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  #1  
Old 09-05-2021, 11:36 AM
dkstott dkstott is offline
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Default Humidify in winter

Wondering if there's anything special about providing humidity in the winter for archtop guitars.

Soundhole humifiers certainly won't work. 🤔🤔
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Old 09-05-2021, 12:11 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Most places I've lived the humidity drops in the winter. Most of my instruments are arch top with carved top and back. These tend to be thicker wood than flattops, but I humidify them all. I have a couple of humdifiers that I keep my insulated, heated basement music room at 40% - 50% relative humidity.
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Old 09-05-2021, 01:06 PM
Taylor814 Taylor814 is offline
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A cello Dampit would work.
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Old 09-05-2021, 02:37 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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I've never known anyone to have humidity issues with a pre-1970 instrument - of course, as a rule they weren't built with kiln-dried woods...
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Old 09-05-2021, 02:40 PM
jdrnd jdrnd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
I've never known anyone to have humidity issues with a pre-1970 instrument - of course, as a rule they weren't built with kiln-dried woods...

Doesn't all wood absorb water unless its sealed on all sides?
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Old 09-05-2021, 02:49 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdrnd View Post
Doesn't all wood absorb water unless it's sealed on all sides?
True, but the properly air-dried/seasoned stuff is inherently more stable from the get-go - something violin makes have known for centuries...
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Old 09-06-2021, 01:01 AM
Dave Richard Dave Richard is offline
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I own and have repaired many vintage acoustic archtops, mostly Epiphones and Gibsons. Some had obviously suffered from dry conditions in the past, having a few, or many, top and or back cracks. I think it is important to keep these guitars humidified, if kept in low humidity conditions( below 35%?). If in doubt, use a Dampit-style humidifier, suspended in the f-hole. Carved top/back instruments may be less susceptible to cracks(because they lack the cross-bracing(that is, x-bracing) of a flattop, but, in the wrong conditions(very dry), they will crack.
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Old 09-06-2021, 01:43 PM
blackie51 blackie51 is offline
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Quote:
If in doubt, use a Dampit-style humidifier, suspended in the f-hole.
I've been doing this for years with my '39 Gibson Black Special, along with a perforated soap box/sponge humidifier at the headstock. Works fine for this old archtop.

Tom
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Old 11-21-2021, 02:33 PM
RJVB RJVB is online now
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There's also a case humidifier that takes the form of a little box with a special kind of clay in it, I think marketed by Dunlop. I use that with my resonator (when ambient humidity drops well under 40%). It has the advantage of not needing to be watered as often as a Dampit.
And if your f-holes aren't too narrow, a d'Addario humidifier might work, too.

Or just use an ambient humidifier; we ourselves do better at 45-55% humidity too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
True, but the properly air-dried/seasoned stuff is inherently more stable from the get-go - something violin makes have known for centuries...
Yet the cited Dampit is designed for the violin family, and used by players thereof. Even with new instruments, but older ones often have (repaired) cracks and other marks of the time that don't like big, fast humidity changes.

I think that it's best for wooden instrument to limit humidity changes. Sure, a good new instrument may not really care about day-to-day fluctuations if it's in its case, but as soon as you start playing it it enters a kind of microclimate where it can be a lot more humid, even if you don't leave the room. Maybe all the effect that will ever have is tuning instability, but that alone is reason enough for me to humidify.
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Old 11-21-2021, 06:06 PM
dkstott dkstott is offline
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Thanks for all the tips.

I decided to go with a D'addario humid pak and an oasis humidifier inside my Godin case. This might be overkill for most of the winter.

But when we fire up the wood stove, even with room humidifiers, the house will go down to the low of 20% range.
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Old 11-22-2021, 05:32 AM
RJVB RJVB is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkstott View Post
But when we fire up the wood stove, even with room humidifiers, the house will go down to the low of 20% range.
Wow, that's not ideal for anything! I don't have humidifiers (not necessary most of the time here, on the contrary) but this year when we approached 30% humidity I started to hang damp laundry to dry upstairs where I keep my instruments. And where I took my classes over "corona video" so that was a bit of a challenge but it was a rather useful hack of a solution
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Old 11-22-2021, 05:41 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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mmm, good point. Cold dry weather has arrived this weekend, and a glance at the nearest (of many) hygrometers strategically placed about my haouse indicate 45%

I use Music Nomad sound hole humidifiers for my flat tops but they also offer em with "holsters" which can be stuck to the wall of your case. I use these for my 12 strings.

see : https://www.musicnomadcare.com/Products/Humidity-Care/
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  #13  
Old 11-22-2021, 06:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
the nearest (of many) hygrometers strategically placed about my haouse
I presume you are aware that consumer hygrometers often have an impressive margin of error. I think the ones that came with my weather station are accurate only within 10% - and indeed, if I put all the probes plus the basestation next to each other there can be about that much variation in their readings. I thus have 2 of them upstairs

"Fun" observation: a neigbour of mine lives in a centuries huge old farm building that's had multiple "upgrades" over the years. Sometime early this year, probably during the dry spell, one of the huge beams holding up the 1st floor snapped, apparently because of the weight of the bathroom constructed up there at that location. Those are squared-off chunks of oak that I eyeball at 40-60cm cross-section at least, so she got the wood analysed (around the break I presume). It was declared sound (as in not rotten or structurally weakened by borers) but I wouldn't be surprised if the low humidity had something to do with its failure.
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  #14  
Old 11-22-2021, 08:02 AM
Richard Mott Richard Mott is offline
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Here is a vote for using a cello Dampit to humidify an archtop—although I had to cut and tape off one end to fit in the f-hole. But it works great and no issues.
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  #15  
Old 11-29-2021, 02:34 PM
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We moved to Denver in 2019. First winter was brutally dry; last year was not bad at all (45% humidity in the house).

Since moving to Denver, I keep all 18 guitars in their cases and put 2 to 3 Bovida humidifier gel packs in each case. May be overkill, but better safe than sorry, in my opinion. In the driest winter, I had to change the gel packs every 3 months. Last year, I went 6 months before replacing.

I think any wooden instrument can be adversely by humidity issues. I had a semi hollow laminated body guitar where the neck dried out and fret ends lifted.

Never hurts to keep a hygrometer in the room or closet where you store you guitar(s).

We've moved back to California (near San Diego) recently where the climate seems better suited for wooden instruments.
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