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Jinder

(Righteousness and) Humidity...

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...to quote the great Martin Simpson.

 

I’m having playability issues with my Dove-I thought it needed a setup, so took it in to Manson’s in Exeter (an official Gibson repair centre) today to book it in and have a chat with their exceptionally knowledgeable and friendly techs.

 

The chap I spoke to spent a good twenty minutes measuring the guitar from stem to stern and diagnosed it as being overhumidified. I keep my guitars in my bedroom and always have a hygrometer in the room and a dehumidifier to hand, and aim to keep the RH between 45 and 55% at all times. I was recently away for a month with tour management work however, and during that time the humidity crept up to around 65/70%. I think this is the period that caused the Dove to swell a little and for the action to go out of whack.

 

The odd thing is that it hasn’t affected any of my other guitars-they’re all strung with Martin or D’Addario 12s, and whilst the others loosened up a bit sonically when I got the humidity back down to 45-55%, none of them suffered in terms of playability.

 

Mansons are going to gently reduce the humidity levels of my Dove and it’s case over the next week or so, then do a setup accordingly. They did warn that if the belly doesn’t come back to normal spec the guitar may need a neck reset, but hopefully that won’t be the case...we’ll see 😳

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That's scary. I guess it doesn't take long for the sponge to soak up the water. Do you think a thinner face/top causes more issues?

I a never interfere with nature in my 'music room' unless the RH goes outside of 40/60%.

The pitch goes up and down predictably in tune to the hygrometer - but rarely to the extent it affects the tone. (To my ears!)

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Every guitar can be different. All of my guitars, except one, respond fine to humidity changes. The one that doesn’t necessitates that I change to a higher saddle in the winter and then back to a lower one in the Spring/Summer. Why that one guitar swells/retracts is beyond me.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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For how LONG was the humidity that high?

 

My J-45 has been exposed to that (65/70 %) during outdoor gigs before.

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For how LONG was the humidity that high?

 

My J-45 has been exposed to that (65/70 %) during outdoor gigs before.

 

I’m not sure how long it was that high for-I was away for three weeks or so. I’ve had the dehumidifier humming and a steady 45% RH running for the last week and all my other guitars seem to be fine and playing/sounding great. At the advice of Manson’s I have put a 25g silica gel pouch in each case to regulate in-case humidity, and have taken a hairdryer to the inside of my cases (without the guitars in them!!) to make sure they’re not holding moisture.

 

It’s also helping that the central heating in my house is now working properly-when I got back from touring, my radiators upstairs were failing to heat up properly due to stuck TRV valves, which a Tech has now remedied, and with proper ventilation and some help from the dehumidifier the room now seems nicely stabilised.

 

I can’t wait to get the Dove back, hopefully it can be sorted without the need for a neck reset.

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I don't understand the resistance to using a little inexpensive maintenance towards the upkeep of a guitar worth in excess of $3000. How does that hurt if applied in a reasonable fashion?

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So I am assuming the playability issue has to do with more than is healthy bellying. If the problem does not go away using non-intrusive measures have you considered going with a Bridge Doctor as opposed to a neck reset?

Edited by zombywoof

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I don't understand the resistance to using a little inexpensive maintenance towards the upkeep of a guitar worth in excess of $3000. How does that hurt if applied in a reasonable fashion?

 

 

I don't either. I am pretty observant of the climates the guitars I have are in. Especially the acoustics.

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Just to chime in - I really do hope the dehumidification works out for you, good luck! What I'm amazed about is how quick it seems to have happened, 3 weeks on the long end!, definitely food for thought in my guitar care and the benefits of those silica packs. Good luck again.

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I don't understand the resistance to using a little inexpensive maintenance towards the upkeep of a guitar worth in excess of $3000. How does that hurt if applied in a reasonable fashion?

 

Are you referring to humidity control or neck resets?

 

As I mentioned previously, all my guitars are stored in a room that is humidity controlled via a dehumidifier and is monitored with a hygrometer. I’m keen to avoid any damage to my instruments as without them I can’t earn a living!🙂

 

I’m certainly not resistant to climatic maintenance. I’d rather not fork out £350 for a neck reset if I can help it, I’m aware that most guitars will need one at some point, but as I have both a 50yr old j45 and a 27yr old Hummingbird that have never had a neck reset and play perfectly, I’d be a little aggrieved to have to have that work done on a Dove that I bought as NOS last year.

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What happens if you throw a silica gel packet inside the guitar ?

 

I’m not sure...mine live in the cases between the body of the guitar and the little gear cubby hole. I know a lot of cheaper guitars ship with a bag of silica gel in the body but I think that’s laminated rather than solid bodies.

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Sure hoping this works out for you, Jinder.

 

Keep us updated.

 

We're rooting for you !

 

Thanks Murph! 🙂

 

I’m hoping for an update from Manson’s tomorrow or Tues. They’re an official Gibson repair centre and have done some fantastic work for friends of mine, so I have full faith that they’ll make it right.

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Well the Dove is back...and playing really well once more! Better than ever, in fact. It clearly survived the dehumidification process and has now got a super slinky setup. Possibly a bit low on the action front for me but I can shim the saddle a smidgen once I’ve lived with it for a bit.

 

Very happy with Manson’s, excellent service!

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A friend of mine's Dove spent two weeks in Kodiak. It came back a mess! After six months back home and heading into winter it settled backin. I strung it with DRs. It plays and sounds great now. I don't think the differencein string tension had much to do with anything. I just want to see how PB stings sounded on it.

 

Glad to hear it worked out for you! My post overlapped yours

 

 

 

Edited by chasAK

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A friend of mine's Dove spent two weeks in Kodiak. It came back a mess! After six months back home and heading into winter it settled backin. I strung it with DRs. It plays and sounds great now. I don't think the differencein string tension had much to do with anything. I just want to see how PB stings sounded on it.

 

Glad to hear it worked out for you! My post overlapped yours

 

 

Thanks Chas! The setup has really helped the Dove to shine once again. I’m going to make a new saddle for it to raise the action a hair on the unwound strings as I like to dig in hard towards the dusty end when playing lead and the current saddle doesn’t offer quite enough headroom for that, but that’s a very minor tweak according to personal taste. It sounds incredible though, it always sounded great but it’s definitely improved tonally by a good 10%, and the work they did on the nut and frets has made it play so smoothly it’s hardly recognisable from the guitar it used to be. Very happy!

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