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When to start hydrating new guitar?


egoidealmusic
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Much depends on where you live and how you store the guitar.  Here on the gulf coast it is very rare to humidify my instruments.........pretty much only when there is an extended cold snap that dries the air and requires heating the house (a big pot of slow boiling water on the stovetop seems to humidify the place quite well).  Best to look for things that indicate humidty is required:  fret ends beginning the protrude from the fingerboard edge (unbound neck only), slight sinking of the top in front of the bridge and, perhaps most telling, your guitar will sound better than it ever has before.............dry wood really cranks out the tone.  Be advised that too much humidity is not good either and sticking a wet sponge in the case might do more harm than good.

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No reason to dry out a new guitar straight from Bozeman.    Since we are full into the heating season - you may want to start hydrating yesterday.  Don't aim to dry it, hydrate it, dry it, hydrate it... in some roller coaster type of cycle.  Get the room and/or case close to 50% and keep it there.  Let the guitar get to it's proper level and stay there.  As Buc noted - they sure do sound better when dry.  But, it's a plea for humidity. 

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It's really hard to tell  when a guitar needs moisture or drying. Generally, changes in tuning indicate the instrument is either drying out or getting soggy. Our home uses a whole house (April Air) humidifier to add moisture or,  in the summer, over cools to dehumidify. I try to keep the house in the mid 40s. I also keep the guitars in a display case that is humidity controlled. I keep them at around 48% humidity by adding cups of water or desiccant packs, depending on the level of humidity. A case like mine is not cheap, but worth it id you have several really nice guitars.

J6Qxc5G.jpg

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1 hour ago, fortyearspickn said:

Really nice music room.   Is that a Navajo blanket with a 'crazy line' ?    

Yes, that is a nice music room. But, is that Landslide by Fleetwood Mac on the music stand??? lolz.

Buc and GuitarsAnn make good points about dry guitar symptoms Buc saying top might sink, Ann saying changes in tuning. Egoideal, you might see all strings being slightly flat when putting the tuner on the guitar.

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Thanks for all the thoughts, folks.  I live in deept southern Georgia (think just north of the FLA line) so the humidy is general pretty high here even now (it's going to be almost 80 degrees and the fog is quite heavy).  This guitar has always been quite loud but I have noticed the fret ends starting to protude just a touch.  I keep the guitar out next to me at all times as I pick it up multiple times a day if I'm at home, so it may be a good time to use one of those humidipacks that they sent with the guitar.  Guess I should get a humidy guage just to keep an eye on things!

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I have noticed the fret ends starting to protude just a touch.

Fret sprout is for sure what that is and it's caused by lack of moisture.

The humidpak will do nothing for that.  

keeping it in the case is the best way to avoid things like this.  But,, it's your axe, keep it wherever you want

 

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Yup, Landslide. Been working on my fingerpicking using that and "Dust in the Wind" as well as a few other songs. The window trim is a Mexican weaving and the rug is a machine woven Oriental or Tabriz style, I think. Had them both for many years and not particularly valuable. I do have an extensive collection of authentic Navajo weavings. None I would walk on. LOL

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39 minutes ago, egoidealmusic said:

Kidblast, what do you suggest for fret sprout?  Is that just something that needs to be filed down (not by me)?

 

And Philfish it definitely is hot here, but given the proximity to FLA there's quite a bit of rain and humidity.  That being said, the AC does run quite a bit.

Yea that's what probably needs to happen.  Are you sure it wasn't there before hand? (vs just poorly trimmed frets?)  can you see where any of the finish shows signs of the frets pushing through?

here, photos would help   you'd need to upload them somewhere, (photo hosting site, or even Facebook) and post the link here.

Cleaning that up is an easy job,   I've done it many times with a small hand file.

Moving forward, I would setup a small a hygrometer in the room where you keep in, then you can actually know what the RH is    To maintain the proper levels of moisture for the wood, you want it around 50% consistently.

if you can't keep it around 55-45% I'd consider leaving it in the case as opposed to out on stand.   even 30~35% RH  is too low IMHO

 

Edited by kidblast
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kidblast I just started noticing it about 2 weeks ago and it's very, very slight--I can't even see it with my naked eye but feel it just barely on the 1st and 2nd frets (unsually when using my thumb to mute or play an F chord).   It's not even the entire end of the fret--just the tip of a corner.  I've got it in the case humidifying now but will try to take pics in a day or so.

 

And the advice to leave it in the case is obviously good, but it's the guitar I want to be playing all the time hence it being out sitting next to me!  Recently got an all solid Recording King parlor guitar which just may have to be the always next to me guitar.  It's a fantastic little guitar, though nothing sounds like that J... 😞

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what's happening is the wood being pliable, will shrink a bit when things get dry. 

The frets, being made of nickle, won't.  So as the wood slightly contracts, the fret ends will become noticeable.

if you have D'Addarios 2 way system there' should be a humidpak in a single bag that goes under the headstock

or, take a zip lock bag and a kitchen sponge.  Using something like a pen or pencil, poke some holes in one side of the zip lock bag.

wet the sponge, and squeeze it out till it's just damp

put the sponge in the bag,  holes side up, and lay it in the base of  headstock compartment so it sits under the neck.  once the case is close , that will help to get some moisture back into the wood  rewet the sponge every few days, keeping it damp

A another good solution is a travel soap case and drill holes in the lid.  put the sponge in soap case (cut sponge to fit) under the neck in the headstock area.  (i use a bunch of these for each acoustic case for the winter months)

it will take some time to add moisture back into the wood, so be patient. 

 

 

 

Edited by kidblast
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I recently bought a DIY kit that when assembled, will be classical nylon string guitar. Because of the extremely cold weather, I can't even begin to finish the sub-units before assembly until the spring. So rather than risking that the wood shrinks or cracks in our extremely dry home, I purchased another Oasis humidifier (like the ones I keep in my other guitars' cases) and will fill and place it in the guitar shipping box to keep the wood hydrated.

A penny of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

RBSinTo

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I've got the D'Addario 2 way system on it now (came as case candy with the guitar), so hopefully that will help out.  I've done the zip lock/sponge trick with other guitars, but as this is the first time humidifying this one I thought I'd use what they sent.  Any thoughts on how long to leave it in the case like that before taking it out again?  A couple of days enough or should I give it longer?

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the humidpaks are generally to maintain, at this point you may be looking for something a tad more aggressive,,  so perhaps ADD the sponge/ziplock trick

I've read articles from companies like Taylor when they have repairs sent in I think the average incubation period for them to rehydrate an entire guitar is a few weeks.

if you set a new regiment of in case humidifying, I'd think I'd look at something in that ball park time wise to see if things improve.

Also those paks will dry out as they release moisture if it's too dry, they wont pull any back in.

When my humidpacks start to get dry (you can kind of feel em get stiff a bit) I put a "Dampit" humidifier wick in the sound hole along with the dual humidpak of the guitar that I use that in.

That gets the humidpak feeling normal again after about a week. 

Note that  ya can't just re-add moisture all that quickly, since it took some time to get this way, reversing it properly will take some time too.  Just be patient, don't make any adjustments yet other than trying to slowly add some moisture back in using the sealed environment as the case, with something under the headstock and in the sound hole.

 

Edited by kidblast
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also note, that it does kind of suck that we can't leave these out and accessible  so instead, leave it in the case some where that as easy to get to as possible.  it only takes a few seconds to yank a guitar out of the case..  the benefits definitely  outweigh the hassle IMO.  I have 5 nice acoustics, they all live in the case till I want to play one.    they stay in pretty good condition over the course of the climate changes during the year.  (I'm 50 miles west of Boston.)

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2 hours ago, fortyearspickn said:

 

 

  • , what do you suggest for fret sprout?  Is that just something that needs to be filed down (not by me)?
  • Yea that's what probably needs to happen

DO NOT FILE YOUR FRET ENDS.  

 

relax dude..  jaysus..

I also said.. not to do anything yet.   try rehydrating first for sure.   get your pillow and take a nap.. 

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