wood.

I prefer case hydrometers yet read even those are off yet probably better since they read in case temp and RH.

I also read and believe two things . After 4 to 5 years guitars acclimate and become stable which to me means they still need 40 to 50% RH to keep them up yet they won't crack if you don't, and new guitar wood has to now be in the form of a guitar and thus adjust to this. Also wood changes over time with string tension so you need to set them up.

I feel once a guitar lives 5 years and makes it because every guitar wood depending on the tree and type of wood will either live together or fail.

Anything can happen with wood. Even building it over seas then shipping it and where it ends up and how long it lives there before it is shipped once again places strain and some times rapid changes. Even if it's built in the US and shipped to Calif to a retailer it may be bought on line or store and shipped over seas or back to the state it was built.

If one bought one from guitar center who knows where they got it, same with the on line musicians friend. WE know it was shipped since to my knowledge no company sells right out of the factory unless you are some famous musician and even then they travel.

This is one reason I feel guitars need a setup no matter how much they cost. Guitars I've built here I built on the dry days and not one changed one bit.

Just my 1/2 cent since no one cares what I think.

Previous 20 Messages  

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

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