Many guitar players know about humidifying their guitars, but few ask if they can over humidify them.
To avoid effects of a dry guitar like:
- String buzz.
- Protruding fret wire.
- Sunken top.
- Rattling tuning peg bushings.
- Loosened machine head screws.
- Internal braces splitting.
- Glue letting loose anywhere… X-bracing, bridge, embellishments…
- Cracking finish.
- Split guitar top.
Why not really soak it up?
Keep it in a moist climate, or let it hang out when you’re squeaking a rubber duckie in a steamy bath.
Really keep it from drying to kindling wood.
As bad as it is letting your guitar get too dry, too moist can be worse.
And more expensive to repair.
What are early signs of a wet guitar?
An early sign your guitar is sponging up moisture like an Irishman at the pub is when the action becomes high.
You may not notice it if wood gradually swells and the top begins to raise. But if you feel it’s getting harder to play, it’s worth a check.
If you sight down your fretboard and see the bridge is higher in plane to the fretboard, that’s a pretty good sign.
Your guitar’s tone will turn limper than a pool cue made of rope.
This can easily be mistaken for simply needing a new set of strings.
Don’t be fooled
What happens if you over humidify your acoustic guitar?
- Wood swells.
- Sound is dull and wimpy.
- Bindings and embellishments loosen.
- Glue joints fail.
- Bracings loosen.
- Bridge starts to come free.
- Wood begins to warp.
- Finish begins to lift.
- Neck angles go bad.
Man, more bad stuff.
Don’t fret, my friend.
A few simple techniques and a good hygrometer will let you keep your guitar at the right humidity
Use a hygrometer.
The easiest way to know the temperature and humidity of your guitar is to use a reliable and accurate hygrometer.
It’s extremely accurate compared to most other brands we’ve researched. Some brands had a gasping plus or minus 10% accuracy.
I’m pretty sure that is horrifically terrible.
SensorPush is extremely accurate, and will send an alert to your smart phone if it drops below preset humidity and temperature limits.
And, we can check on the guitars anytime.
Most guitar makers agree, the safe zone for your instrument is between 45 and 55 percent relative humidity. That can vary slightly depending on who’s doing the talking.
Here at Acoustic Tunesmith, we have the hygrometer set to alert if it drops below 45% or exceeds 55%.
That gives us time to take action before it becomes a problem.
If your guitar is too wet and you haven’t been over humidifying it, it’s the climate.
You’ll want to get it in a dry environment. Take care not to make it too drastic of a change. You don’t want to create a situation getting it dried out too quickly.
One way is to take your guitar out of its case, then use a hair dryer on the inside of the case for five or ten minutes.
Then put your guitar back in the case.
Do this several times a day for a few days.
Great if it’s a temporary situation, but what about living in high humidity?.
Use a room dehumidifier.
If you live in humid climates along large bodies of water, or are a pale-skinned basement dweller, humidity levels can run high.
Using a room dehumidifier can be very useful to control the climate.
Be sure to empty the collection pan regularly or keep the drain hose from getting plugged up with those lint snot balls or dirt.
Try humidity packs.
You can buy humidity packs designed to help keep your guitar from experiencing too much or too little humidity.
Simply put the packs in the sound hole of your guitar and in the head stock of your case, and that’s it.
But these packs won’t last forever. You’ll need to swap them out from time to time.
Again, a reliable hygrometer is key to monitoring pack replacement.
The most important thing is to keep continual watch on your guitar’s humidity. Then, take action before drastic changes are necessary, or your guitar falls into a heap inside its case.
Over all, it’s pretty easy to keep your best friend sounding and feeling sassy if you use the right tools.