This article aims to answer a question we hear from customers all the time, “do I need to humidify my guitar?”
Do I need to humidify my guitar?
There’s a lot to love about our home state of Utah. As a guitar player, the lack of humidity is not one of those things. The climate in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and a lot of the surrounding states is very dry. We live in a desert, after all. Here in Utah, our humidity, (the amount of moisture contained in the air) can be as low as 8%. When the weather gets colder, the heating systems in homes will have a drying effect on the air. Guitars are made of wood, and are affected by humidity. In a dry climate like ours lack of humidity is responsible for the majority of problems we see in guitars. Cracking fingerboards, splitting and arching tops, protruding fret ends, you name it. Even electric guitars can suffer warped necks and sharp fret ends due to lack of humidity.
Most manufacturers recommend maintaining at least a 45% humidity level. Martin suggests their guitars be kept between 45%-55%. Martin also suggests keeping the temperature around 77-72 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s important to know that Many manufacturer warranties do not cover issues caused by humidity. Not managing your humidity will actually void your warranty.
What should I do about it?
Trying to keep your guitar at that humidity outside of the case can be quite the task. Even with a room humidifier there is such a large space to manage, it can be difficult. Not to mention certain types of room humidifiers will corrode the electronics and metal hardware on the guitar. If you do go the route of a room humidifier be sure it’s an evaporative humidifier. These humidifiers can be difficult to maintain. they require new filter every month or so, and still might not get the space you’re humidifying up to that 45%-55%
We recommend that guitars be kept in the case or gig bag with a small guitar or case humidifier
The humidifier should be kept inside the case, or hanging between the middle strings (3rd & 4th strings) down into the sound hole. How you do it is dependent on your guitar, and which humidifier you have.
Every few days, or every time you play your guitar check the water level in your humidifier, and see if you need to fill your humidifier.
If you’d like to be even more exact with your humidity management you can also buy a hygrometer, a device that measures and displays the humidity and temperature inside your case.
If your instrument isn’t played for an extended period of time, it’s recommended you find someone to help you manage your humidity. if that isn’t an option tune your guitar down about a full step before you store it.
for questions, please contact us at 801-298-4777 or email us at Mail@murphysguitars.com
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