A guitar humidifier is a simple, inexpensive, effective product that slowly releases moisture into the air. When used properly, a quality humidifier prevents damage to your instrument.
What's The Problem?
First, a quick definition...
Humidity is water in the air. It's typically described as a percentage. 100% humidity, for example, means that the air cannot hold any more water.
When the humidity is "too high" you feel uncomfortable. You feel hot... sticky... clammy. What about your guitar? The wood swells, your strings stretch (as the neck bows back), and the glue that holds the joints together can be weakened.
When the humidity is "too low" you also feel uncomfortable. Your skin dries and cracks... your sinuses dry out and can cause pain... your mouth and throat can dry out as you sleep, causing discomfort.
When Is The Humidity "Just Right"?
The ideal humidity level for your guitar is somewhere between 45-55% relative humidity.
A humidity level that is too low can create problems such as cracks in the wood or finish, fret wires that extend beyond the edge of the neck, neck twisting, and other structural problems.
When humidity is too high the glue that holds your joints and supports together could weaken and fail. If the body of your guitar swells, the distance between your strings and the fret-board increases, ruining your carefully adjusted action.
How To Use Most Guitar Humidifiers
Most guitar humidifiers work through simple evaporation.
You fill a spongy interior or clay container with water, making sure to wipe off any excess, then place the humidifier inside your guitar or case.
Some humidifiers are made to hang inside an acoustic guitar. Two popular humidifiers designed this way are the Dampit and the Planet Waves GH (for Guitar Humidifier). The Dampit features a perforated surgical rubber tube with a spongy interior. The GH is a more substantial sponge inside a plastic core made to either hang inside the sound hole, or rest in the guitar case storage compartment.
Some humidifiers are designed to go somewhere inside the case, such as in an accessory compartment. These can cause extremely high humidity if placed inside the sound hole of an acoustic guitar.
Make sure to read the manufacturers instructions regardless of the humidifier you purchase.
Using The Planet Waves Humidipak
Planet Waves offers the Humidipak, a self-contained humidity control system designed to maintain a constant 45% relative humidity level. It eliminates the constant checking and recharging of water-filled refillable devices. Simply insert the moisture packets into the soft-sided pockets, insert one into the sound-hole (for an acoustic) or the accessory drawer (for a solid-body guitar) and the second one near the headstock, and let the Humidipak do it's job.
If the humidity gets too low, the Humidipak releases moisture. Remarkably, if the humidity gets too high, the Humidipak absorbs moisture! It's a self-contained, self-regulating solution that lasts for months.
When To Use A Guitar Humidifier
Some people think the only time you need to a guitar humidifier is in the winter.
It's true that the air is typically drier during winter months. Cold air holds less moisture than warm air, and home heating systems remove moisture as they warm the home.
However, depending on where you live you may need to be concerned about low humidity at other times of the year, or the entire year.
To know for certain, you can check the weather for your area, but that only tells you how high or low the humidity is outside... and your guitar is not normally outside. You really need to know the humidity levels in your home. For that you'll need a hygrometer. You can purchase a very good hygrometer for less than $20, or pick up a combination humidifier and hygrometer for about $30.
Any time the humidity level in your home drops below about 45%, start using your humidifier. Always follow the manufacturer's recommended procedures, but you'll probably only need to moisten your humidifier weekly if your humidity level is about 30% or higher. When the level of humidity in your home drops to 20% or lower, you'll need to moisten your humidifier more often, or use multiple humidifiers.
|Guitar Humidifiers From This Article
Select humidifiers mentioned in this article are available now.
Additional guitar humidifiers and combination humidifier/hygrometer's.