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Author Topic: More silly humidity questions  (Read 1471 times)
drewzee87t
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« on: November 29, 2007, 08:46:09 AM »

I started searching here when I noticed that my larry top was starting to sink in. I know I read all the stuff when I got the guitar but have never really had a problem with guitars drying out. I live in L.A. about 5 miles from the ocean and it seems to always be humid enough. After looking at the info on dried up guitars, the larrivee was experiencing some minor dryness, but after looking through some of the manufacturer links with pictures of what happens, I found that my other acoustics, particularly an old and dear 72 D35 martin were dried up too. I just figured the Martin was old. This was all noticed after the santa ana winds and all the big fires and stuff rolled through out here.

So I got a hygrometer and some oasis humidifiers and started working on them. The humidity in my house seems to range 35-45% (at least over the last couple weeks) with a lowest reading of 22% when the last round of winds came through. Needless to say the guitars are all tucked back in their cases with their humidifiers.

Now to the question - sorry for lollygagging. Since the hygrometer is going to just measure RH in the case, how can I tell when the guitars have "re-humidified" enough to make up for all the dryness over however long they may have been dry in the past? I don't want to go from dried out to bursting at the seams over humid. It's been a couple weeks on humidifiers and the larry is improved, the martin is much improved - but there is still quite a bit of sink in it from the neck to the soundhole and the neck binding is still shrunken/frets still sharp on the top. Anyone with experience want to chime in, I would appreciate it. This is all new to me. I wish I had gotten a hygrometer years ago - I moved to cali in 2003 so this is like 4 years of dried up on these guitars. Never had to worry about it as much when I lived in the east coast.

Thnks

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bluesman67
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2007, 01:10:00 PM »

Not silly questions at all.  To me, these are the kind of questions and knowledge sharing that make this forum so great.  One way to get them back to normal is to take them in the bathroom with you when you shower for a few days or as long as you think will do the trick.  If they have been in that dry environment for an extended amount of time, then they will soak up a lot of the moisture to get to normal.  Another way of humidifying is to take them to a luthier, who can but them in humidity bags and get them right.  I bought a guitar from CA and it needed to go in the humidity bag for a solid week to get to where it needed to be.  I have an Oasis and it's a good little hygrometer.  Keep in mind though, that it is a tool to help you and keep using your eyes and hands to assess your guitars.  The Oasis may not be completely accurate, it is just one way to help assess.
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2007, 02:59:07 PM »

You can put the cases in the bathroom with the shower running, because they too can dry out, but I would never put a guitar in there.

"Needless to say the guitars are all tucked back in their cases with their humidifiers."

What's the humidty in the cases?
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drewzee87t
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« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2007, 06:17:47 PM »

Humidity is 44% in case for the D35, 45% for the Larrivee and 40% on the crusty old harmony - in room right now is 37%. Noticeable improvements on all three but they are all still dry on inspection. I am guessing I should probably bring them up to 50-55% or higher until they just start to belly from over humidification and then let them come back down? I can't see how just getting them up to proper humidity will replace all the water they are missing - more likely just would stop more damage from occuring. Does this make sense?

I am guessing I will try the case/shower trick as it seems the humidifiers I have are just keeping things where they should be if everything was already ok. Either that or I guess I make or buy some more humidifiers to bring the levels up higher. The Martin was trying to pop frets up around 15-16-17 and they are straightening up a little, but I think it's probably going to need to visit the shop once I get it back in order for a dress and setup.

Thanks for all the good responses, this forum has been very helpful - and giving me the GAS too :)
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2002 Larrivee California Special Ed. LV19?
1972 Martin D-35
1969 Harmony Sovereign 1260
1995 Gibson LP Custom wine
2000 Heritage Millenium 2k
1990's Parker Fly Deluxe
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sayheyjeff
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« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2007, 08:53:52 PM »

I've done the bathroom routine too.  Filled the bathtub and left the guitar on the counter in the case with the case open.  Seemed to work out.  That was last year when the room humidifier died and I was looking for a new one.

jeff
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Steve
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« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2007, 10:14:25 PM »

It's a good thing your guitars didn't become any dryer.  Besides a sunken top you could end up with cracks or glue joint separation.  It can take weeks for a guitar to re-hydrate after being dried out for years.  I would keep them in the cases and make sure you are watching your humidifiers so they don't dry out.  Check out this article that Bryan Kimsey did on a dried out guitar he was working on.  Notice the homemade humidifiers bags he has at the bottom of the page.  There is a link to them also posted there.  These might help your re-hydration process.  Hydrating your guitars in a case is much better than a steamy bathroom, better control over the process.

http://www.bryankimsey.com/problems/index.htm
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PortHueneme
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« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2007, 11:03:10 PM »

I am just up the road from LA. I live near the coast too and never thought much about humidity. I took a guitar into the tech for some bridge work and he told me the guitar was dried out. I asked "how I live at the beach?". He told be wood does not soak up the salt water. I now keep all the guitars in cases with a case humidifier. I move my hygrometer from case to case to make sure what is happening in the case. What is really starnge is I lived in AZ for 4 years and never hydrated my guitar, how it stayed together I have not a clue.
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2007, 01:13:51 AM »

You just need to keep them in a 45% to 55 % humidity range whether it be in a room or in the cases. They will soak up the moisture in the air and will level off when they acclimate to the proper humidity level. It's not like you can or want to blast it with moisture all at once. The reason the Hygrometer is reading low in your cases is because your humidifiers are working and your guitars are soaking up the moisture. When your hygrometer reads 45% to 50% you need to keep an eye on it if it goes up stop using the humidifiers for a day and recheck the humidity level. The idea is to keep it at that proper range. The fingerboard takes longer to soak up the moisture, you'll know when it's back to normal when the frets are not sharp anymore. It takes a while for it to dry out and it will take awhile to get back to normal, just be patient.
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2007, 08:57:00 PM »

In addition to placing a dried out guitar in the bathroom while you are taking a shower, you might also try hanging your laundry in a bathroom, allowing the wet clothing to dry in the enclosed room overnight.

I have heard of people rehydrating their guitars this way, and when you think about it, it makes sense.  A bunch of wet towels and/or jeans hanging on a rack will take quite a while to dry, while giving off moisture for several hours.  Do this once and a while in the winter, and keep humidifiers in the case on a daily basis.

jimmy
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drewzee87t
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2007, 08:52:27 AM »

Hey all,

Thanks for the good replies on this. I have had the guitars in "treatment" for 3 weeks (maybe more) with oasis rags and they are all sitting between 50-55% measured in the case. I think they need to be held there for some time as they are still soaking up the moisture. I check them every couple days and the larrivee is about good, the martin and the harmony are still on the rocks but getting more healthy. I think someone pointed out patience here. I did put the cases in the bathroom once to get them up to humidity, but the rest has been patience and checking. I think it could take months to get martin and harmony to recover. They all play nice at this point. So I check em, play em, measure them, refill them and put them back. The wackiness of humidity in Socal is pretty wild. I grew up in the rockies so I know dry, but here it can be dry as hell and you cannot tell.

My neighbor across the street is this really cool old lady. Her departed husband and her played in bands all through life and I go over there once in a while to drool on his guitars. I made a point of telling her to check the collection for humidity and hope I may have saved her some problems. Her husband had some very nice taste in guitars - someday I should hope to buy her out of her collection as she doesn't play any of them. Dead people's guitars are sort of taboo when you are dealing with their loved ones.

Glad I got to this before it was too late though.
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2002 Larrivee California Special Ed. LV19?
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aaronjnoone
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« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2007, 01:19:28 AM »

I have had two larrivee's go through similar drying, and it seems to always hit you when you least expect it. I consider myself to be pretty on the ball when it comes to keeping my guitars humidified, but the winter can defeat even the best of intentions.

Screw the shower, get a room humidifier. You can get them at walmart for around 25 bucks. Of course, you need a room that you can keep closed, if you don't have that, then I guess you can't really do it.

I finally got smart and bought one and now my guitars stay happy in the winter time 
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« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2007, 03:40:21 AM »

You just need to keep them in a 45% to 55 % humidity range whether it be in a room or in the cases. They will soak up the moisture in the air and will level off when they acclimate to the proper humidity level. It's not like you can or want to blast it with moisture all at once. The reason the Hygrometer is reading low in your cases is because your humidifiers are working and your guitars are soaking up the moisture. When your hygrometer reads 45% to 50% you need to keep an eye on it if it goes up stop using the humidifiers for a day and recheck the humidity level. The idea is to keep it at that proper range. The fingerboard takes longer to soak up the moisture, you'll know when it's back to normal when the frets are not sharp anymore. It takes a while for it to dry out and it will take awhile to get back to normal, just be patient.

Hello, I'm in Hawaii and pressently my room fluctuates frome 55 to 63%.  Is that a tad on the high side but acceptable?  Outside RH Currently at 75% and never dips bellow 50 and swings to 85 to 95% on raindays.  Lots of the them on the eastside of all islands.  I notice just the slight movement from 55 to 65 my tuning changes.  I guess metal doesn't swell.  I try not to keep tuning so much as it grinds down my nuts lol as well as the tuner gears.  When I pick up the guitar and it sounds ok I just play on. 

Mr_LV-19E, Can I buy a shirt with that cool 'Stay Tuned' guy on it. 

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« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2007, 04:43:24 PM »

Playme, as long as your room doesn't stay at or exceed the 63% humidity I don't think you have a lot to worry about but if it were me I would either run a dehumidifier, or air conditioning, or I would keep the guitars in the cases with one of those products that control moisture like Zorb-It.
The shirt is actually something that my wife saw from the Life is good Brand  http://www.lifeisgood.com/category/search-by-interest/music.aspx.
The story starts like this. My wife and I were in a specialty store up north and we saw this shirt  http://www.lifeisgood.com/product-details.aspx?sku=wlbabrra&description=bed&breakfastonraspberry, they didn't have it in her size so when we got home she looked online and they were sold out. Being the creative person she is she went out and bought a shirt the color she wanted and painted it on herself. While she was at the website she saw the guitar playing figures and painted a shirt for me as a gift. The shirts from Life is good have the figure printed in a small box that is about 2 to 3 square inches. She painted the designs larger, and also added the stay tuned on my shirt. So the short answer to your question is you might be able to get a shirt similar from the website above, but mine is one of a kind. I feel very lucky 
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KenS
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« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2007, 10:37:32 PM »

Far be it from me to tell anyone to ignore humidity, but I have to confess I don't pay a lot of attention to it.  Of course I live on the Gulf Coast, so low humidity is rarely, if ever a problem for any length of time.

The funny thing is - I lived in Missouri for five years in the 70's, and didn't have a clue about humidity and guitars back then.  I had a Guild D-35 and it never got any special treatment.  I know that it got dry in the winter because my skin would dry out - plus the heat ran a lot (compared to here in FL).  I guess the fact that my guitar escaped unscathed is either a testament to Guild's build quality or my dumb luck.

Regarding the OP, I can't imagine an RH of 35-45% doing any damage to his guitars.  THe 22% periods is likely what did it; but I don't even think about low humidity until it gets in the low 30's.

Ken
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bjstrings
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« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2007, 12:59:00 AM »

Heating a house in Missouri is a lot different than heating a house in, say, Minnesota or northern Vermont, two places I've lived.  There it gets so cold in the winter that the heaters are often running much longer (or must be much stronger) just to keep up.  The result is a much lower humidity factor than in warmer climates. Maybe with global warming on the horizon we'll be able to forget all this humidity stuff in the winter because winter will be obsolete.
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« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2007, 10:00:30 PM »

Heating a house in Missouri is a lot different than heating a house in, say, Minnesota or northern Vermont, two places I've lived.  There it gets so cold in the winter that the heaters are often running much longer (or must be much stronger) just to keep up.  The result is a much lower humidity factor than in warmer climates. Maybe with global warming on the horizon we'll be able to forget all this humidity stuff in the winter because winter will be obsolete.

 +1

I can attest to that!!!  living in VT right now and heating with a wood stove...the RH in my house is.....12%..

Needless to say I have multiple humidifiers in each case and am currently shopping around for a large room/small house humidifier.

 

Blue
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« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2007, 11:58:57 PM »

Blue, you need to keep a kettle of water on top of that wood stove to help replenish lost moisture from the air. It won't be enough to do the job but it will help.
 
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Roger


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