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dvd5300

Humidification

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Just bought a new Gibson L5 Wes. Amazing! Anyhow, I was wondering if I needed to get serious about the humidity level in my music room. House has forced air heat with a built in humidifier (although I really don't know how efficient it is). I was going to buy a humidifier at my local Lowes and maybe a humidity reader (so I know what the exact level is %). Is this over-kill? What humidity level is best?

Is the guitar humidifier (inserted into the f hole) adequate protection? BTW I live in Western PA.

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I think you want about 40% Humidity to keep things from drying out. I bought some Humidipacks and will put them in my cases this winter.

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First, go buy some sort of thermometer/hydrometer. I found a digital unit at Lowes Hardware for $7. Put it on an INSIDE wall in your guitar room. Then give it time to "settle" and show you what % the humidity is at in the room. The Gibson factory keeps their factory around 45% humidity, but a few points give or take won't hurt anything. I was shocked to see that my guitar room was at 23% humidity (and it is only December!). I bought a humidifier at Walmart for $30 or so, and leaving it running doesn't drastically raise the humidity levels too much, usually leveling off around 40% humidity. Buy these 2 items and you can monitor and change your guitar room's humidity level as needed!

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The newer console humidifiers have a built in hygrometer with digital read out.

I have a large console humidifier in my music room. I set it to maintain 45% humidity. This keeps all of my guitars humidified. That includes the necks and fretboards, which is something a sound hole humidifier can't do.

All of my guitars hang from the walls except the L4-CES which resides on a stand, ready to be played at a moments notice.

 

I also have a large console humidifier in the living room set at 50%. It keeps my Gretsch G5120 and Yamaha M5J piano in good shape.

 

My forced hot air furnace doesn't have its own humidifier, hence the need for standalone units. I may install one next spring.

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An oft used rule of thumb is if the room is comfortable for you, it should be fine for the guitar. However, some people like extremes of dry and humid, so that does not always work. I believe 35-45% is a good range for guitars generally. Do you need to worry about it, probably not, if you are playing the guitar regularly it should get enough moisture from the oils off your skin for the fretboard, and the body will get some from the heat and sweat of your body too. It really becomes a problem in areas with weather extremes or if you have a collection that prevents you from playing all your guitars regularly. The case humidifiers and in-guitar units, require you to refill them far more often than a room humidifier, and if you put too much water in and they leak on to the guitar or in the case that can cause problems too. Buy a humidity guage and put it in the room and see what the levels are before you spend a lot of money. Also remember to keep the guitar away from heaters and registers and out of long periods of direct sunlight, even in the case, as they can dry out the guitar even if the humidity level is good. Also if you have more than one guitar, remember that different woods can respond differently to your house. For instance I have no problems with rosewood fretboards in my house but I need to monitor ebony ones a bit more.

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Just bought a new Gibson L5 Wes. Amazing! Anyhow, I was wondering if I needed to get serious about the humidity level in my music room. House has forced air heat with a built in humidifier (although I really don't know how efficient it is). I was going to buy a humidifier at my local Lowes and maybe a humidity reader (so I know what the exact level is %). Is this over-kill? What humidity level is best?

Is the guitar humidifier (inserted into the f hole) adequate protection? BTW I live in Western PA.

 

your fello Pennsylvanian here... I recommend keeping the room around 40-50%... too much humidity bad, too little humidity bad...

 

good luck

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I bought a Gibson L5 from the Custom Shop about 17 years ago and as a professional musician it has had a lot of use - I mean a lot! I have spent an extended period of time in New York recently and it really dried the instrument out, to the point the finish started flaking off the binding on the neck. The head stock is fine in the solid black areas but wherever the wood meets the inlay there is a serious unbinding of the finish. I was told by my teck to keep it at 40% humidity to stay the shrinkage. Are any of you putting a humidifier in your case or instrument to keep it happy? I move around too much to have a room that is properly humidified so I'm looking for help.

 

Help!

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I'm curious - if it's too dry, the wood might crack. But what happens if it's too humid?

 

I've heard that you might experience "bloat" where the wood swells and causes stuff to not fit together properly (e.g. inlays that appear to shrink into the wood, causing an uneven fretboard surface). I guess if it was really humid you might get mold, too.

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I've heard that you might experience "bloat" where the wood swells and causes stuff to not fit together properly (e.g. inlays that appear to shrink into the wood, causing an uneven fretboard surface). I guess if it was really humid you might get mold, too.

 

Thanks! That should be a slow process in comparison to a crack due to dryness so it's possible to counteract.

 

Would you agree to the following:

 

45% humidity = perfect

35% - 60% = yellow alert but still OK

30% - 35% / 60% - 70% red alert but probably still no damage

lower than 30% or higher than 70% = damage is imminent, especially if these conditions last longer than a week or so

 

I have a L5 Wes Montgomery on order so I try to be prepared. I'm thinking about getting a wireless thermo-hygrometer to measure conditions inside the case without opening it.

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