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billroy

humidity impact - day to day

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Hey all - is it possible for changes in humidity to have a day to day impact on a guitar?  What I believe I'm noticing is the neck straightens out on dryer days (35 - 40% humidity) - and then bows on more humid days (60 - 70 %).

What got me thinking this is some days I notice just barely a little fret buzz on the upper frets 8th to 10th frets or so - but then other days it's as beautiful as it should be, and although I had not done any formal tracking it seems to correspond with the humidity.  Does that make sense at all, or should I just chalk it up to another senior moment?

Rgds - billroy

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if the humidity is a drastic change I suppose. I keep my guitar in its case unless its in my hands I keep a damp sponge in a soap travel dish with some cut outs in it and has worked well for me.

Edited by kwalker201

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Absolutely can change day to day. You usually notice it first in tuning changes. Guitars go sharp as humidity increases, flat as it gets dryer.

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4 minutes ago, j45nick said:

Guitars go sharp as humidity increases, flat as it gets dryer.

I was never aware of that! I guess I have never paid attention to that part of my tuning

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This is pro vs con as why so many of us keep the guitars cased until it's time to play them. 

 

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40 minutes ago, kidblast said:

This is pro vs con as why so many of us keep the guitars cased until it's time to play them. 

 

Yes - this seems to be the first big reason to keep it in a case.  I do keep the room humidified so typically stay in the safe range (40 - 60), but it seems like changes to the extreme even in range effects it. 

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1 hour ago, j45nick said:

Absolutely can change day to day. You usually notice it first in tuning changes. Guitars go sharp as humidity increases, flat as it gets dryer.

 

I thought I was noticing the opposite, will have to pay a little more attention (and thank you all for the replies).

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31 minutes ago, billroy said:

Yes - this seems to be the first big reason to keep it in a case.  I do keep the room humidified so typically stay in the safe range (40 - 60), but it seems like changes to the extreme even in range effects it. 

I'm probably on the conservative side of caution, I've seen a few nice guitars that were turned into train wrecks b/c of climate flux issues.   Those guys thought it would be "okay" too but in the end, I guess it wasn't quite what it seemed.

 

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I always keep them in their case or gig bag, where i live it gets really humid (can get up to 90%) during the winter. Right now its really hot but still we get like 40-60%! so im a little bit more comfortable to have them out in the room for a day or 2

The only guitar i am not keeping in its bag its my new tribute, but i got it so i can have it always ready besides my sofa

 

But yes it affects them, during winter my firebird neck got weird and it started buzzing , and i put it away until Summer and now neck is ok

Edited by FemmeParallell

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It seems to me that if a guitar’s action up is constantly in a flux of just right now off just right now off because of daily humidity, then the set up might be slightly off for practical use in the environment you are in...meaning the action is likely just slightly too low and not really exactly in the sweet spot.  

I have one guitar that I have to swap saddles in and out for the winter and one for the summer, but that’s due to an extreme change.  Not a day to day change.

I suspect the saddle is just ever slightly too low for day two’s humidity while it may just be right for day one’s humidity...probably comparable to how it was when it’s height was set.  

The solution would be to try a slightly higher saddle.  One that has a reasonable sweet spot on day one as well as day two.   As the one you have seems to be teetering on the right height, but isn’t exactly right.

That would be from my experience. Another thing I once experienced, is once I kept thinking that one of my guitar’s string height was changing for no reason, when what it turned out to be is I would periodically put my sound hole pick up on and periodically take it off.  And, what was happening was the height of the soundhole pickup would sometimes cause string buzz on the 10-15th fret because I would put the soundhole pickup a bit too close to the neck side, where it caused the pickup to be a bitter higher, causing the string to hit the pickup when I pressed on the 10-15th fret.  On that particular guitar, I always have to remember to place the sound hole pickup a bit towards the middle of the soundhole so no string buzz occurs as described.

Again, just my experience.

If you do not have a soundhole pickup, you might try temporarily slightly raising the saddle a bit with a shim.  And, if it stops the daily on off string buzz, then you k ow you’ve isolated where the problem is and can get a permanent saddle cut a bit higher (or try to carve/sand one yourself...it’s kinda easy to do.)

If that doesn’t help you might try controlling the humidity differently, but that may not make sense if you take the guitar to a gig and it has different humidity.  

I suppose it could also be in need of a truss rod adjustment, but I suspect it’s a slightly too low saddle and would try that first.

Keep is posted.

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have one guitar I alternate saddles on starting last year. The others are fine so far. I rotate the 3 acoustics. One of the three is on a stand at any given time while the others are in their cases. If the week was particularly humid, I soft clip a couple sillica gel paks to the strings when it goes back into the case. I can tell by how it's playing. Kind of starts about now and goes through October down here. Last year was a record rain year for us and the first time i ever had to do that. Hopefully that's done with. 

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If it's that close a tolerance, you should probably just tweak for slightly higher action via your truss rod.

The friendly ghosts that live in my house continue to keep my old hanging guitars in fine playing shape without the use of any humidity gizmos. 

The eternal debate goes on...

Edited by jedzep

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I have never used in case or soundhole humidity mosifiers, for no real reason. I was told by a luthier in Alaska that hanging a guitar by the neck is good for it, so if mine are not in the case, they hang in Hercules mounts on the wall, or in my Hercules stand. I once put new strings on a Martin, checked it as baggage from Fairbanks, Alaska to Orlando, florida, and it was still perfectly in tune after taking it out of the trunk of the rental car in Rockledge. Some guitars just strike me a being more persnickety than others are.

My Hummingbird stays perfectly in tune most of the time.

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Again, thank you all for the replies.  I think Jedzep and QMJJ have it right, the guitar is probably set up too close to tolerance.   I'll tweak the truss rod to see if I can get what I need -  if not I've got a friend who recommended a luthier I'll give a try. 

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Mine are never cased, except for travel. They hang on the wall. The action and tuning will change from day to day.

The 1933 Gibson mandolin will go sharp if the humidity goes up considerably, as will the guitars. My humidity is pretty stable, but it's at 71% right now. It'll go down in an hour or so due to a/c bleedoff from an adjoining room.

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6 hours ago, billroy said:

Again, thank you all for the replies.  I think Jedzep and QMJJ have it right, the guitar is probably set up too close to tolerance.   I'll tweak the truss rod to see if I can get what I need -  if not I've got a friend who recommended a luthier I'll give a try. 

 

Keep in mind, my post first suggested slightly raising the saddle with a shim to see if that isolates the cause of the problem.  Secondly, I suggested if that doesn’t isolate the prob, to try adjusting the truss rod.  The reason I suggested first trying a saddle shim to see if it isolates fixing the problem, is because adjusting the truss rod is not usually used for adjusting the action for the upper frets.  Truss rod tweaking is usually to stop string buzz on the 1-3 frets.  Not up the neck.  However, a knowledgeable adjustment of the truss rod can change the hump on the middle frets from an outie hump to an innie angle, which could eliminate fret buzz on the 5-10th fret, but that adjustment takes some expertise to first totally relax the truss rod tension and then slowly tighten it so an innie or outie neck hump or reverse hump (whatever it’s called) forms in the middle of the neck, thus raising or lowering the neck to string angle on the middle frets.  It’s always easier to just try to slightly raise the saddle to avoid the major (or more artistic) truss rod adjustment unless the neck hump or enclave is way outa wack.  I say artistic because such an adjustment is more an art than a science to do.  Although, there are some good YouTube videos on how to do it.  But, as you mention possibly taking it to a luthier, I assume you, like many, aren’t revved to try the fix yourself if needed.  (That’s why there are luthiers, no worries.)

I hope this helps.

QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff

 

 

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2 hours ago, QuestionMark said:

 

Keep in mind, my post first suggested slightly raising the saddle with a shim to see if that isolates the cause of the problem.  Secondly, I suggested if that doesn’t isolate the prob, to try adjusting the truss rod.  The reason I suggested first trying a saddle shim to see if it isolates fixing the problem, is because adjusting the truss rod is not usually used for adjusting the action for the upper frets.  Truss rod tweaking is usually to stop string buzz on the 1-3 frets.  Not up the neck.  However, a knowledgeable adjustment of the truss rod can change the hump on the middle frets from an outie hump to an innie angle, which could eliminate fret buzz on the 5-10th fret, but that adjustment takes some expertise to first totally relax the truss rod tension and then slowly tighten it so an innie or outie neck hump or reverse hump (whatever it’s called) forms in the middle of the neck, thus raising or lowering the neck to string angle on the middle frets.  It’s always easier to just try to slightly raise the saddle to avoid the major (or more artistic) truss rod adjustment unless the neck hump or enclave is way outa wack.  I say artistic because such an adjustment is more an art than a science to do.  Although, there are some good YouTube videos on how to do it.  But, as you mention possibly taking it to a luthier, I assume you, like many, aren’t revved to try the fix yourself if needed.  (That’s why there are luthiers, no worries.)

I hope this helps.

QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff

 

 

ah yes, thank you.   I'm more inclined to try the truss rod adjustment than shimming the saddle, will check out you tube - and do some mulling.

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2 hours ago, billroy said:

ah yes, thank you.   I'm more inclined to try the truss rod adjustment than shimming the saddle, will check out you tube - and do some mulling.

 

I’m curious,  why?  A temporary shim is quickly reversible if it doesn’t isolate the problem and need for a slightly higher saddle, which can be carved or requested using the temp shim w/saddle.  Or, keep it in there awhile to ensure it’s the right height for all humidity changes.  Whereas changing  the neck’s bow and then changing it back to where it was if it doesn’t solve the problem is much tougher.  But, it’s your guitar.  Just trying to help based on my experience.

QM aka “Jazzman”  Jeff

 

 

 

 

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Probably over thinking it, but my concern was coming up with a shim that was the right size, with a consistent thickness...  Your points are reasoned well though - and I'm heading down to the shop to see if i can find a piece of mahogany to do the trick.

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Surgery complete, used a manilla folder for the shim (1/64" thick).  Seems to have done the trick - but will put it through it's paces before finalizing decision.  If it's good will decide to either put a permanent shim in there, or have a new bridge built.

 

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1 hour ago, blindboygrunt said:

A new bridge built ??

Maybe get a Bob Colosi or something (and leave this one as is just in case it ends up being seasonal).  

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Great to hear the temp shim worked!  Your plan to keep the old as well as get a new saddle sounds like a good plan.  Isn’t it amazing how a fraction of height can make a difference.  Shows how these are really precision instruments.

QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff

 

 

 

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