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Hello to all Gibson enthusiasts!!

 

I have a J200 I bought new in June 2014. It has been in it's case and I only take it out to play it, then put it back in the case. I am an amateur player, and this guitar is only played in my house. I live in south Florida where we have very high humidity. That being said, I have a hygrometer in the room that shows an average of 49-55% RH. I keep the A/C set at between 73-77*F. Today after playing this guitar, the light hit it just right and I noticed two dimples on the top of the guitar at the tail block. Also the whole back of the body seems like it has a bit too much arch on it.

 

I've read a lot about guitar humidifiers, but I don't think the typical dry environment scenarios apply to my space. I have a small dehumidifier we use in the bathroom to help with the excess humidity.

 

I don't want to cloud the issue with my ideas. Please give me any advice on all of these questions:

 

1. It normal to have a bulge like that on the back of a J200?

 

2. Does anybody have any info on acoustic guitars in a high humidity location?

 

3. What about the top dimples? Has anybody seen this? What did you do?

 

In the pics the guitar is hanging on the wall. I've always kept it in the case, but I thought I would hang it on the wall for a couple of days to see if things changed with more air flow from the central A/C in the house as opposed to staying in the case.

 

I've read about the humidipacks and I am considering those.

 

For the record, the guitar plays nice, sounds great and when the straight edge is lined up from the neck to the bridge it looks good. It doesn't appear that this a case of a sinking bridge or that it has pulled the bridge up.

 

Please take a look and post your ideas or experiences if you have any.

 

Thanks for looking,

 

Cheers,

DScrunchy

 

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I live in South Florida as well. Humidity in my music room right now runs about 42-45% (AC set at 77 degrees). Humidity stays about like this inside all summer, but goes up as high as 60% or so in winter, with the AC off and the windows open.

 

Generally, I think this is a perfectly acceptable range. I would not think about humidification until the humidity drops below 40%--which I've never seen here--or de-humidification until it is consistently about 60%.

 

Over-humidification in this range is not dangerous to the guitar, although it will change shape a bit and require re-tuning, and the tone may get a bit muddy,

 

The transverse arch in the top and back of your guitar looks normal to me, but you should also check the top longitudinally. Generally, there will be a slight dome in the top, and sometimes a very slight hump behind the bridge. There should not be a dip in the top forward of the bridge, and the bridge should not tilt forward in a pronounced way.

 

I'm not sure why the tailblock is printing through the top.

 

By the way, I leave my guitars in their cases when I'm not playing, as that tends to damp out changes in either temperature or humidity.

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.

1. The J200 back has a built in radius - bulge looks normal. The top also has a built in radius and that bulge looks normal.

 

2. I'm in Michigan and with all the water up here the summertime humidity can be high - your comments indicate your taking good care of your guitar.

 

3. The end block dimples sometimes indicate the guitar top is, or at some point was over humidified. This happened to one of my guitars and the dimples never completely shrunk down flat.

 

Hanging on the wall: As Nick mentioned - leaving guitars in their cases dampens changes in either temperature or humidity. Cased slow changes are much easier on a guitar than exposed fast changes.

 

Humidipacks: With the humidity where your at, doesn't seem to me like you need them.

 

From your other comments, seems to me the current condition of your guitar is good and the humidity range is acceptable provided your hygrometer is accurate.

 

 

.

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I have 2009 J-45 that has those dimples. I'm not concerned. I've also had those on 2 Martins - a D-35 and D-28. I live in the semi-arid Rockies, so its mostly dry 9% RH on average - I use Humidipaks and in the spring where our RH spikes, they seem to soak in the excess as well as they pump it out at other times. Have little idea why these show up.

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Yeah, I would even say that 35%-65% is okay for a guitar, maybe shaving 5% off each end to be safe :) Your range is well within optimal limits, really! If you want to be sure, keep that hygrometer in the case with the guitar, and when it's out, keep it nearby. But I think you're just fine. I'm jealous! Humidity gets well below 10% in the house here in the winter with the heat running, and I can't humidify the house when the temps are below zero. I have a feeling that would be deadly to a guitar. Have not tested it. :) I'm pretty careful.

 

Anyway, I can't see anything in the pics that would worry me, and if there is something wrong, it is definitely not your fault, because your humidity situation sounds just fine.

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All of mine hang on the wall and have for many decades. Humidity is not constant, so if it goes to 80%, it might have been 30% a few days ago.

 

Never had an issue, guitars are made to gig indoors and out, day and night, rain or shine.

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Thank you all for your input!

 

Were these dimples there when I bought the guitar? I don't' think so, but maybe. The light caught it just right and since that moment I've been in panic mode. Ever since buying that guitar I've read so much about humidity but I neglected to use my own brain. I was born and raised in south Florida. It's humid here. But the overwhelming majority of information and articles on the internet concern HUMIDIFYING your guitar. After spotting those dimples, my mind flashed back to seeing pictures of horribly disfigured guitars due to the humidity monster that wreaks havoc on guitars of all cost with no remorse!

 

I made a couple of phone calls to area shops hoping someone would tell me not to worry. That didn't happen. I get it. Nobody is going to diagnose a guitar problem over the phone. I just thought a local shop or luthier would immediately know my problem if it was a case of over humidity, since it might be something they see in a high humidity area on a regular basis.

 

Ahhh the Internet to the rescue! Thanks to all of your insight and opinions, I will sleep a little easier. The guitar sounds amazing and I will be happy with what it is. Apparently a very sensitive guitar.

 

Just to address some things posted in response:

 

I have a bunch of guitars hanging on the wall. I love to look at them, and when my heart desires, and I have the time, I just grab one down and play, primarily solid body electrics. I do have a couple of other acoustics hanigng on the wall or on a stand that cost a fraction of what this guitar cost and I would be very upset if any guitar I own was injured by neglect on my part. Prior to yesterday, this Gibson has only come out of the safety of its case for play time.

 

Humidipacks - I've read too much about guitar humidifiers and such. The latest thing I've found is the "Boveda 2 - way humidity control for guitars, 49% RH". The product says it works BOTH ways. It supposedly stabilizes the humidity in the case, not just adding moisture but also decreasing if needed. Is this necessary fior me? Possibly. I may just give them a try and see how they work.

 

Hygrometers - See the statement above. I have the $10 AcuRite indoor hygrometer. I will buy the Caliber IV Digital Hygromter by Western Humidor for $25 and put it in the case. Am I going to calibrate it? Probably not.

 

I will keep an eye on the health of my beloved J200 and do everything I can to protect it while also enjoying it!

 

Once again, thank you all for posting your experiences and knowledge. In fact keep it coming, I'm all ears!

 

Cheers,

 

DScrunchy

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But the advice was that things are fine .

Why are you coming away with a notion to buy a device ?

Those who live in dry or wet parts of the world should certainly keep a close eye on what's happening , but you seem to be lucky enough to live where the humidity happens to be great for acoustic guitars.

 

Extreme climates aside , I always wonder about all the thousands of guitars hanging in shops , for years sometimes , and they aren't exploding overnight . ...

 

 

It's your ship and I'm not condoning or arguing with your choices , I'm just a guy who is flummoxed.

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Suppose he must wants to make sure it stays peachy.

 

I know you said extreme climates aside, which may disqualify mine (and even Bozeman where these guitars are born), but my local shop has to put a heater blowing on their glass window in the winter because they keep the humidity at 45% even when it's -75F. Wonder what kind of mold issues they might have brewing... They can put a heater on the window to keep the moisture off, but what about above the ceiling?

 

In the summer even when it's 100F and the a/c is blaring, that's no problem. They just crank that humidifier even more. But the winters, woof.

 

Maybe there is actually more neglect in less extreme climes.

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The latest thing I've found is the "Boveda 2 - way humidity control for guitars, 49% RH". The product says it works BOTH ways. It supposedly stabilizes the humidity in the case, not just adding moisture but also decreasing if needed.

 

I use d'Addario 2-ways humidifier. Good thing about it i think versus Bovida is that you have 2 packs : 1 goes near the neck in your guitar case, and 1 is inside your guitar body (you just put in between the middle strings and it is hold by some plastic thing). It keeps 45-50% RH range inside the case.

 

Once you have bought the starter pack you only have to buy the refills.

 

starter pack:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000OMG0KI/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_2?pf_rd_p=1944687622&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00J3ALWUU&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1RAD4ZCNHV55FYE25PVW

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Jesse,

Whoa, I thought I had humidity issues! Now those are extreme conditions! That must be hard to handle!

 

Yeah, I've got an army of in-case, in-soundhole, room, and even a furnace humidifier. It really could all be handled fine if I just kept them in their cases, but I like to have them out when I can! But when it gets so cold that I can't humidify the house or the room, into the safety of their cases they go. Luckily a case is small enough it can always be humidified, and it has no windows. :) I do use quite an array inside the cases, though, for when the humidity in the house is too low to even register on my hygrometer... Combination of Herco clay in the box, something at the headstock, something in the soundhole, sometimes even something at the top of the non-neck-headstock part of the case. If they're in their cases, I want to make sure it's 45% in there. Just a soundhole humidifier wouldn't be enough in the extremes. (It's not that dry outside, but the central heat completely dries out the air, and the weird temp and pressure differences between indoor/outdoor make it impossible to humidify the house. I get it worse than my guitars do for sure.)

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The dimples in the top[ are actually an artifact of the building process. The ribs of the guitar are sanded into the 28 foot radius the top has so that there is no stress on the top when it is glued to the sides. The parabolic sander that does this doesn't take into consideration the end block on the guitar.

 

When they glue the top to the sides they then put the guitar into a press that holds the top in place while the glue dries. The press pushes the top down onto the ribs and the top of the end block. The parabolic sander doesn't reach the end block so it doesn't get the 28 foot radius sanded into it. The top conforms to the radius sanded ribs and then is pressed flat on the top of the end block which does not have the radius. The area where the dimples are is at the edges of the flat topped non-radiused end block. If the top is lifting a bit due to high humidity then the stress lines you are seeing will appear.

 

This is not ideal and can be cured in the building process by putting the radius on the end block before the guitar ribs are glued to it. Costly for sure. The real cure is to do it like Ren Ferguson designed it. He designed a process for the top of the end block that had the top of the end block machined so that it never came in contact with the top except for a very small area or edge near the back of the end block. This area can be reached by the parabolic sander and has the radius sanded in like the ribs. The top makes very little contact with the end block so there is no stress built up in this area.

 

If you look thru the sound hole at the end block on older guitars you will see that the top doesn't touch the top of end block. This feature will allow the top more freedom to vibrate and it also eliminates the stress lines the guitar is experiencing.

 

I have seen the top fail because of this. It's not ideal for sure and Gibson should go back to Ren's original design for the end block. I know this post will ask more questions that it answers but I don't have the writing skills to adequately describe this process. Photo's of this are almost necessary to understand this process. I will try to get some that show how the end block was constructed by Ren's original design.

 

Gibson has warranted the guitar against defects in workmanship and materials. This is a defect in workmanship.

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Nice post, Hogeye. That explanation could certainly be on the short list of FAQ's here. And good for you to call it as you see it, with respect to it being a defect. As you'd explained, the dimples could be eliminated. That is true, yes, and the dimples are here, too, but rather than a defect, I just saw them as an endearing idiosyncrasy of modern Gibsons. Humanizes them a bit, and sets them apart from more sterile and perfect builds.

 

To the OP: for less than $8 shipped, a Boveda Calibration kit (salt pack) is an easy, and almost fun way to get a little peace of mind on your humidity levels. Play on.

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The dimples in the top[ are actually an artifact of the building process. The ribs of the guitar are sanded into the 28 foot radius the top has so that there is no stress on the top when it is glued to the sides. The parabolic sander that does this doesn't take into consideration the end block on the guitar.

 

When they glue the top to the sides they then put the guitar into a press that holds the top in place while the glue dries. The press pushes the top down onto the ribs and the top of the end block. The parabolic sander doesn't reach the end block so it doesn't get the 28 foot radius sanded into it. The top conforms to the radius sanded ribs and then is pressed flat on the top of the end block which does not have the radius. The area where the dimples are is at the edges of the flat topped non-radiused end block. If the top is lifting a bit due to high humidity then the stress lines you are seeing will appear.

 

This is not ideal and can be cured in the building process by putting the radius on the end block before the guitar ribs are glued to it. Costly for sure. The real cure is to do it like Ren Ferguson designed it. He designed a process for the top of the end block that had the top of the end block machined so that it never came in contact with the top except for a very small area or edge near the back of the end block. This area can be reached by the parabolic sander and has the radius sanded in like the ribs. The top makes very little contact with the end block so there is no stress built up in this area.

 

If you look thru the sound hole at the end block on older guitars you will see that the top doesn't touch the top of end block. This feature will allow the top more freedom to vibrate and it also eliminates the stress lines the guitar is experiencing.

 

I have seen the top fail because of this. It's not ideal for sure and Gibson should go back to Ren's original design for the end block. I know this post will ask more questions that it answers but I don't have the writing skills to adequately describe this process. Photo's of this are almost necessary to understand this process. I will try to get some that show how the end block was constructed by Ren's original design.

 

Gibson has warranted the guitar against defects in workmanship and materials. This is a defect in workmanship.

 

Hogeye, your explanation makes sense, but on my 1948-1950 J-45, there is no visible gap between the top of the tailblock and the underside of the top. It may be that they sanded a radius in the top of the tailblock back then--that would take less than 30 seconds--or they avoided the problem by not gluing the top to the tailblock, which would have the same effect by allowing the top to float relative to the top of the tailblock. It may also be that the gap between the tailblock and the top is so small that it isn't visible, but there is no apparent gap on my old J-45.

 

I'm assuming the top radius is sanded into the side ribs after the top kerfing is glued in place on the ribs, to give a proper fit. I would love to see how they did it back in 1948-1950. I suspect they used some kind of small rotary disk powered sander, hand-held, so that sanding a radius into the top of the tailblock was a moderately skilled freehand job. By my calculation, a 28' top radius would only translate into about .009" of relief over the transverse width of the tailblock, which is barely measurable. on the kerfing and ribs, it would barely require any sanding for a good fit.

 

We live and learn.

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I'd never had a problem with high or low humidity, until last winter, in the Boston Cape Cod area. In my panic, first spotted the problem on February 13, 2015. I got some baggies and wet sponges to start the hopeful road back. I ended up spending over the next 7 or so months over $400 on the planet waves D'Addario Humidi Pac system. It took a good 6 months of constant surveillance to not have to worry. Gotta say this is the first time. The two way setup has never had my flat tops become # sharp during this past summer. No need to constantly retune. Hopefully this shall work the same this winter, and not let my flat tops go flat this winter, and not have to constantly retune. Jesse and hog eye certainly know what they are talking about. I finally admit I was as foolish to say I'd never had a humidity problem, until it was right in front of me. Only a fool wouldn't admit he was wrong about anything. I admit just what a fool I'd been! I'll gladly pay D'Addario $$ for their "DUAL" system, I'd be a fool not to. No offense meant to the sponge and baggie believers.

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The real cure is to do it like Ren Ferguson designed it. He designed a process for the top of the end block that had the top of the end block machined so that it never came in contact with the top except for a very small area or edge near the back of the end block. This area can be reached by the parabolic sander and has the radius sanded in like the ribs. The top makes very little contact with the end block so there is no stress built up in this area.

 

If you look thru the sound hole at the end block on older guitars you will see that the top doesn't touch the top of end block. This feature will allow the top more freedom to vibrate and it also eliminates the stress lines the guitar is experiencing.

 

So this requires that the radius on the outside end of the block be taller than the rest of the block top, which would seem to require an end block with a short "step" on the outside edge to sand the radius on to........yes? Without the radius taller than the rest of the block top there would be contact with the top. It does imply that the top would be less restricted by such a build but it also makes for a much more labor intensive job. Leave it to Ren to do things right.

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I'd never had a problem with high or low humidity, until last winter, in the Boston Cape Cod area. In my panic, first spotted the problem on February 13, 2015. I got some baggies and wet sponges to start the hopeful road back. I ended up spending over the next 7 or so months over $400 on the planet waves D'Addario Humidi Pac system. It took a good 6 months of constant surveillance to not have to worry. Gotta say this is the first time. The two way setup has never had my flat tops become # sharp during this past summer. No need to constantly retune. Hopefully this shall work the same this winter, and not let my flat tops go flat this winter, and not have to constantly retune. Jesse and hog eye certainly know what they are talking about. I finally admit I was as foolish to say I'd never had a humidity problem, until it was right in front of me. Only a fool wouldn't admit he was wrong about anything. I admit just what a fool I'd been! I'll gladly pay D'Addario $$ for their "DUAL" system, I'd be a fool not to. No offense meant to the sponge and baggie believers.

 

Well, to be fair, I am a little hypervigilant! :) I've never noticed a true humidity issue on any of my guitars. The exception is a guitar I lent to my father, a Chinese Guild, and for whatever reason, that one got really dried out to the point of being unplayable. However, it's sister guitar, also a Chinese Guild, never exhibited a single problem...

 

I think we go over the top a little when it comes to humidity, some of us, and I think that Gibson, Martin and Taylor go over the top because they don't want to have to deal with humidity-related issues (and don't want to have to say to the owner, "We told you so!").

 

But, better safe than sorry, and it is a terrible feeling when something does go wrong and you realize it was your own neglect that caused it.

 

If I just kept them in their cases year-round, and used a soundhole humidifier year-round, it would be simpler, and I'm sure it would be fine (although a little dry in the winter), but I like having them out on stands as much as I can make happen safely. :)

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Hogeye, your explanation makes sense, but on my 1948-1950 J-45, there is no visible gap between the top of the tailblock and the underside of the top. It may be that they sanded a radius in the top of the tailblock back then--that would take less than 30 seconds--or they avoided the problem by not gluing the top to the tailblock, which would have the same effect by allowing the top to float relative to the top of the tailblock. It may also be that the gap between the tailblock and the top is so small that it isn't visible, but there is no apparent gap on my old J-45.

 

I'm assuming the top radius is sanded into the side ribs after the top kerfing is glued in place on the ribs, to give a proper fit. I would love to see how they did it back in 1948-1950. I suspect they used some kind of small rotary disk powered sander, hand-held, so that sanding a radius into the top of the tailblock was a moderately skilled freehand job. By my calculation, a 28' top radius would only translate into about .009" of relief over the transverse width of the tailblock, which is barely measurable. on the kerfing and ribs, it would barely require any sanding for a good fit.

 

We live and learn.

 

Yup all the kerfing as well as the tail block and neck block are glued in place and then the body is placed on the parabolic sander and the radius is sanded in.

 

There would be no space between the top and tail block back in the 40's and 50's. The Ren designed tail block was in Production in Bozeman starting in 1989.

 

Eldon Whitford did a lot of research into how Gibson prepared the ribs to accommodate the radius. After looking at many old instruments he concluded the ribs were radiused with a small hand held plane as there were plane marks on almost all of the ribs he had a chance to inspect.

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So this requires that the radius on the outside end of the block be taller than the rest of the block top, which would seem to require an end block with a short "step" on the outside edge to sand the radius on to........yes? Without the radius taller than the rest of the block top there would be contact with the top. It does imply that the top would be less restricted by such a build but it also makes for a much more labor intensive job. Leave it to Ren to do things right.

d

 

 

The step built into the tail block is exactly as you describe it.For all of the folks that have guitars made in the 90's just take an inspection mirror and you will see the process Ren used. It is costly and time consuming and that is why the process was discontinued.

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Bermuda here - 90% humidity last week!

My j45s are in cases (Hiscox), and on the whole have done very well here.

Recently i had a concave area anove the sound hole on the bass side.

Discovered the X brace had lifted about 2' in length. No luthiers here so

Youtube and I fixed it (awesome result, top now flat, brice firmly fixed, neat and tidy job)

Your guitar looks to be in normal condition. A flat top guitar isnt really flat, neather is the back.

there is a built in arch top and back. Check for bridge lifting and get a mirror and a light

and check the braces.

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