We Love Guitars!
But we need to take care of them. This is an update to help with higher humidity and temperatures as well as those cold, dry months! Here are some handy things to remember!
I strongly recommend that you get a Hygrometer: A device that reads the humidity of the air relative to temperature. These are available online or a good hardware store. Get to know the relative humidity of the space where your instrument lives in all seasons. A good rule of thumb is 42% relative humidity.
Two nice examples are pictured below
(Example of a case humidifier below)
In dry weather (lower than 30% humidity) consider humidifying your house. If that is not possible do one room and keep the guitar(s) in that room. You can also keep your instrument in its case with humidification. Numerous devices are available to supplement the relative humidity inside the case during dry months. Prefered method is a combination of all three where swings are dramatic and furious. The more you pay attention to your whole home environment the better. Think of it as you would a refrigerator. Every time you open the door, air escapes and is replaced by the air in your home…the fridge will recover quickly. But what about your ‘guitar room'(s) ? All that “ideal” climatized air escapes through open doors, windows and even through the walls. If the rest of the house is 20% or 78% humidity…then that will find its way into your guitar studio or den. The DELTA between that room and the house is the killer, so lower that DELTA as much as possible. Next, think of the guitar case as the “safe room”…when things are extreme, use the case as its ‘safe room’. In the high humid months have dry packs inside the case to absorb some moisture. Dry weather please see above as discussed. Ideally, use a room dehumidifier. They are cheap, work well and also helps your home say cooler in the hot weather. Living in California and Colorado has me at a loss for recommendations on what model to buy…nothing that we ever need here.
Here are my best recommendations for home and room humidifiers. I have tried pretty much everything…these are very effective, clean and do NOT leave a white film on your furniture/guitars. The Venta – Kuube L-T is about the size of a Marshall 2×12 amp and I used Amazon for my order purchase. It will do a home up to about 2000 sf max. Perfect for a large open space that we call ‘Great Rooms’. Not cheap…$950…nothing this great ever is. The other is a good single room model by “objecto”. I found this in CostCo of all places! Just under $100 and will do up to a 300sf room…no more. Both models are self cleaning and easy to use. Here’s some pictures:
Remember…NEVER place either inside of any guitar…only the case!
NEVER humidify or dehumidify the inside of a guitar. This can do more damage than good as the inside will fight with the outer side of the woods. If you own one of these devices shown BELOW…go throw it out…now. Guitar cases that are designed with humidity control are the best solution. MusicNomadcare.com is a great resource for case humidifiers that can be added to the case you already own !!!
Here’s WHAT NOT to use below… in pictures
Never leave your instrument in a car (summer or winter). The temperature extremes spell certain disaster…not to mention theft!
Regarding temperature extremes, also avoid humidity extremes. I prefer to use the term “swings” here too. Volatility kills woods…they prefer a consistent level of both temperature and humidity. I’d much prefer to see a consistent climate where guitars are kept that is a few percentage points off “ideal” than a ‘swing’ environment that changes day to day, week to week.
Never leave an instrument in a damp basement or warm attic – in or out of its case. And never leave it at a friends house…ha! Gotcha…
Limit exposure to direct sunlight just as you would your art and furniture. Don’t be crazy over this…just common sense please. Filtered sunshine will add some lovely patina as your guitars age. Direct sunshine in long durations will accelerate aging faster than would be desirable…again use some common sense.
Last but not Least: Delivery day for the guitar you just bought
The first few hours, up to a full day can be critical! If the shipping box or case is very cold or very warm-hot when it arrives from the retailer, please give it time to acclimate to indoor temperatures before opening it. Half a day at least. Let the entire package rest, UNOPENED with packing tape still on. The very thin finish of a cold instrument is likely to crack if suddenly exposed to warm air. The guitar, in most cases, is well protected and will acclimate gradually while left inside the box, packing materials and guitar case. The slower the better, especially if its 89 degrees outside…or 19 degrees outside. Imagine how hot those trucks get…and we all know they are seldom A/C’d or heated.
Here’s a little trick I use that saves a ton of potential damage and prevents unforeseen accidents. I ALWAYS ELIMINATE THOSE LAST FEW ‘DEADLY’ MILES ON THE DELIVERY TRUCK BY HAVING A “HOLD AT DEPOT FOR PICK-UP” PLACED ON THE SHIPMENT. Think about it…they say most accidents occur close to home and the same holds true for guitars. The FedEx or UPS depots are safe, climate controlled and will save that ‘one last trip‘ on a bouncy – crammed truck that stops and starts every few blocks!
I hope this all helps, even by simply reinforcing things we all knew. Cheers everyone!
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