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Old 10-27-2008, 10:11 PM   #1
captivate
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Humidity: A friendly reminder for those winter months!

The winter season is soon approaching and the fiery furnaces are starting to be lit, one by one. Soon, a gust of dry air from the country of vents will come to pillage your village, rape your women, give you a bloody nose, and dry out your guitar(s).

Okay, well maybe my description is a bit over the top, but I just wanted to remind you all to be safe and break out those humidifiers as soon as your heating units come on! There's nothing worse than having to shell out $300 for a crack and lifted bridge repair on your brand new, less than 6 months old _________ guitar that you just spent $X on.


Some General Information.

How do you know if you need a humidifier?

If you have a guitar made of all(top, sides, and back) solid wood then you'll definitely need a humidifier. It's that simple. Just keep the humidifier and the guitar in its hard shell case throughout the period of time that you have your heater on.

If you have a soft case for acoustic then... you're kinda screwed.

If you have a solid top acoustic then it's not as vital that you have one, but it is much preferred. Humidity damage can still occur.

If you have a guitar made of all Laminate, then this announcement is not for you and I just wasted 2 minutes of your life making you read this.

What levels should my humidity be at?
The humidity should be between 40-60%. No higher, no lower.

What humidifier should I buy?
To be honest, any sound hole or case humidifier will do.

How often should I humidify?
As a general reference, just keep the guitar and the humidifier in a hard case at all times and you should be fine. Of course, there are some climates which are much more humid and do not require this much humidity, but as a general rule of thumb, just keep it in.

How can I tell the relative humidity of my house/apartment/living quarters?
You can buy an electronic device that measures relative humidity. It's called a Hygrometer and can be obtained for about $20-30(at least where I live, anyway). You can usually find it at your local hardware store.

What kind of water should I use?
Always use distilled water. You can buy it at most large grocery stores. Distilled water is just water without any minerals--pure water. It's important to use distilled water because certain humidifiers can grow mold.

Can I make my own humidifier?
Why yes. Yes you can.
Just be sure to ring out the material you use to hold the water. You can cause water damage to your guitar if you let it drip. With this kind of home made humidifier, you'll also need to re-wet the material quite often(every day or two, whereas store bought humidifiers can last up to a week or so).

NOTE:
The most important thing about humidity care is to keep your guitar in the right humidity levels.(40-60%. Somewhere closer to 50% is better.) I wrote this article from my own perspective--I live in a climate that requires a humidifier. Some places may need a DEHUMIDIFIER because there is TOO much humidity(Normally in warmer coastal areas).


That's all for my proclamation. If you have any questions then please ask them in this thread.
Note: Yes, I do realize that I'm a complete nerd
Keep your guitars safe, people!


EDIT: Here's a few videos I found on the Taylor website that explains exactly what happens when you do not humidify a guitar.

http://www.taylorguitars.com/see-hear/
On the right, click on "Performance Tips/Maintenance"

The effects of a dry guitar can be quite devastating. Don't let it happen to you.
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:13 PM   #2
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I love you for this. In a non homo way.
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:11 AM   #3
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But mine is a high grade laminate Eastwood LA125 im confused lol.

What im kidding lol.
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Old 10-28-2008, 02:57 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reminder. I need to go get one of these.
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Old 10-28-2008, 04:47 AM   #5
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Cheers, I'll keep an eye out for a humidifier. Do electrics need humidifiers as well?
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Old 10-28-2008, 08:07 AM   #6
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electric guitars? nahh.

EDIT: yes for electric-acoustic guitars though, if that's what you meant.
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Old 10-28-2008, 04:50 PM   #7
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Yay for laminate!


Actually, I don't have a clue what my guitar is made out of (definately nothing solid). I only know the fretboard and bridge. wood.
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Old 10-28-2008, 05:35 PM   #8
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By friendly he means:


"Use a dehumidifier or die... twice!"
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Old 10-28-2008, 06:40 PM   #9
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uuummm a few questions... what's distill was compared to still water i guess you would say?

and like what are all the tempuratures? like is there too much dehumidifying/humidifying whatever be the case? or is it just as simple as stick it in your case and your fine?
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shampooboy37
uuummm a few questions... what's distill was compared to still water i guess you would say?

and like what are all the tempuratures? like is there too much dehumidifying/humidifying whatever be the case? or is it just as simple as stick it in your case and your fine?


Distilled water is basically just pure water. No minerals, no anything else. Just water. Normal water(still water) has minerals in them. If you put normal water into your humidifier, minerals will build up over time and then ruin your humidifier. The planet wave humidifiers had a problem with mold when people used tap water in them.

In the winter time, just sticking it in your case at all times will be fine. Im assuming that you still play your guitar during the winter time, so it gets exposed to dry air as well as humidified air inside the case. It'll balance out.

As for temperature, do NOT leave your guitar in a cold car. Just as heat is bad for a guitar, so is the cold. Excessively cold temperatures will ruin the guitar because of the different materials that your guitar is made of. Each will shrink at different rates, which can cause brittleness in the glue. If you do leave your guitar in the cold for too long, take it inside to room temperature and leave it in your case to slowly adjust back to normality. The cold isn't as bad as the heat(on average), but damage to your guitar will cost you money to repair all the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Confusius
By friendly he means:


"Use a dehumidifier or die... twice!"

Only twice? Thats a bit too easy.
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captivate
electric guitars? nahh.

EDIT: electric-acoustic guitars though, if that's what you meant.

Nah, I meant full blown electrics. I'm not too worried about by acoustic, it's got plastic back and sides. Yes, it makes me cry.
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Old 10-29-2008, 04:32 AM   #12
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Have you had any experience with the Kyser Lifeguard humidifier? I am getting it for free but I've been told that I shouldn't even bother with it.
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Old 10-29-2008, 06:12 AM   #13
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How cold are we talking to ruin a guitar or at least hurt?
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Old 10-29-2008, 07:01 AM   #14
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If you can't get distilled water, head down to your local hardware store. We sell it at work $4 for 4 litres.
I guess humidifiers, like acoustic guitars don't like heavy metals

Although I don't have an acoustic worthy of humidifying. And we are heading into summer down here, not winter.
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Old 10-29-2008, 08:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marchoso
Have you had any experience with the Kyser Lifeguard humidifier? I am getting it for free but I've been told that I shouldn't even bother with it.

No idea on this one marchoso. I use an Oasis case humidifier. I have experience with the Planet Waves humidifier as well. Everyone I know uses either one or the other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A Tua Prima
How cold are we talking to ruin a guitar or at least hurt?

Any prolonged exposure can't be good. It's hard to tell what's going to damage your guitar. It's different for everyone. When I mean "cold", I'm talking about say... 0 degrees Celsius or under.

Ohh yea, let me explain why you need to let your guitar rest in its case if you've left it in the cold by accident. You need to leave the guitar in it's case to SLOWLY return to room temperature. If you just open the case in room temperature while your case and guitar are much colder, your guitar could just instantly crack when you open it up. The temperature difference can do that. Also, the guitar, being much colder, can have condensation formed when you do that. Which could lead to electronics problems.
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:57 AM   #16
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IMHO, it's worth spending $20 at radioshack to get something like this.


http://www.radioshack.com/product/i...rentPage=search

It's also worth spending about 5 minutes and reading this essay on humidity from Larrivee guitars.
http://www.larrivee.com/5_features/...Wood_essay.html

If you're thinking tl:dr, then you probably don't care about your guitars, but the summary is somewhere around 40-55% relative humidity is a safe range.

Hopefully this is helpful. I use a Hygrometer and a humidifier since I have 8 guitars in the room mounted on the wall and it's more practical than keeping them all in cases. Then again I live in the most temperate place in the country so it's not as big a deal.

One last note from the Larrivee essay "Dehydration accounts for about 90% of climate based repairs." Don't be a statistic peoples. Love your guitars.

-J
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Old 11-01-2008, 05:28 PM   #17
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wtf distilled water?

whats the difference between that and tap?
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Old 11-01-2008, 05:39 PM   #18
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how much is a humidifier?
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Old 11-02-2008, 12:12 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GibsonRocker14
wtf distilled water?

whats the difference between that and tap?

I don't like quoting myself because it makes me look like a prick, but...
Quote:
Originally Posted by captivate
Distilled water is basically just pure water. No minerals, no anything else. Just water. Normal water(still water) has minerals in them. If you put normal water into your humidifier, minerals will build up over time and then ruin your humidifier. The planet wave humidifiers had a problem with mold when people used tap water in them.


As for the cost of a humidifier, it's under $20 normally. I got mine for $17. It'll basically last you forever so... it's worth investing in.
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Old 11-02-2008, 08:29 AM   #20
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I asked about one of these (here in the UK) in a decent guitar shop in town and they told me I wouldn't need one for sure basically straight away? My taylor is a 314-ce, in a proper hardcase about 4 or 5 metres away from the radiator.

I've only had it a short time (picked it up 2nd hand for 200!) and it was living by the radiator with no case the whole time...
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