Humidity and Your Guitar Print E-mail

As we are entering the dry winter months it is important that you protect your guitar from low humidity.  High quality acoustic guitars are generally built at around 45% humidity and usually the better instruments are crafted with solid woods.  Solid wood guitars are more sensitive to dry and temperature extremes than less expensive laminated wood guitars; part of the price to pay for better tone.

It is easier for an instrument to endure high humidity than low because wood will expand and can usually take the pressure without anything coming apart.  Although I don't really recommend using your guitar right next to a lake or river for very long as it can throw it into a tizzy that will last for a few days.  One effect higher humidity has is that it has a tendency to cause the soundboard to rise which will cause the action to be higher than it normaly would be.  Some players have different height saddles for different seasons.  Extremely high humidity environments should be avoided.

A good investment for your home and instrument is a hygrometer which will tell you what your humidity level is at.  The best humidity level is near the level at which your instrument was built so ideally we would like our homes to be 40% to 60% or so.  If humidity levels begin hovering around 35% or lower for very long we should be purchasing an instrument humidifier which stays inside your case.  Most music stores will have them.  And always keep your guitar in the case when not in use.

Remember low humidity and high temperatures are the real killers.  If wood shrinks it has nowhere to go except to crack.  NEVER store your guitar near heaters or heater ducts and NEVER carry it in your car trunk in hot weather. 

Be especially cautious with your NEW instrument as it is more likely to check or crack in its first few years of life.  Take good care of your guitar and as the wood ages (and through use) you can expect the tone of your guitar to be sweeter and sweeter.




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