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Old 10-03-2019, 10:35 PM
musicwu musicwu is offline
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Default Do some guitars survive through humidity issues better than others?

OK I know this question is weird. From my limited observation, I tend to find that guitars made by certain manufacturers endure low humidity better than those made by other companies. For example, guitar A can be left in a room with RH as low as 20ish% for weeks without developing cracks or sharp frets whereas guitar B develops such issues even in an environment at 30ish% RH during a similar period of time (or even in a humidified hardshell case). I wonder if some of you can confirm this from your experience or knowledge. If this is true, what could possibly be the reasons?

My tentative guess is that some guitars (especially cheaper ones) are built heavily and with less precision in their structure so that different parts of such a guitar can move a little bit more during humidity changes without causing harm to the whole structural integrity.

I know every piece of wood is different. I'm just curious about other reasons that are within our knowledge.

What do you think?

Last edited by musicwu; 10-03-2019 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 10-03-2019, 11:38 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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IME the modern tendency to use kiln-dried woods is a major contributor to structural issues - FWIW I never encountered the problems you cite in any well-made vintage (roughly pre-1975) instrument, produced when woods were routinely air-dried and aged for a decade or more, and I've seen orchestral strings whose age could be reckoned in centuries in better shape than many guitars that were 15-20 years old. Bottom line, as the saying goes, is that it's all about the benjamins; until/unless we as players collectively demand better from the major manufacturers, they'll play to the lowest common denominator in the name of higher profit margins and maximum market saturation - and we'll get exactly what we deserve...
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Old 10-04-2019, 12:25 AM
AZLiberty AZLiberty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
FWIW I never encountered the problems you cite in any well-made vintage (roughly pre-1975) instrument, produced when woods were routinely air-dried and aged for a decade or more
I have seen lots of vintage instruments with cracked tops, to the point where I expect almost any Guild or Martin from the 60's or 70's to be cracked.

Then again, I do live in Phoenix.
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Old 10-04-2019, 04:40 AM
Dbone Dbone is online now
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Not quite what youíre talking about, but certainly there are differences in neck stability in terms of withstanding extremes. For example the 5-ply neck that Yamaha uses on their higher end offerings is supposed to be bomb proof in that regard.
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Old 10-04-2019, 04:56 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is online now
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All I can add to this is that my Collings are less sensitive to RH than they seem to be to temperature.

They've been fine all summer with an RH of 50-60% and temps in the low '70s but since I switched the central heating on, whilst RH stays the same, night-time temps get lower (naturally)and high strings all start buzzing (although I like higher than normal actions).
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Old 10-04-2019, 06:23 AM
iim7V7IM7 iim7V7IM7 is online now
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In general:
  • Guitars made with quartersawn woods tend to be more resistant to cracking
  • Guitars made with well seasoned and dried woods tend to be more resistant to cracking
  • Guitars made from hardwoods that have low Tangential to Radial shrinkage ratios (T/R) tend to crack less like Koa and Mahogany.
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Old 10-04-2019, 06:29 AM
musicwu musicwu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dbone View Post
Not quite what youíre talking about, but certainly there are differences in neck stability in terms of withstanding extremes. For example the 5-ply neck that Yamaha uses on their higher end offerings is supposed to be bomb proof in that regard.
It's funny that the 'guitar A' that I refer to is actually a Yamaha LS 16 ARE with the 5-ply neck construction. What you said it totally relevant. The Yamaha has zero issue without any humidification and my room RH ranges from 10% to 40 % (it's like desert) except for summer months. All of my acoustics have to stay in cases with damp sponges and they still more or less develop signs of low humidity such as sharp frets and sunken top around the soundhole area(but no serious issues like cracks).

Congrats on your new Yam. The high end L series guitars are stellar.
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Old 10-04-2019, 06:36 PM
Dbone Dbone is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicwu View Post
It's funny that the 'guitar A' that I refer to is actually a Yamaha LS 16 ARE with the 5-ply neck construction. What you said it totally relevant. The Yamaha has zero issue without any humidification and my room RH ranges from 10% to 40 % (it's like desert) except for summer months. All of my acoustics have to stay in cases with damp sponges and they still more or less develop signs of low humidity such as sharp frets and sunken top around the soundhole area(but no serious issues like cracks).

Congrats on your new Yam. The high end L series guitars are stellar.
Thanks. I just got word that Yamaha Canada finally received my LL36 at their headquarters in Toronto. I hope I get it soon. Itís been quite a wait for this thing.

As for the stability of the neck. Everything I said was based on various bits of info out there that suggested they were mega stable compared to the average product out there. It is so nice to hear a direct example like this from someone like yourself. Thanks for telling me that. Gives me some extra confidence in my decision. I found the neck stability aspect appealing.

Apparently that structure adds a fair amount of labour to the price of their guitars...the layup process is apparently quite time consuming. Apparently it is worth it in terms of performance. Yamaha know what theyíre doing. No doubt. They ainít sexy to a lot of folks around here, but they are a solid product.
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Old 10-04-2019, 10:37 PM
phavriluk phavriluk is offline
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My layman's guess is that where necks are concerned, the 'holy grail' one-piece neck which these days sounds like have been made of kiln-dried wood is literally sticking its neck out and more readily gives in to moisture fluctuations, while inexpensive multi-piece necks which have been made to hide their picture-puzzle assembly, are more resistant to moisture fluctuations, and laminated necks proudly showing off their many layers are as happy as the cheapies. I guess.
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Old 10-05-2019, 02:52 AM
Dbone Dbone is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phavriluk View Post
My layman's guess is that where necks are concerned, the 'holy grail' one-piece neck which these days sounds like have been made of kiln-dried wood is literally sticking its neck out and more readily gives in to moisture fluctuations, while inexpensive multi-piece necks which have been made to hide their picture-puzzle assembly, are more resistant to moisture fluctuations, and laminated necks proudly showing off their many layers are as happy as the cheapies. I guess.
Not all multi-piece necks are inexpensive. As I mentioned, apparently the Yamaha multi piece rosewood/mahogany necks are rather time consuming to produce, but Yamaha is making this a priority in some of their higher products for the purposes of stability/longevity. I like that they focused on that. Even their 5k CND LL56 has this structure. I find the look of it quite nice myself. One man’s opinion bit you know what they say about those . I think it’s a good balance between looks and practicality.
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Old 10-05-2019, 03:16 AM
Russ C Russ C is online now
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I've read that torrified timbers care less about humidity due to their lack of hemicellulose which absorbs and looses water in cells.
If so it follows that old timbers would behave similarly.
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Old 10-05-2019, 06:10 AM
musicwu musicwu is offline
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For your reference, I've just found this thread:
https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...d.php?t=461082

I have to say that my personal experience confirms this. I can't say vintage instruments, but seems like modern guitars are not consistent enough in this respect.

Or as they say 'every piece of wood is different.'
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:33 AM
D-utim D-utim is offline
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no humidity related issues with carbon fiber.
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Old 10-05-2019, 09:10 AM
IndyHD28 IndyHD28 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D-utim View Post
no humidity related issues with carbon fiber.
And for this reason, my Modern Deluxe seems to behave better in high humidity.
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Old 10-05-2019, 11:36 AM
Jaden Jaden is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicwu View Post
OK I know this question is weird. From my limited observation, I tend to find that guitars made by certain manufacturers endure low humidity better than those made by other companies. For example, guitar A can be left in a room with RH as low as 20ish% for weeks without developing cracks or sharp frets whereas guitar B develops such issues even in an environment at 30ish% RH during a similar period of time (or even in a humidified hardshell case). I wonder if some of you can confirm this from your experience or knowledge. If this is true, what could possibly be the reasons?

My tentative guess is that some guitars (especially cheaper ones) are built heavily and with less precision in their structure so that different parts of such a guitar can move a little bit more during humidity changes without causing harm to the whole structural integrity.

I know every piece of wood is different. I'm just curious about other reasons that are within our knowledge.

What do you think?
I would only add the entry level all solid Yamaha L 16s are built to a very high degree of precision, include the 5 ply neck (multi piece necks are employed on some high quality luthier instruments) and are carefully designed/slightly overbuilt to withstand climatic variations, all which is an extremely important consideration for a company like Yamaha whose guitars are sold all over the world.
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