I give up! Humidity

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Bertotti, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    So I have used a large 2000+ square foot humidifier only it really is nothing more then a swamp cooler so if trying to keep the room with my instruments in it at 40-45%, which is a constant battle, if it is off an hour the room drops 10%, it is also cooling the damn thing down and causing the heat to run more. My room was at 43% the temp was 60F and the heater was on all the time. So I give up that POS is going to the garbage I will sit tubs of water out and put a fountain pump in them to help with humidity and have a little decoration without the constant swamp cooler effect so for the rest of the winter all instruments remain in their cases. Oasis humidifiers in a few and the rest a good old soapbox with a sponge, which actually seems to work really well. all the sponges and soap boxes were less expensive than one oasis set up. But now one day without the humidifier the house is down to 20% humidity very dry. There has to be a better way, to humidify without the swamp cooler effect.
    montereyjack66 likes this.
  2. Far To Many

    Far To Many Gretschie

    Dec 31, 2018
    Upstate, NY
    To me, as a person new to keeping a guitar humidified (after buying my 1933 Gretsch), and also having a super dry house in the winter (house is over 100 years old--and is normally at 64 degrees room temp), I think the best solution is to keep them in the cases and humidified within them.

    I use a wet cloth in a open ziploc bag near the body, and one of those rubber hose looking humidifiers in the headstock area. I also went to Lowes and bought a small hydrometer and it too sits in the headstock area. It seems to work well, I check it every one to two weeks (normal winter humidity in the house seems to rang 15-20%), case humidity seems to stay in the 40-50% range.

    As much as I love just looking at my guitars, I now understand the nastiness that can be caused by under humidification. So, at least for the winter, in the case those acoustics and hollow bodies will go.

    The issue I have is in the Summer, I have no AC in the house so the humidity soars (still not as bad on the instruments than being to dry in my opinion though).
  3. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    We've got just the opposite problem here. It's often around 75-100% humidity in Indiana. It does no good for my COPD. In the winter, it makes the cold cut thru everything. In the summer, it's bad enough that we start to develop gills.
  4. thunder58

    thunder58 I Bleed Orange

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    I'm actually humidifing all my guitars as I read this post . I have 6 guitars . All kept in cases . 5 get the " sponge in the travel soap box with holes in it " near the heel of the guitar . 5 get the " Herco Disk " at the headstock . 4 get the " Dampit green snake sponge with the clear cover over the sound hole " . This gets done religiously once a week all year ....... never a problem . Heres an photo of the meter I use in the cases . It's the same thing as the Oasis Meter at HALF the price bought at "Dr Foster and Smith pet supplies " on line ( it's advertised for the reptile tanks , no I'm not into reptiles thank you ) Velcro wrap is the Oasis brand

    Attached Files:

    Merc, new6659 and Flouswa like this.
  5. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    I do nothing:rolleyes:
    Never had any problems. I have gotten old guitars that were so dried out they had cracked though so i know its a real problem but its somewhat moderate here.
    In order to fix said old guitars they required extreme humidity for weeks to close and cleat the cracks, I'm talking about 50 to 100 year old instruments too.
    larryb likes this.
  6. ronbo

    ronbo Gretschie

    Feb 28, 2012
    Broomfield, Colorado
    Very dry in Colorado and I religiously keep my acoustics in their cases or they start to buzz and fret out in just a few months. I have a whole house humidifier (Aprilaire) but can rarely get above 30%. I leave all, my electrics out on the rack, including my Gretsches and have never had a problem...they're all solid wood or made of plywood (hollowbodies), so never seem to be affected. I use a little lemon oil on the fretboards when I restring them (every 6-12 months) and they do pretty well...a couple have had some fret sprout, but once I fixed that it hasn't come back. I really like having my pretty electrics sit out where I can see them and play them, so glad I don't have to case them, so far...
  7. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    We usually do not have all too much problems with humidity over here.
    I had bigger problems with temperature changes taking effect on my guitars.
    I used to store them in a flap tile without isolation. After a cold winter I opened the case of my Gretsch Flattop and found out that the top came off.:eek:
    Lesson learned.
  8. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    I built a guitar humidor out of an IKEA bookcase. I lined the doors with weatherstripping, reinforced the back with a pair of 2x4s running top-to-bottom, mounted guitar hangers to the 2x4s, and put some Tupperware containers with wet sponges on the floor of the cabinet. I refill the sponges every couple of weeks, and they keep the cabinet between 45 and 55% relative humidity in our dry Ontario winters. It's an easy afternoon project, and the total cost was around $150.

    View attachment 108630
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  9. montereyjack66

    montereyjack66 Country Gent

    Feb 29, 2012
  10. montereyjack66

    montereyjack66 Country Gent

    Feb 29, 2012
    Consider bongos.
    Bertotti likes this.
  11. larryb

    larryb Gretschified

    Oct 29, 2012
    Greenville, SC
    I do nothing except play them....never had any problems in FL, NC or SC
  12. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    Have some cheapos and a DW Collectors kit. They don't seem to care about humidity at all.
    section2 likes this.
  13. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
  14. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    Mine is a large Essick whole home also but my home is largely open and cold and the fan drops the temps another 10 degrees. I just can't pay to make up that heat lost with a swamp cooler.
  15. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    I used to use case humidifiers, but lost faith in them. By having the humidifier directly below where my guitars hang, I feel that I’m giving them the best chance. I typically maintain humidities in the high thirties of percentile in the immediate area of the guitars. For the desert, that isn’t bad.
    thunder58 and Bertotti like this.
  16. RocknRollShakeUp

    RocknRollShakeUp Synchromatic

    Jun 20, 2017
    I use Air-O-Swiss humidifiers which boil the water, so they do not cool the air whatsoever, and are filterless, now they are being sold under the Boneco name brand. I've used these for around 3 years now and they have served me well. I have a few small hygrometers in the room to make sure I get an accurate reading. I used to keep the humidity between 40-55% but I used to live in the South and half the year I was battling too much humidity. So it was humidify during the winter and de-humidify during the summer. It was a pain in the ass :D.

    I just moved to the high desert and I was worried about the low humidity. All my research including discussing the issue with my old luthier has revealed that guitars should be able to acclimate to humidify in the 30's, aiming for 35%.
    Some of the guitars may get a bit of fret sprout, but once they acclimate you can have someone file the frets down and the guitars will be good to go having acclimated to their drier climate. You don't want to go below 30% however.

    I've had the guitars in humidity of 32%-37%, aiming and mainly achieving 34-37% for 2 months now and I've had no issues whatsoever. Not only no fret sprout that I notice, but I haven't even had to adjust any of my truss rods. I also have one acoustic and my Gretsch Falcon and no issues with them either.

    Apparently what guitars don't like is rapid changes in temperature and humidity, but if you acclimate them slowly to humidity in the 30% range you should be fine.

    I have the Air-O-Swiss model, which I don't think they make anymore, but this Boneco looks like it is exactly the same thing:

    I also use these hygrometers, and I find both very good so far (I use 3, two in the room to make sure one doesn't give spurious readings, and the third in the cabinet I keep my cased guitars in)
    one of these:

    two of these (these give very consistent readings to one another, and within 1-2% points of the unit listed above)

    Good luck!
    Bertotti likes this.
  17. RG7X

    RG7X Gretschie

    Nov 11, 2018
    Los Angeles
    Looks really nice and very reasonable.
    section2 likes this.
  18. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    My hygro-temp meter presently displays 36% relative humidity and 20°C in my room; 45% RH and 17°C in my workshop. Ext. temp is 11°C with south wind blowing at 40-50km/h locally.

    I do nothing about my guitars in that field :eek: except they are all stored in their cases in another room where I recorded a RH at circa 40% and temp is 18-20°C. Reading you, I guess that it could be worse... :confused:

    Bertotti likes this.
  19. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    Today I'm at 20RH temps in the room are up to 70 F a bit warm after having been in the 60F area for a couple months now. I hope it helps my electric bill. Our rooms are built in a converted attic space and the insulators did a half-assed terrible job. I will be buying some foam and spraying the walls from the attic side as soon as I can. I didn't worry about humidity to much until I got my acoustics but last fall the drop causes all kinds of set up issues so after getting everything sorted out I am trying to keep it more consistent for them to save me some setup time as things shift. Sadly we are in an area that is arctic dry in the winter and humid in the summer. My outside relative humidity is higher then my house I figure because of heating. I saw a company many years ago that had an attachment you screwed onto your shower head to put some humidity back into your house. I laughed but now it sounds like a good idea. But most easily since I am refinishing my living spaces, paint, trim, etc I think I will add a water feature. I can shut it off in the summer and run it in the winter. That will put humidity back in my dry air and add some house value. Too many projects to little time.
  20. dafreeze

    dafreeze Friend of Fred

    Dry air is tough on me. Respitory, lips, hands etc.

    Desert climate here, most homes are older, late 30’s and use baseboard electric heat but we have very good electric rates.

    I started using the little oasis designed for the soundhole on acoustics when I moved out here but quickly went to this. First one lasted 8 years. I have 1000 sq’ on main level and the same size basement where I run a dehumidifier. This uses tap water. The type that vaporizes with heat leaves white particles everywhere and requires purified water if you want them to last. This is much better, to me.

    Total water capacity I believe is 3.5 gal and for the last couple months I’ve been refilling both chambers a bit more frequent than every other day so am putting ~ 2 gal/day into the house.

    Requires filter replacement about every 6-8 weeks which are $10-12 each, plus I replace a little sterilization ball once a month that average ~$5/ea.

    I have a few small electronic temp/humidity monitors sitting in different areas and keep the place ~ 42% RH and 70F.

    From what I recall, ideal humidity for people and wood instruments overlaps at that value.

    If I miss a water add the RH rapidly drops as the moisture is constantly and quickly gets sucked outside through the walls and ceiling.

    For my situation, this is hands down the schnitzel. I and my guitars are happy and healthy, except that where I work, 12 hour shifts, I’m subject to dry out as this facility can’t be realistically humidified.


    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
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