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Another humidity thread


E-minor7

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Winter is coming and though it isn't tough here yet, the frost might start any day.

 

Now I know the decreasing humidity of the cold season causes the wood to shrink - it's clearly felt on my ebony fretboard 12-fret where the frets themselves begin to stick out at a certain point - but my question is :

 

How do the low temperatures affect the action and what is the logic behind it ?

 

Have to add, it's never been so bad I needed another saddle - guess it's not the greatest prob on earth here, still some MOP-logos have cracked a tiny bit.

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I think there are two things the cold does, one is direct, the other indirect. The direct thing is the cold will shrink the wood. Then if it goes back to room temp too fast the finish that shrunk with the wood expands slower and that is when you get finish cracks. The indirect part is pretty straight forward. Cold outside means the heat is on in the house. Most forms of heat dry out the air in the house. A forced air furnace is bad, a wood burning stove is probably even worse. Also, I have been told that when it is cold outside the air is dry because the moisture is frozen in the air. I am not sure of that point but it seems to be reasonable, however the guitars are not going to be outside for long in the winter. I guess it doesn't let "wet" air in the house to even out the dry air inside??

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As the wood shrinks, the belly height can go down too causing lower action. For guys who like their action low, this can be a problem - set low in the summer, it can get too low in the winter. In the past I've seen two bridges saddles discussed - a lower one for warm more humid "summer" weather (when the belly height is greater), and a higher one for less humid "winter" weather (when the belly height is less). I've got one guitar I've thought about going with two bridges saddles, but I've become a better humidity manager and have so far avoided going with the two bridges saddles.

 

 

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As the wood shrinks, the belly height can go down too causing lower action. For guys who like their action low, this can be a problem - set low in the summer, it can get too low in the winter. In the past I've seen two bridges discussed - a lower one for warm more humid "summer" weather (when the belly height is greater), and a higher one for less humid "winter" weather (when the belly height is less). I've got one guitar I've thought about going with two bridges, but I've become a better humidity manager and have so far avoided going with the two bridges.

 

 

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BigK, I know you are referring to changing saddles rather than changing bridges, but I'm hoping no one here who might be new to guitars will think they need to remove the bridge from their guitar and change it seasonally!

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Yep, I saw it too and knew it was an absent minded blooperrr. But thanx (also to you, Nick), for clearing it up.

 

Guess BK's post together with Pittgibson45's draws a rather fulfilling line around what this topic is about. Both regarding woods and the wood/lacquer issue.

 

I wondered a little if the neck and fret-board have bow-wise reactions as well. From the posts so far, it doesn't seem like it.

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks a lot, Big, I just got done tearing all those bridges off. "Now, where's that duct tape?"

 

Actually, E, allow me to re-direct your question back to movement of things with respect to the weather: I've always considered the guitar as a big barometer, and when I notice most all strings low, or most all needing to be tuned down, a little game is played before taking a look at the real barometer on the wall, to see which way it's needle has moved.

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