Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Time to humidify again

Just a reminder for all folks who care about their solid wood instruments, it is time to humidify. Homemade humidifiers placed in the instrument hard case can be a great help against dramatic drying of the wood (and very possible cracks that follow). Even better is to choose a room in your house that you can keep humidified to approximately 47% RH and store your instruments there till moisture re-enters the atmosphere again (sometime in the Spring). Keep in mind that you can take your instruments from that room for short periods of time and play them till your hands tire out. Just put them back when you are done. And remember that wood is also very susceptible to extremes in temperature. When it is cold out, please carry your instrument in a well insulated case. And if it has been out in the cold over a few hours (like in your trunk for a couple of hours), DO NOT open that case immediately after taking it back inside. Allow the case and the instrument inside to slowly warm over many hours. Instruments with nitrocellulose (lacquer) finishes will often develop cracked finishes from just one such temperature change event.

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Thanks for the reminder!

Here’s a question: Is it just as important to humidify electric guitars, specifically solid body?

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I’d say not as much, but that’s just my hunch. If you had an unsealed wood (like a fingerboard or neck), it might shrink in dry air. For necks, the fret ends will start sticking out if the wood shrinks. But as far as a sealed body… I suspect it is pretty bombproof for humidity. Just my thoughts… others may know better. On the flip side, with the metal and electrics, I wouldn’t want to get too much humidity on an electric.

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Mike is pretty much right; a solid body electric guitar with a polyester finish is not particularly susceptible to changes in humidity or temperature for that matter save for poor intonation and ill fitting frets. However a solid body with a nitrocellulose finish may develop finish cracks with extremes in temperature and may even crack along a seam from extremes in humidity (or lack thereof). This is why many collectors will store both their nice acoustics and electrics in humidity controlled environments.

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I found this old post I did on Humidity.

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