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Humidification An Experiment I Did On Accident

#1 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:57 AM

So like the title says, I had to go out to California for a month and I just got back last night and I did an experiment and did not even intend to. So before I left I made sure the sponge things in my humidification things were wet. I have 4 acoustics and 3 are home and one is in the shop. So 2 guitars at home had Martins new Life Span 2.0 strings, and one had Martin's Retro (Monel) strings on. As I recall I changed strings on all my 3 guitars I have at home right before I left. The Life Span Strings looked perfect, like I put them on 3 days ago. The Monels looked fine but felt like they were 6 months old and played with sweaty hands. So on an acoustic we have the strings, tuners and frets all made of metal and people may have a metal nut, but its not that often on an acoustic. So if my strings are getting gunked up, what about the frets and tuners. Are they subject to damage as well? Your case is not perfect but it will keep the moisture in from the humidification things. Are we decreasing the life of our strings by humidifying our guitars? String Cleaner may take the gunk off, but I don't have any. This topic must have come up at some point. I can't be the only one its happened to.
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#2 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 11:48 AM

Most of the metals on a guitar are subject to accelerated oxidation in a closed environment like a guitar case with a humidifier inside. The Lifespan strings must have a coating on them that isolates the metal from air, which would explain why they are unaffected. That's the reason coated strings tend to last longer.

Your sweat and hand oils and dirt can contribute to surface corrosion, particularly on uncoated strings. That's why you often see more corrosion or discoloration on old strings in the area of the first few frets, where many of us spend a lot of time.

Monel is a copper/nickel alloy. Tt develops a greenish surface oxidation fairly quickly in a high-humidity environment, although the metal itself is highly-resistant to structural corrosion.

This may well be what you are seeing and experiencing.

There is a big mix of metal alloys on most guitars: steel/bronze/nickel string alloys, nickel silver fret wire, nickel-plated steel in most tuners, etc. Each will oxidize at its own rate and in its own way in the presence of moisture.

I have worked with a lot of metals in boatbuilding over the years, from various steel alloys to aluminum alloys and copper-based alloys. Corrosion is a major consideration in metals used in a marine environment, even when those metal are not immersed in water.
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#3 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 12:52 PM

View Postj45nick, on 15 April 2019 - 11:48 AM, said:

Most of the metals on a guitar are subject to accelerated oxidation in a closed environment like a guitar case with a humidifier inside. The Lifespan strings must have a coating on them that isolates the metal from air, which would explain why they are unaffected. That's the reason coated strings tend to last longer.

Your sweat and hand oils and dirt can contribute to surface corrosion, particularly on uncoated strings. That's why you often see more corrosion or discoloration on old strings in the area of the first few frets, where many of us spend a lot of time.

Monel is a copper/nickel alloy. Tt develops a greenish surface oxidation fairly quickly in a high-humidity environment, although the metal itself is highly-resistant to structural corrosion.

This may well be what you are seeing and experiencing.

There is a big mix of metal alloys on most guitars: steel/bronze/nickel string alloys, nickel silver fret wire, nickel-plated steel in most tuners, etc. Each will oxidize at its own rate and in its own way in the presence of moisture.

I have worked with a lot of metals in boatbuilding over the years, from various steel alloys to aluminum alloys and copper-based alloys. Corrosion is a major consideration in metals used in a marine environment, even when those metal are not immersed in water.


I was an electrician for 23 yeas in the Navy and Coast Guard and have dealt with corrosion from salt water plenty. But is only on the Monel strings. Not the frets not the tuners. Now just sitting out in open air the gold on my BB King gets nasty. F-ing hate gold hardware.

This post has been edited by FZ Fan: 15 April 2019 - 12:55 PM

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#4 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 01:38 PM

Here's what Martin says about the Retro strings:

Martin Retro Strings

The Materials
Core Wire: Tin-plated hex core
Wrap Wire: Solid Nickel/Copper Alloy Blend (NOT Nickel-plated)

The Gauging
Martin offers modified gauging on the B, D, and A strings for modern playability. The modified gauging makes the string easier to play with a more balanced feel and clear intonation.

The Process
Martin employs a sophisticated winding process in the making of their Retro String line. This process controls the coupling between the core and wrap wire to maximize intonation. This process takes their traditional Monel string, which was innovated in the 1930s, and perfects it with modern technology.

The Core
Martin uses tin-plated steel hex core wire for their Retro Strings. The tin-plating helps prevent galvanic corrosion - the natural corrosion that happens when the core wire comes in contact with the wrap wire. The combination of tin-plated hex core wire and solid nickel alloy wrap wire provides for a long-lasting string from the inside out.

The Wrap
Martin’s proprietary SOLID Nickel/Copper alloy blend provides for a reduced pick attack which allows the guitar’s tone woods to be heard, not overshadowed. It offers a uniquely mellow, yet crisp, sound. Martin’s wrap is a solid Nickel/Copper blend, not nickel-plated, meaning there is no chance for defects in the plating to allow for corrosion. Instead, Martin’s proprietary wrap wire is naturally corrosion resistant, so much so that it has been used in various marine applications, including use in the propeller of Dreadnaught battleships. It is also incredibly strong, even stronger than pure nickel, and has been used in machinery and tooling applications.

The Real Deal
Martin Retros are the real deal. Not an imitation. With Martin Retros, you get one tough set of strings that will last a long time and give you true, consistent tone that sounds like nothing else on the market.
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#5 User is offline   Dave F 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 05:06 PM

The Navy is big on an Aluminum/Nickel/Bronze alloy for large propellers. I wonder how that would sound.
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#6 User is offline   jedzep 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 05:38 PM

Tried 'em, 13-56's, stoked that they would wake up my 0018, but they sounded metallic. It's the shortest time a set of strings has ever been on and off a guitar in my house.

I'm curious to see if the L00 would mellow them by design, however. I haven't quite settled on a string for that little featherweight. 80/20's make the 3rd string sound 'doinky'. Thom-Infelds make it sound muted at times.

This post has been edited by jedzep: 15 April 2019 - 05:44 PM

I may not be good lookin', but at least I ain't got no money.

'31 L0
'35 L00
'50 J50
'62 Martin 00018
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'63 Guild F30
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#7 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 05:56 PM

View PostDave F, on 15 April 2019 - 05:06 PM, said:

The Navy is big on an Aluminum/Nickel/Bronze alloy for large propellers. I wonder how that would sound.



It actually rings like a bell if you tap a big prop with a hammer.
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#8 User is offline   kidblast 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 07:48 PM

gee maybe there is something to treated / coated strings after all...……
/Ray
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#9 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:01 PM

The Monels are not corroded they just feel like 6 month old strings with about 5 days play time and just a hair over a month in a case with no play. The strings went on about 7 days before I left for California.
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#10 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 06:03 AM

Maybe since the humidification thing is in the sound hole, the fuzzy stuff might keep the humidification contained in the sound hole, and not let it get to the frets and tuners.
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#11 User is offline   Murph 

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Posted Yesterday, 06:27 AM

View Postkidblast, on 15 April 2019 - 07:48 PM, said:

gee maybe there is something to treated / coated strings after all...……


I like Elixirs.

Maybe it's a compromise.

Maybe not.
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#12 User is offline   kidblast 

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Posted Yesterday, 06:41 AM

View PostMurph, on 17 April 2019 - 06:27 AM, said:

I like Elixirs.

Maybe it's a compromise.

Maybe not.



Me too, (Nano PBs) Those are on all my steel string acoustics. Serious long life, but even the nano coating will break down and shred off after about 6 weeks but they still have miles to go at that point. The Polyweb coating is thicker and will start to shred off much faster.

Where I get about 6 weeks out of a standard non-coated set, with Elixr PBs, somewhere around 4 months is average
/Ray
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#13 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted Yesterday, 08:05 AM

View Postkidblast, on 17 April 2019 - 06:41 AM, said:

Me too, (Nano PBs) Those are on all my steel string acoustics. Serious long life, but even the nano coating will break down and shred off after about 6 weeks but they still have miles to go at that point. The Polyweb coating is thicker and will start to shred off much faster.

Where I get about 6 weeks out of a standard non-coated set, with Elixr PBs, somewhere around 4 months is average


Elixir's last but are too slippery for me. Every time play a Taylor in a store I remember that I am not a fan of Elixir's. The Martin 2.0 strings do not feel coated at all.

This post has been edited by FZ Fan: Yesterday, 08:07 AM

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#14 User is offline   kidblast 

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Posted Yesterday, 08:51 AM

yea, agree they are a bit slick right out of the package..

but don't you find that calms down a bit after about a week or so? I do. Maybe I'm just used to it

I tried D'Addario EXP strings. didn't like them (felt sticky) so I definitely get it.

I may give those Martins you suggest a try sometime.
/Ray
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#15 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted Yesterday, 11:17 AM

View Postkidblast, on 17 April 2019 - 08:51 AM, said:

yea, agree they are a bit slick right out of the package..

but don't you find that calms down a bit after about a week or so? I do. Maybe I'm just used to it

I tried D'Addario EXP strings. didn't like them (felt sticky) so I definitely get it.

I may give those Martins you suggest a try sometime.


I have a few sets of EXP that are sitting in waiting, so I will find out at my next string change.
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