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Masterbilts and Low Humidity

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Question for you Masterbilt owners: Does your Masterbilt dry out faster than other guitars? My AJ 500RC does! The humidity went down to 23% in the guitar room a few days ago. The Epi developed a small dip below the bridge toward the upper bout. It went in the case with the humidifier and was back to normal in a couple of days. The other guitars in the room were OK. Any similar experiences? (the cold weather snuck up on me this year. I usually keep sound hole humidifiers in all of them during the winter.)

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Question for you Masterbilt owners: Does your Masterbilt dry out faster than other guitars? My AJ 500RC does! The humidity went down to 23% in the guitar room a few days ago. The Epi developed a small dip below the bridge toward the upper bout. It went in the case with the humidifier and was back to normal in a couple of days. The other guitars in the room were OK. Any similar experiences? (the cold weather snuck up on me this year. I usually keep sound hole humidifiers in all of them during the winter.)[/quote

 

The Masterbilt guitars are solid woods and without going into a long dissertation about kiln-dried VS. air-dried woods, let's just say that being solid wood the Masterbilts are very susceptible to drying out and at 23% humidity it's only going to take a short time (hours) for the wood to shrink and then quite likely crack. Wood is most comfortable at the same temp and humidity ranges as humans are with the optimum conditions being about 70F-72F with a relative humidity of 45-50%...any lower (or very much higher for that matter) than this and you'll start seeing the effects...lowered action, dead sounding strings (the top shrinks and is then impeded from vibrating by the bracing ), fret buzzing (from the top dropping and creating the lowered action) and eventually the cracks as the wood finally gives up to the shrinkage.

 

If you live in an area where central heating is used during winter months and you own solid wood guitars, it isn't an option but a necessity that you own both a system to humidify your guitar playing/storing area and a device, called a hydrometer to measure the humidity in the air...a good-sized room humidifier is going to be around a hundred and fifty to hundred and seventy five bucks (I bought mine at Lowes for $160 but they have the same one at Sears with a different brand name for $180)and about twenty five bucks for a hydrometer at somewhere like Radio Shack...Filling the humidifiers is a daily chore at my house in winter. and yes, it's worth every penny of a $200 to save your guitars because ultimately repairing the cracks is going to cost more. Sound hole humidifiers aren't enough on their own to keep a guitar properly humidified. Good luck.

 

I went and checked them out and they have gone up a bit in price over the last two years at Lowes and have come down a bit at Sears but still worth it:

 

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=158480-12934-HD1407&lpage=none

 

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_03214416000P?vName=Appliances&cName=Air+Purifiers+%26+Dehumidifiers&sName=Humidifiers

 

Nelson

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Don't know,,,,,,,,,been raining like crazy in Phoenix. I try to keep mine at about 45%, but that's not always an easy thing to do in the desert.

Haven't noticed anything with any of mine. I have noticed that I have to dampen the sponge in my aj500m a little more often than with my gibson's. I blamed the case????

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The problem when living in Phoenix, is in the summer time. When it's 110 degrees in the shade it's very expensive to keep your house in the 70 to 72 degree range. I keep mine at about 80 when at home & closer to 90 when I'm out.

I have had no ill effects with my guitars. I think sudden changes have more of a chance to damage a guitar. (like putting your guitar in the trunk of you car)

None of my guitars even have finish checking!!

I do the best I can without getting anal about the whole thing.

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Thanks for the advice! I usually watch the hydrometer pretty close but I was out of town for a few days when the cold weather hit. I think a larger room size humidifier is the way to go. I've got a small 2 gallon unit and it's not doing the job. I've got a Collings, A J-45, a Hummingbird and a couple of Taylors in the same room and aside from the Taylor sounding a little plunky, they suffered no ill effects. Just wondering if the Masterbilts are more sensitive that other solid wood guitars.

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You know, I notice it with my AJ, too. I wonder if it might be that the thickness of the various panels from which the guitar is made might be thinner than those from other manufacturers. I've tapped the back of my AJ500RC at about the middle of the lower bout and notice that it "rings" like a drum-head. None of my other guitars do it to the degree that the Epi does. If I'm correct about this, the moisture would migrate out of the wood faster, creating perhaps exactly the scenario you've described, FastBlueHealer.

 

We're pretty humid down here in the Houston, TX area, but I still keep a hygrometer in the room and when the humidity falls below about 35% I stick the all-solid-wood guitars into their cases and put a humidifier in there with them. Like Nelson said, you really don't want to have to repair a cracked soundboard--even a very thin cleat underneath the crack will inhibit the natural vibrations of the soundboard, that can't do too much good stuff for the sound.

 

The soundboard on my AJ500RC is so thin that there is an audible difference in the tone of the guitar when I rest my right arm on it compared to when I pay close attention to holding the arm off the guitar as I play.

 

Dugly [-X

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I think you're right Dugly. I'm also wondering if the satin finish makes a difference. Moisture is able to evaporate twice as fast using both sides of the wood? Just a theory. Anyway I'm going to watch it much closer. I have the other guitars on wall hangers but I think the Epi will stay in the case with a humidifier during the heating season.

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Question for you Masterbilt owners: Does your Masterbilt dry out faster than other guitars? My AJ 500RC does!

 

I agree with Nelson, I would expect any solid wood guitar to change with drying humidity changes, especially down to 25% humidity. You and Dugly both noticed changes with your CEDAR version of the AJ-500. That cedar top may be more susceptible to radical changes than say a spruce top Masterbilt. Are the other guitars cedar tops too?

 

Glad you knew what was happening and addressed it promptly.

 

This forum can be rather slow (one reason I like it!), but maybe other owners have experienced drying humidity and can comment. Anyone ever hear or experience that Cedar tops are more sensitive to climate changes?

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Yeah the Cedar top, I was thinking that as well. Hard to say. I do have a Seagull 12 string with a cedar top and it seems fine. The others are all solid spruce tops. Well except for the Turser Craviola. It's supposed to be laminated Spruce so I don't think it really cares what the humidity is. So I've got the hydrometer back up in the 30s now and all is well. Thanks!

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How's that Craviola? I had a Turser 12 string a couple years ago. It was an acoustic/electric and must have been meant to play with an amp, it wasn't too impressive as an acoustic.

 

During the time I had it I saw on the Turser site the Craviola was discontinued and thought it was a very interesting guitar.

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Are the other guitars cedar tops too?

 

I own two Yamaha cedar topped classical guitars' date=' they don't seem to be affected to much of a degree. One is an entry level piece I don't mind loaning out, the other I think is quite nice. I doubt that either of these guitars sold for much over $250 back in the 80's when I got them on the used market. I'd not be surprised at all to find out that the sides and back are laminates, but the soundboard on each is clearly solid wood. Neither appears to be as thin as the soundboard on the AJ500RC.

 

Breedlove makes a number of cedar topped guitars, both in 6 string and 12 string versions. I've not noticed many complaints on their forum, just the usual forum chatter. I just love the sound a well seasoned cedar top provides!

 

Dugly default_eusa_wall.gif

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I have an epiphine master built and a Gibson les Paul. The epiphone dr 500 mce has a buzz at the 13 th fret during the winter. I was using packets but noticed to late they had gotten hard. This happened las winter as well. So now I have a humidifier in the case. Humidity is currently about 42% but was about 27% in my house. I'm hoping this solves the issue. I am unsure if this is normal with wood guitars.

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It happens to some guitars. I have one guitar that I gave to change the saddle to a higher one each winter as the strings lower from the humidity and it buzzes around the 12th/13th fret. In summer, I put the lower one back in. Doesn't happen on my other guitars.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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Yeah, humidity variations can be vexing in the extreme. Just keep the case humidified and the guitar cased when you're not playing it. If you use a case humidifier that needs water added, distilled water is the best. If you can get some vapor in the air where your guitar is stored, that helps considerably.

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I have an epiphine master built and a Gibson les Paul. The epiphone dr 500 mce has a buzz at the 13 th fret during the winter. I was using packets but noticed to late they had gotten hard. This happened las winter as well. So now I have a humidifier in the case. Humidity is currently about 42% but was about 27% in my house. I'm hoping this solves the issue. I am unsure if this is normal with wood guitars.

Hi Waterboy; I had problems with those packets drying out, also and put one of those Planet Waves humidifiers inside the case along with the packets and after a few days the packets re-moisturized (is that a word?).The packets work both ways-removing moisture and adding moisture depending on ambient RH. I've had the packs for a year and a half and they're still soft so I'm saving money by not having to replace them. They're not cheap!Along with the above system I have a Honeywell humidifier going during these cold Canadian months to help both my guitars and my sinuses. As a check on things I got a hygrometer from a cigar shop that's small and not too expensive to monitor things and everything seems to be A-OK.You can check on the accuracy of your hygrometer(s) by means of a salt test that has been described on either this forum or the Gibson Acoustic one.Good luck.

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I have a Masterbilt 500MCE I use the Oasis Plus brown and yellow in the sound hole and the blue and yellow standard in the case. If the humidity gets over 60% I take the case one out until it goes back down to 45% or so but the sound hole stays in all the time year round. When I first got this guitar my tech friend who has helped me for over 35 plus years said get a good sound hole humidifier and leave it in there all the time. Been all over Canada and the US with this thing traveling in our motorhome I have had 0 problems. Olie is correct the salt test works great to check your hygrometer. Mik B)

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