What can I do about overhumidity?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Orcas_
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What can I do about overhumidity?

Post by Orcas_ » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:52 am

How I wish I was facing dry climate rather than humid climate, at least I could use a soundhole humidifier or an actually humidifier. I live in Los Angeles Cali, which is normally dry, but not in my room. Looking to buy a solid wood guitar but I want to address my issue with humidity before that


I use a humidity monitor and my room seems to hover around 65-70% rh. Yikes

I can’t run a dehumidifier unfortunately. I’m not home enough to monitor it nor can I afford to pay all the electricity bills. I’m planning on buying some “closet dehumidifiers” which are boxes of salt with holes on top that attract moisture but does anyone have any tips?

70% rh seems to be consistent.

I’ve searched around for options, but not much seems to be working nor am I finding much info on this

If anyone has experienced with too much humidity I would really appreciate some tips

DigitalisVersatilitus
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Re: What can I do about overhumidity?

Post by DigitalisVersatilitus » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:46 am

Hi Orcas,
I live in Sydney which is very hot and humid in summer. Summer temperatures range between 26 and 36 degree celsius. I have a hygrometer in my studio which today reads 70%. Most days it is between 60% and 75% hitting 80 when it rains. I own a Paulino Bernie M50 which was made to specs assuming 60% humidity. My house is not air conditioned and rightly or wrongly, I figure a guitar should be built to last. Taking a CG in and out of an de-humidified cabinet into normal atmosphere seems to me to to increase expansion and contraction stress on the timber. A luthier may have a different point of view. My guitar stands in the studio and lives with the conditions of the day. I call it seasonal adjustment. The studio is on the Eastern side of the house, gets about 3 hrs early morning sun and is otherwise sheltered.

I can say that apart from subtle tonal changes, after 3 years I have no reason to believe the Bernabe guitar is suffering. A luthier may say that is too short a time to judge as the effects are invisible until the timber splits. Perhaps so. My previous CG was a 65 Ramirez with a builder stamp PC and it has lived with me in Sydney conditions for 25 years until the time I sold it. Never a sign of construction or timber problems. In 1990 I had its finish refurbished by an experienced luthier and the construction and timber was pronounced as sound as a bell.

So considering your concern I would suggest that you talk to luthiers and buy a guitar with very good seasoned timber. Paulino Bernabe uses timbers with minimum 10 years seasoning. A luthier builds for the climate. If you buy from a luthier in Canada then move to Nevada, I can imagine there may be unpleasant surprises down the road.

Most luthiers recommend a humidified environment which matches that of the guitar construction environment. Yet it is obvious that professional musicians travelling internationally are going to be moving into widely different climates and into air conditioning which imposes a sudden change for the instrument. Luthiers know this and as far as possible build to last. If you buy an expensive instrument from a local luthier of repute you will get a product which can handle the Southern California climate. As you go down the price scale so the timber seasoning becomes a lesser quality and risks to permanence increase.

I hope this helps.

Cheers,

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bacsidoan
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Re: What can I do about overhumidity?

Post by bacsidoan » Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:07 pm

Place a couple of silica gel desiccant paks (like the one in the picture below) in side your guitar case, one at the headstock and one in the storage compartment. They can be revitalized by heating to 300º F in an oven.
Silica.jpg
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lagartija
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Re: What can I do about overhumidity?

Post by lagartija » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:50 pm

My house is not air conditioned and in the summer, the humidity goes up to 85% on occasion. We keep the window open at night to cool the house after a hot day, so it is not possible to lower the humidity. Conversely, in the winter, the humidity drops down to 30% or on occasion even lower! :shock: my guitar was made by Alan H. Chapman, a luthier who lives down the street from me. He made the guitar in 45% humidity and knew what the conditions would be in my house in summer, and he also knew that I was diligent in using a sound hole humidifier in winter when the humidity was below 40%. I have not had any problems with summer humidity although the sound of the guitar seems less crisp to me. It sounds great when the humidity is 45% or lower! But I would not take chances on the low side of the humidity scale. According to Alan, that can be far more damaging than high humidity, at least in our area of the country.
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Michael.N.
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Re: What can I do about overhumidity?

Post by Michael.N. » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:13 pm

It's not just your area of planet earth either, it applies everywhere. It's low humidity that causes the real damage, frequently witnessed by proud frets, cracks and bridges that suddenly pop off. High humidity is less of a problem.
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Re: What can I do about overhumidity?

Post by Philosopherguy » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:52 pm

I don't worry about a little over-humidity unless it were to be crazy high for a very long period of time. Under-humidity is more likely to make cracks. You might get a little bulging with very high over-humidity. But, most Spanish instruments should be made with fairly high humidity in mind. If you google "average humidity <whatever city> Spain" you find a website that shows that the average humidity where some of these guitars are made (assuming spanish made). A quick look at Madrid shows you that the humidity goes between 40-80% throughout the year. So obviously, the luthier would likely make the guitar to handle those conditions quite easily.

In Canada our problem isn't the high humidity in the summer where it frequently goes around 60% or more, it is the winters that can go as low as 20% and you wake up in the night or in the morning with extremely dry mouth/throat. I humidify my whole house, along with the guitar cases themselves just to keep the guitars in good condition.

The best idea is whatever guitar you buy, ask the luthier what humidity the guitar was made in and what it will likely handle without having any issues. My opinion, not as a luthier but as someone who works with wood for other purposes, is that guitars should easily handle +/- 15% of the humidity they were made in, and likely even a bit more without any real bad issues. I typically don't humidify my guitars unless the house is going below 35% humidity. I actually prefer the sound of the guitar being a tiny bit dry.

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simonm
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Re: What can I do about overhumidity?

Post by simonm » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:28 pm

Orcas_ wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:52 am
...
I use a humidity monitor and my room seems to hover around 65-70% rh. Yikes

...
That is what I would call perfectly normal humidity. I wouldn't even give it a second thought. …

Orcas_
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Re: What can I do about overhumidity?

Post by Orcas_ » Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:20 pm

DigitalisVersatilitus wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:46 am
Hi Orcas,
I live in Sydney which is very hot and humid in summer. Summer temperatures range between 26 and 36 degree celsius. I have a hygrometer in my studio which today reads 70%. Most days it is between 60% and 75% hitting 80 when it rains. I own a Paulino Bernie M50 which was made to specs assuming 60% humidity. My house is not air conditioned and rightly or wrongly, I figure a guitar should be built to last. Taking a CG in and out of an de-humidified cabinet into normal atmosphere seems to me to to increase expansion and contraction stress on the timber. A luthier may have a different point of view. My guitar stands in the studio and lives with the conditions of the day. I call it seasonal adjustment. The studio is on the Eastern side of the house, gets about 3 hrs early morning sun and is otherwise sheltered.

I can say that apart from subtle tonal changes, after 3 years I have no reason to believe the Bernabe guitar is suffering. A luthier may say that is too short a time to judge as the effects are invisible until the timber splits. Perhaps so. My previous CG was a 65 Ramirez with a builder stamp PC and it has lived with me in Sydney conditions for 25 years until the time I sold it. Never a sign of construction or timber problems. In 1990 I had its finish refurbished by an experienced luthier and the construction and timber was pronounced as sound as a bell.

So considering your concern I would suggest that you talk to luthiers and buy a guitar with very good seasoned timber. Paulino Bernabe uses timbers with minimum 10 years seasoning. A luthier builds for the climate. If you buy from a luthier in Canada then move to Nevada, I can imagine there may be unpleasant surprises down the road.

Most luthiers recommend a humidified environment which matches that of the guitar construction environment. Yet it is obvious that professional musicians travelling internationally are going to be moving into widely different climates and into air conditioning which imposes a sudden change for the instrument. Luthiers know this and as far as possible build to last. If you buy an expensive instrument from a local luthier of repute you will get a product which can handle the Southern California climate. As you go down the price scale so the timber seasoning becomes a lesser quality and risks to permanence increase.

I hope this helps.

Cheers,
Thanks, I wasn’t too aware as I typically hear that they want to be at 45-50% rh and never took much else into consideration.
One guitar I’m looking into is a Hirade H5, although with a good amount of luthiers around me I may opt to buy one from them

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Re: What can I do about overhumidity?

Post by simonm » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:15 am

Orcas_ wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:20 pm


I typically hear that they want to be at 45-50% rh and never took much else into consideration …
This is what is often quoted as ideal for building guitars. This gives them a better chance of surviving when exported to disparate climate zones and is related to international trade as much as to anything else. Climates don't come in nice standard 45%-55% humidity packages. :-)

Orcas_
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Re: What can I do about overhumidity?

Post by Orcas_ » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:32 am

simonm wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:15 am
Orcas_ wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:20 pm


I typically hear that they want to be at 45-50% rh and never took much else into consideration …
This is what is often quoted as ideal for building guitars. This gives them a better chance of surviving when exported to disparate climate zones and is related to international trade as much as to anything else. Climates don't come in nice standard 45%-55% humidity packages. :-)
Thank you for the info there! was unaware with that. Guess I don't have to be too worried about some sort of catastrophe happening to my guitars

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keithwwk
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Re: What can I do about overhumidity?

Post by keithwwk » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:53 am

Here in Singapore, without air-conditioning, average is 65% to 70% range. indoor. I am not worry too much or not keep the guitars back to case if meter show me 65%. I do keep them back to case once the reading reached 75% for days. For over 3 months now, almost raining everyday and the reading hit 90%. to 95%. :shock:

I am using industrial silica dry pack to keep guitar between 50% to 60%. Put one into soundhole and 1 in headstock or 1 in storage compartment if not sufficient. The pack can be reused by heating it at or less than 125°C. I think bacsidoan got a better pack which can reactivated only 3 hrs of heating. Both guitars sound best when the RH range is around 50%RH.

I am monitor the incase reading thru ambient weather wx10 remote sensors which come with 1 master display panel and 4 x hygrometers sensor. I put 1 sensor into soundhole and 1 at headstock to detect RH reading. With this, I can know the incase condition without open the case.
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Keith
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Re: What can I do about overhumidity?

Post by Keith » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:33 am

The first thing that came to mind concerned the accuracy of the hygrometer. Has the hygrometer been calibrated? Is it digital or analog? There are some good analog hygrometers for little money. Analog hygrometers can be calibrated. Always good to have two hygrometers to compare each to the other. I have three relatively inexpensive analog hygrometers and if I place them in the same room the variance between any one of them is about 1-3 points (all have been calibrated).

There is a way to reduce the humidity of the guitar by about 10 points without running a de-humidifier. First is to open or remove the lid that covers the little box inside of the guitar. This is the box to hold strings, etc. Many ABS cases have inner box lids that pull out so one does not have to perform surgery on the case. If the case is expensive and the lid cannot be temporarily removed or flipped opened without limiting the guitar to placed into the case, I would suggest getting an inexpensive hard shell case and cutting off the inner lid. Inside of the little box you can place an Eva-Dry non-electric, re-chargeable de-humidifier (they recharge, that is, eliminate absorb moisture by plugging into an electrical outlet). The smallest Eva-Dry should fit into the little box area. When I lived in Boston I frequently used them in my cases. Often the air was cool but humid and I did not have A/C. I found the Eva-Dry reduced the humidity inside of the case by about 10 points. You can use the smaller ones recommended by bacsidoan over the sound hole. I have found a 10 point drop, while still in the "safe range", can make a noticeable difference. Over humidified guitars can often sound muffled and a little dead.

By the way, Eva-Dry makes larger non-electric de-humidifiers which are used in closets and this may be another solution.
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Intune
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Re: What can I do about overhumidity?

Post by Intune » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:33 pm

As I understand it, the D'Addario 2-way humidification system that fits in your guitar's sound hole while it's in the case will absorb excess water in humid conditions and release it in dry conditions, thereby keeping your guitar in a healthy range. Search here for posts that discuss this system, and also look up the product online. It might help.
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chelson
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Re: What can I do about overhumidity?

Post by chelson » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:09 pm

keithwwk wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:53 am
.....monitor the incase reading thru ambient weather wx10 remote sensors which come with 1 master display panel and 4 x hygrometers sensor. I put 1 sensor into soundhole and 1 at headstock to detect RH reading. With this, I can know the incase condition without open the case.
Bro, Good idea! Did you order them online or there are shops here selling? Their website said they don't ship outside USA. Hope not too expensive.

I never dare to take them out of the case at all to play, especially these two weeks, has been raining round the clock none stop, only open them to replace their silica bags.

Regards!
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keithwwk
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Re: What can I do about overhumidity?

Post by keithwwk » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:09 pm

chelson wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:09 pm

Bro, Good idea! Did you order them online or there are shops here selling? Their website said they don't ship outside USA. Hope not too expensive.

I never dare to take them out of the case at all to play, especially these two weeks, has been raining round the clock none stop, only open them to replace their silica bags.

Regards!
Hey Chelson, try Amazon dot com :D
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