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Over Humidify with a Damp It


DonCarlos

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I wanted to mention my improper use of a Damp It, in case anyone else is making my same mistake.

 

Although the "Damp It" has a taped on colored coded humidity bar, after several uses and water droplets on it, the bar is of little value. So I have relied on a digital hygrometer in my guitar case, that I keep at the tuner head end of the case.

 

I routinely check the "Damp It" to make sure it has some "squeezed out" moisture. The "Damp It" is attached to a string that is then attached to a plastic sound hole cover. So essentially the majority of the moisture is kept inside of the guitar.

 

It didn't occur to me that I was not accurately monitoring the guitar's humidity. My hygrometer was only measuring what moisture seeped out of the sound hole cover and travelled up to the tuner head where the hygrometer is located. So 41% at the tuner head, might actually mean the inside of the guitar was 60%, 70% or more all the time. Yikes !!!!

 

This all came to light today when I took the guitar in for it's quarterly check. My luthier said that actually I had a mound appearing on the top. Over humidified was the diagnosis. He told me the simple solution was to reduce the humidity gradually and the guitar should return to the correct state. And actually he will keep the guitar for about ten days (no cost) and keep an eye on it, but felt confident that it was caught in time before anything significant happened. Nice to have an honest and capable luthier in the LV area.

 

He said that in the future I could use the "Damp It" but not with the attached "sound hole cover", which he said really is for use when storing the guitar for a long periods of time. I just bet that it said that in the instructions when I first bought the thing a couple years ago.

 

Looking back at how I used the thing, it should have been obvious to me that I was using it incorrectly and that what I was creating was sealed off humid cave inside.

 

Hope this information is helpful to any other users.

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Nice post.

 

I use Oasis humidifiers in the case. But I don't put them in the soundhole, because that leads to way to much humdity. I put them in the space behind the neck heel and the case's neck support. Then I hang a Hygrometer in the soundhole from the strings.

 

Here's the one I use - Fluker's terrarium thermo-hygrometer - http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=13998

It's quite a bit cheaper than the Oasis hygrometer, but exactly the same, with the addition of velcro on the back. I velcro in a bent paper clip to use as a hanger. I also use a cloth to protect the soundhole, tucking one end between the case and guitar body to keep it from moving. This works very well for me. With the Oasis full, the humidity is between 50% and 55%; near empty it's between 44% and 50% - they work great in my area in the winter. These hygrometers also store the minimum and maximum readings, so you can check that and then clear the memory. Works great when the guitar is just sitting in its case. Of course, if you transporting the guitar, you'll want to take the hygrometer and Oasis and put them in the storage compartment to prevent damage.

 

Here's the Fluker's Hygrometer

p_22642_FS29896DZ.jpg

 

The backside with the velcro and paperclip -

Hanger1.jpg

 

And the top velro pad to hold the paperclip -

Hanger2.jpg

 

And here's one of my acoustics with the hygrometer hanging off the high E string. You can see the Oasis humidifier behind the neck heel in the bottom of the case (yellow bottom)

HygrometerGuitar.jpg

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Great information BigK. Thanks.

 

Seems that I was so focused on my guitar drying out because of this desert climate, that I lost sight of the the over humidifying potential.

 

My luthier was great and looked inside and smelled the wood and said "The wood smells good like it is supposed to, so no mold or rot, just back off on the humidifying". So smell is apparently an important part of inspecting your guitar as well.

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