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Old 07-21-2019, 09:07 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Default Desert dwellers, tell me how you deal with the lack of humidity

I just visited with family around Reno, NV. Years ago my elderly aunt bought my cousin a cheap acoustic guitar but grumbled to me recently that she never sees him play it.

On our last night of our trip my wife, son and I paid my cousin and his wife a visit at their home. During the course of our conversation the topic of guitars came up and he mentioned that the reason he doesn't play his is because the "neck is all twisted."

As he was showing us around his home, I spotted the guitar case leaning in the corner of his office. It was in a soft shell gig bag which was unzipped. Bear in mind that my cousin is not a guitar player - well, actually he used to play electric bass guitar - but he clearly knows nothing about the care and feeding of an acoustic guitar.

I didn't bother to look inside but I knew that since I'm the only one in my family with a "guitar problem" my elderly aunt gifted him with it it was likely a cheap Pac Rim laminate. IIRC I told my aunt to buy him a Yamaha, but I actually didn't recognize the name on the headstock at after only a brief glance as we left the room. If that's any indicator, then what I'm probably looking at is something with a nato neck that was made in a subtropical climate.

So (after that long winded story) what can be done? I'm an admitted guitar abuser but ultimately I feel that music is the best form of therapy and any guitar can be tweaked so that it can make at least a pleasing noise. I figure being an ex-bass player he could probably work with higher action and if he's got angst over his dad dying and his sister being a deadbeat then what better instrument to do it?

Here's what I'm thinking:

Gift him with hard shell case on special at the local Guitar Center with a set of silk and steel strings, a Planet Waves hygrometer, a couple of damp sponge in sandwich bags by the headstock and a few dampits to plug into the soundhole and have him seal the beater up inside for about a month.

I'm thinking it couldn't hurt, but likely it's not going to cure what's ailing that guitar. If anything, it will educate him and make playing it less painful. What do you guys think?

FWIW I'd really like to do is build him a kit guitar, but I don't want that to implode from that dry and hot Nevada climate. He's the one I credit with getting me interested in playing guitar decades ago and I sort of want to pay it back. I didn't really learn how to take care of guitars until I had a couple of Pac Rim guitars implode from neglect like this one.
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Old 07-21-2019, 09:34 AM
thomasinaz thomasinaz is offline
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Hard sided cases and lots of humidification is how I deal with the dry climate in AZ. From late Fall to early Spring the house is humidified with a portable humidifier. It keeps the house at 45-50% easily. Humidipacks are in each guitar/case all the time, and they stay soft when I humidify the whole house. During the hot dry months it's just too uncomfortable to keep the house humidity up. So I supplement with damp sponges in plastic containers, with holes drilled in the tops. I move the drier humidipacks next to the sponges in the case regularly to keep them soft. Something I just do it when I take a guitar out to play it. We're still waiting for the Monsoon season to hit which will bring natural humidity with it. Also if you do give him any kind of humidifying sponges make sure they're only used with distilled water. The tap water out here in the west has all kinds of minerals and stuff that will make the sponges nasty.
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Old 07-21-2019, 09:39 AM
Rumblefish Rumblefish is offline
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A Humidifier. Same as everywhere else I've lived, just more. If I did a lot of outdoor gigs I'd consider carbon fiber or maybe an all torrified guitar.
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Old 07-21-2019, 09:46 AM
colder colder is offline
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Hard case is a must. Better is a case with a tightly fitting lid like a Hiscox case, with limited air movement from inside and outside of the case.

Then use the Oasis humidifiers or the sponge type. In a dry climate those Humidipaks go dry so fast that you'll spend a fortune on them.
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Old 07-21-2019, 09:46 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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My solution has become carbon fiber guitars. After years of fighting sub 20% RH during the long winters in Alaska, and some low wintertime RH's here in Idaho too, I've paid my dues. So I have several CF guitars now that live out handy for play anytime and require zero humidity care. My wooden guitars are slowly leaving as they sell off. If CF is not an option due to price, then a cheapo all-laminate is the only viable option.

As to your original question, wanting to "pay it back" is noble, but I would not do anything - unless and until he express some real interest in learning on a better guitar and the willingness to care for it. He obviously doesn't take care of instruments, at least so far. You cannot force someone to change, only encourage them when they are ready to change. We would need to know more about him, the current guitar, and how deep his interest might be before any more useful opinions could be opined.
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Old 07-21-2019, 10:14 AM
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DenverSteve DenverSteve is online now
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First of all I'm sure that guitar is toast so I wouldn't spend a penny on it. I also wouldn't offer anyone who hasn't shown a strong interest in obtaining a new guitar, or playing guitar, anything but advice like "if you ever get to where you would like to play, order a Yamaha (or other decent not-too-expensive guitar) with a hard case, hygrometer and humidifier, and have a go.". If he were 15 or 16 maybe offer more encouragement. He's a grown man with a home and wife so I would let him decide what is important to him. However, if you're capable of building him a guitar, maybe ask if you could borrow his twisted guitar and put a new neck on it. Good practice for you and a straight guitar for him.

As for humidification it's the same as everywhere that's dry. Hard case, in-case humidification. Monitor weekly and adjust as necessary.
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Old 07-21-2019, 10:25 AM
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Rev Roy Rev Roy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colder View Post
Hard case is a must. Better is a case with a tightly fitting lid like a Hiscox case, with limited air movement from inside and outside of the case.

Then use the Oasis humidifiers or the sponge type. In a dry climate those Humidipaks go dry so fast that you'll spend a fortune on them.
Or you can recharge them and reuse them at least two or three times. You’ll save a bundle and not have to worry about keeping sponges wet...

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Old 07-21-2019, 10:29 AM
slowesthand slowesthand is offline
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I just use the soapdish w/ holes and sponge method, of course hard case is a must. I have one that I never play anymore that I keep a soapdish w/ sponge and those little water beads under the sponge. and only check it once in a while to keep it moist. Those beads along with the sponge last alot longer.
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Old 07-21-2019, 11:16 AM
kiva238 kiva238 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowesthand View Post
I just use the soapdish w/ holes and sponge method, of course hard case is a must. I have one that I never play anymore that I keep a soapdish w/ sponge and those little water beads under the sponge. and only check it once in a while to keep it moist. Those beads along with the sponge last alot longer.
I use old plastic spice containers rather than soap dishes, but the concept is the same. The spice container tops conveniently have the holes already drilled into the shaker and come with an attached, closable plastic lid. Very handy.

I also find these waterproof cases by SKB to be perfect for keeping moisture in.
They, coupled with the sponge and bead system, are nearly perfect protection for a good guitar in a dry climate.

https://www.musiciansfriend.com/acce...heels?rNtt=skb guitar cases&index=30
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Old 07-21-2019, 11:33 AM
Sagebrush Tom Sagebrush Tom is offline
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Neil, i live about 40 miles south of Reno just south of Carson City. I moved here from the Monterey Bay area five years ago and haven't had any issues with the very low humidity levels since i moved here.
I keep all my guitars in their cases when they're not being played. I use Oasis soundhole humidifiers and a plastic soap dish with alot of holes drilled in them with a sponge inside kept under the headstock of every guitar i own. In the summer i have to add distilled water every couple of days. I don't use a room humidifier as i have found the system i have in place keeps em' safe.

Every Oasis soundhole humidifier i use is at least 3 years old and haven't had one issue with them.The only advantage playing guitars in a dry climate is that they sound much better than with higher humidity levels.
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Old 07-21-2019, 01:59 PM
JohnW63 JohnW63 is offline
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I use any type of guitar humidifier I can get. Both the sound hole Oasis ones you fill with water and the PVA sponge in a soap dish. I've used a room humidifier in the past, but I just couldn't keep up and I wondered if it was doing anything for the guitars in the cases. I wish all the cases had a light that told me what the inside RH was. Green for good and red for bad, ( In either direction. Not that I would ever expect it to be TOO high. )

If the guitar your relative got was a cheap one with a bad neck, that was going to twist, no matter what, because it was still green with it was built, nothing would have stopped it. If they still WANT to learn, then you need to educate them on humidity and see if they would be willing to go down that road. THEN, see about getting them a better guitar.
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Old 07-21-2019, 02:57 PM
mercy mercy is offline
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I think some of you guys are overdoing it. You dont need in case humidification if you house is humidified to 40%. Below that you do need some system. The most important "red/green" indication is a hygrometer. Put it in your case and you know what the RH is in the case. I have found that the Oasis hygrometers are the best low cost option. There are others that just are not accurate or you have to finigle with to figure out what the RH is
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Old 07-21-2019, 02:58 PM
Dbone Dbone is offline
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I wonder if a "Tric case" from Seagull would make things better than a conventional hard case in terms of insulating against temperature and humidity issues...I believe that is the claim to fame of them?

http://www.seagullguitars.com/en/pro...rt-hall-deluxe

Could be a bunch of nonsense too

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Old 07-21-2019, 03:07 PM
AZLiberty AZLiberty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dbone View Post
I wonder if a "Tric case" from Seagull would make things better than a conventional hard case in terms of insulating against temperature and humidity issues...
Absolutely not. They are about as permeable as a gig bag.

The stupid Martin Roto-molded cases are some of the best. Much as I hate the stupid thing, it does hold in humidity better than a plywood case.

I'm in Earl's camp though, and am slowly replacing my wooden instruments with CF.
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Old 07-21-2019, 03:32 PM
wannabeGP wannabeGP is offline
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I live in SW New Mexico and I have 2 guitars that are solid wood. Both are in hard-shell cases and I put 2 baggies with sponges in each one and that seems to work just fine. No issues whatsoever.
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