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Humidity and neck relief


Pinch
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Is there a consensus? I started thinking, if humidity swells wood - which it does - that in itself would probably cause wood to go one way or the other. But then there's the truss rod factor - the wood would, plausibly, adhere tighter to the rod, which would make humidified necks go... where? More or less relief?

Look at my life in COVID times. It's Saturday evening, and this is how I'm spending it. Well, at least it's cheap.

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8 minutes ago, Pinch said:

Is there a consensus? I started thinking, if humidity swells wood - which it does - that in itself would probably cause wood to go one way or the other. But then there's the truss rod factor - the wood would, plausibly, adhere tighter to the rod, which would make humidified necks go... where? More or less relief?

Look at my life in COVID times. It's Saturday evening, and this is how I'm spending it. Well, at least it's cheap.

You do live the dream. Your gonna get 100 different responses. I keep my guitars (acoustic only) in cases  when not in my hands with those humidity packs at 49% RH in there all the time. If the rod needs a tweek, I tweek it. 

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2 minutes ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

You do live the dream. Your gonna get 100 different responses. I keep my guitars (acoustic only) in cases  when not in my hands with those humidity packs at 49% RH in there all the time. If the rod needs a tweek, I tweek it. 

Figured as much from the Google searches 😉

I was just curious if there's a consensus on here. Some of the forums out there have kids doing the strangest things with their guitars, like oil their fretboards every month, and stuff like that. But yeah, living the dream!

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Compared to my Epiphones my Gibson necks have been very stable even with changing levels of humidity, temperature and altitude. Basically here as you go higher in altitude the constant humidity increases and it gets colder. The problems my Gibsons have had here are related to the Nitro getting sticky, the hardware pitting and turning green.

Edited by mihcmac
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I notice a big difference in swelling on our outside wood pillars. Summers, they look fine and winters, there is a big open gap on the corners of the wood as it expands. Our bathroom door does the same. Summers the door sticks when shut and winters it works fine.  I tweak the truss rods a little twice a year on the Epiphones, the Gibson stays in it's case. I don't notice a change on it. 

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Long story short is I’m Michigan we have hot humid summers and cold dry winters. I am loosening and tightening respectively. Slight albeit, but it makes a big difference. If you know how to adjust the TR by measuring, you should never have an issue keeping your setup in check. Just remember, the metal parts don’t move, it’s the wood that moves as humidity changes. In sum I set a guitar up with the relief at a certain measurement and when the setup goes south seemingly over time… it’s the neck that changed, not the bridge height, saddle position, etc. The wood was once part of a living thing. That’s all I got. I use a cheap capo and feeler gauge set I got at Home Depot to measure relief FYI. I usually can just check the action to tell if the neck needs relief adjustment. It’s something I’ve learned to do this easier from experience making this adjustment on multiple guitars every year after year. 

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7 hours ago, Retired said:

I notice a big difference in swelling on our outside wood pillars. Summers, they look fine and winters, there is a big open gap on the corners of the wood as it expands. Our bathroom door does the same. Summers the door sticks when shut and winters it works fine.  I tweak the truss rods a little twice a year on the Epiphones, the Gibson stays in it's case. I don't notice a change on it. 

Look at that, we've solved it. Of course it straightens out when it's humid. I expect this to be henceforth referred to as the "door and the retired man principle" on any and all guitar forums in the future.

This probably means my very straight neck should be pre-loosened just a bit just before summer. Look forward to that exciting episode on here.

Living the dream!

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I've been ***-suming that when the humidity changes, and my guitars (which I leave out in a 400' room with a modicum of humidity control on top of the standard house HVAC))  go sharp of flat - its the face raising or lowering and bringing the bridge/saddle up and down.  That there is more play there than the truss rod supported neck.   Might affect my long neck one more than the two shorties,  based on reflection. 

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They will stay stable if the RH stays consistent. 

I have many guitars, (17) they are all in the cases unless being played.

However,  A few weeks ago, I had been working a bit on some new tunes my band was going to give a shot, so I left one of my strats and my SG Classic on a wall hanger in my studio, which had gotten down to around 21% RH.   Within about a week or so, the necks were bowed and the SG was having "buzzing" issues. 

Bear in mind, these are guitars I otherwise never really have to tweak.   So reset the truss rods,  put em back in the cases, and since, the necks have not moved.

So yes, I say for sure it matters.  and not with just acoustics.

 

 

Edited by kidblast
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1 minute ago, fortyearspickn said:

A week at 21%...   wow.   Good to know!   Thanks. 

I admit forty, I was kind of surprised that after 7 / 8 days the change was pretty significant.   

I'm always very careful with the acoustics, (6 of em) as these are way more prone to climate issues.   I figured a few days or so wouldn't matter with the strat and SG.

WRONG!

Trying a cool steam humidifier in my stuido, that we had kicking around, I can't get it much past 32 RH, still kind of low. 

 

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21 minutes ago, kidblast said:

They will stay stable if the RH stays consistent. 

I have many guitars, (17) they are all in the cases unless being played.

However,  A few weeks ago, I had been working a bit on some new tunes my band was going to give a shot, so I left one of my strats and my SG Classic on a wall hanger in my studio, which had gotten down to around 21% RH.   Within about a week or so, the necks were bowed and the SG was having "buzzing" issues. 

Bear in mind, these are guitars I otherwise never really have to tweak.   So reset the truss rods,  put em back in the cases, and since, the necks have not moved.

So yes, I say for sure it matters.  and not with just acoustics.

 

 

I"m assuming they straightened out in low RH then, since they buzzed? 

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KB,  we lived in Central Mass (Chicopee) for 5 winters. That old house had steam heat.  Which sounds good - but steam stayed in the radiators and house got dry.   A lot of variability in humidifiers.  The small one I have is 'ultrasonic', which sounds complicated, but isn't. Cost $50. Aside from their engineered output being  for a 'small room' up to a small house.  May take a while if your house / studio  had as much wood in it as ours did.  

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Very soon after I bought my D-28 in 1979, my life got in the way and I was playing it essentially once or twice a year. Other than tuning off the strings, it sat unattended in the case until about five years ago when I began to play it again.

All that time I never bothered to humidify it, and the end result was a curled pickguard that was replaced when the Twelfth Fret did a set-up.

No bindings falling off, no neck re-set, or cracks in the body, despite very low humidity in our home during the winter months.

The Luthier told me I was extremely lucky, and strongly suggested that I use humidifiers, which I now do.

Oasis in every case. Refilled once a week. But that's it. 

Yes I often have to retune them before playing, but I don't have the time or inclination to muck about with micometers or electron microscopes to check neck relief every time I play. For the my audience (Westley, Mini and Maxi, our three cats) the quality of my musicianship is sufficient without doing that, so I'm good.

RBSinTo

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Pinch said:

I"m assuming they straightened out in low RH then, since they buzzed? 

the SG had a back bow, the strat forward.  

I know right?

1 minute ago, fortyearspickn said:

KB,  we lived in Central Mass (Chicopee) for 5 winters. That old house had steam heat.  Which sounds good - but steam stayed in the radiators and house got dry.   A lot of variability in humidifiers.  The small one I have is 'ultrasonic', which sounds complicated, but isn't. Cost $50. Aside from their engineered output being  for a 'small room' up to a small house.  May take a while if your house / studio  had as much wood in it as ours did.  

we have radiators too,  when we rebuilt the house, we replaced the gas boiler, but restored all the radiators.  and yea it's definitely dry in here, but it's probably the most efficient way for us to heat.  the house is a bit too spread out and  a bit too opened for room humidifiers,  it would be very hard to accomplish that.  

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1 hour ago, RBSinTo said:

Very soon after I bought my D-28 in 1979, my life got in the way and I was playing it essentially once or twice a year. Other than tuning off the strings, it sat unattended in the case until about five years ago when I began to play it again.

All that time I never bothered to humidify it, and the end result was a curled pickguard that was replaced when the Twelfth Fret did a set-up.

No bindings falling off, no neck re-set, or cracks in the body, despite very low humidity in our home during the winter months.

The Luthier told me I was extremely lucky, and strongly suggested that I use humidifiers, which I now do.

Oasis in every case. Refilled once a week. But that's it. 

Yes I often have to retune them before playing, but I don't have the time or inclination to muck about with micometers or electron microscopes to check neck relief every time I play. For the my audience (Westley, Mini and Maxi, our three cats) the quality of my musicianship is sufficient without doing that, so I'm good.

RBSinTo

 

 

I used to use the Oasis ones till I started using the Boveda (D'addario buys them and rebrands them as their own) Humidity Packs. They come in different RH's and can be used for food, cigars, guitars, that green stuff that is legal in many state and all across Canada. I have the 49% ones. They pack says they last 3 month and they do. I've gotten 5 out of one once. They are easy to use and no mess. They feel lumpy like there is cancer tumor in the pack you throw it away and put in a new one, and you don't have to worry so much if you skip a week or so checking on it.

Edited by Sgt. Pepper
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I'm not sure about my guitars necks, But MY neck hurts me more in the cold, dry Winters than in the hot summers.  [wink]

Some Ben-Gay and a hot towel usually helps.   But getting more serious;

Like Sarge, I keep my instruments in their cases and never really noticed any changes in the necks from season to season.  

Whitefang

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If you have central heating and air your environment will be more stable and much safer to keep your guitars in cases. When I leave my cases open indoors, I will need to cook the in the sun for awhile. My semi-annual ritual below.

HHhpX0Y.jpg

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2 hours ago, mihcmac said:

If you have central heating and air your environment will be more stable and much safer to keep your guitars in cases. When I leave my cases open indoors, I will need to cook the in the sun for awhile. My semi-annual ritual below.

HHhpX0Y.jpg

Wow. Now that's a sight! Nice re-purposing of the blue brush too.

If somebody left cases out like that where I live, people would assume they were not needed & were up for grabs. That's become practice over the last few years. 

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2 hours ago, mihcmac said:

If you have central heating and air your environment will be more stable and much safer to keep your guitars in cases. When I leave my cases open indoors, I will need to cook the in the sun for awhile. My semi-annual ritual below.

HHhpX0Y.jpg

Things only a guitar player would do: that.

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14 hours ago, Pinch said:

Look at that, we've solved it. Of course it straightens out when it's humid. I expect this to be henceforth referred to as the "door and the retired man principle" on any and all guitar forums in the future.

This probably means my very straight neck should be pre-loosened just a bit just before summer. Look forward to that exciting episode on here.

Living the dream!

You are funny!

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