Humidity and your Guitar

Why You Should Humidify Your Guitar

By Mike Murphy

Our climate in Utah is typically very dry.  We do live in a desert, after all.  Our humidity, or the amount of moisture contained in the air, can be as low as 8% depending on the time of year.  Compounding the problem is the central heating/cooling systems we have in our homes that also have a drying effect on the air.  Guitars are made of wood and are affected by humidity.  Dry air and low humidity are responsible for the lion’s share of guitar problems…particularly with acoustic guitars. Cracking fingerboards, splitting tops, protruding fret ends, shrinking fingerboards and braces becoming loose are among the most common problems. Even electric guitars can suffer from low humidity, causing the neck to warp and the fret ends to protrude.

Most manufacturers recommend maintaining the humidity for a guitar at about 45%.  Keeping your home at that humidity level would be nearly impossible but you can create a micro-environment for your guitar inside the guitar case.  You should always keep your guitar in the case rather than on a guitar stand.  Not only can you maintain the humidity level easier but it protects against bumps and possibly knocking the guitar over requiring a costly repair.  There are several types of guitar humidifiers on the market and one usually works as well as another but the important thing is to keep it moist and check it often.  If it is dry, re-moisten it.  If it is still moist, put it back in and check it the next day.  You can over-humidify a guitar so be sure to let the humidifier dry out before you recharge it.  Murphy’s Guitars sells two types of humidifiers that start at $15.99.  We also carry a guitar case hygrometer that measures the temperature and moisture in the case.

Maintaining proper humidity around your guitar will prolong the life of the instrument and keep it sounding it’s very best.