To Humidify or Not To Humidify

Man, It is getting hot… and dry! What do you do when the humidity is so extreme and you need to keep that instrument as healthy & happy as possible? The answer: a solid humidifying system.

Just like you and me, in a climate like Central Oregon, your instrument can dry out. A guitar that has dried out can have some serious issues, even to the point of not functioning anymore.

A guitar prefers to have a Relative Humidity (RH) of 45-55%, however Central Oregon is sitting right around 17%-19% currently. Low RH levels only increase in the winter when we turn our heaters on, or in the summer when we crank the AC, too. Which leads to the question, “Is my guitar properly humidified?”.

The first thing to decide is if your guitar is actually drying or is dried out. There are a few simple things you might notice on an instrument that has been exposed to low RH levels for too long: 1. The top of the guitar will have appeared to sink, which can lead to the next symptom 2. The strings will start to buzz and more so the farther up the neck you play 3. Even though there is buzzing the neck will have appeared to bow forward, too.

So, what to do when you notice this? First, be honest in the estimate of yourself and decide if you are capable of working on an instrument. If not then you will want to bring the guitar to your local music store and have a visit with the luthier. Wes, our house luthier, is here 5-6 days a week and is a great wealth of knowledge when it comes to getting your guitar back up and running. Say you can’t make it in and need to address the issue yourself...

Getting humidity back into the instrument is attainable and can be achieved through some simple methods.

  • Got a hard case? A controlled environment is the key. A hard case ensures the guitar is in the same environment at all times when it is not being played. Sure, it is fun to have the guitar out on a hook for the whole house to see, but now it is suspect to the entire room's humidity (the RH actually drops significantly every 6-7ft. The higher up a guitar is on the wall, the dryer it is).
  • Ok, you have a case. Now what?! Getting your hands on a solid humidifying system is optimal. There are tons of humidifiers out there! The ones we stock and recommend here at the shop are the D’Addario 2-way System and the Herco or Arion Humidifiers. There are also humidifiers that fit in your sound hole like the Kyser Lifeguard, but you will want another humidifier in the case, up by the headstock, as the humidity will mostly be focused inside the guitar's body and not through out the entire case.
  • Lastly, proper maintenance is the final step to ensuring your guitar is performing at its highest level. Just like an oil change for your car, your guitar needs regular maintenance to function properly. Having a luthier adjust your instrument twice a year (after the cold & hot seasons) helps to keep the guitar operating at its pinnacle. Here at the shop we offer a C.P.S.A. (Clean, Polish, String & Adjust) starting at $45. Not only will we adjust your instrument for its optimum performance, we will restring, clean and polish it up, too! Strings are included in the price. 

Got humidity questions? Want to know if your guitar is set up and performing at its best? Come down to the shop with your guitar, any day of the week. We are here to help!