Monday, December 20, 2010

Oh, The Humidity

It's Winter time again and that means it's time to make sure your precious guitars are dressed for the weather. As temperatures drop outside, most of us turn up the thermostat and heat our homes with some kind of forced-air heating system. Unless you have the AprilAire or a similar re-hydration device that puts moisture back into the heated air, the lack of humidity in your home can adversely effect your acoustic and electric guitars.

Most experts agree that an approximate 50% humidity level is ideal for acoustic instruments. Planet Waves offers a handy device for measuring the humidity in your home with the Humidity and Temperature Sensor (HTS). The HTS measures relative humidity levels from Low (under 20%) to High (up to 99%) and displays the current temperature in either Fahrenheit or Celsius. It can be programmed to give a visual warning (a water drop icon) when humidity levels dip below a pre-set minimum. It also has a High and Low memory that tracks the conditions of the surrounding area from the point of the last reset, including the date and time of the peaks and valleys of the humidity level.

Keeping track of the humidity is the first step. The next is to control it via adding or removing moisture from the air around your instruments. Planet waves has a low-cost and convenient way to add moisture to the air around your guitar.

The Acoustic Guitar Humidifier is a compact humidity solution specifically made for acoustic guitars. The high-impact plastic body sits suspended between the "D" and "G" strings of your guitar. A high absorption sponge gradually releases moisture to the inside of your guitar without ever touching the actual wood. Refills are quick and easy. By keeping your acoustic guitars in their hardshell cases, you get a "humidor" effect, effectively shrinking the size of the "room" to be humidified to the dimensions of your case.

The most comprehensive offering from Planet Waves is the Humidipak Moisture Management System. As you can tell by the name, it is not only a humidifier, but a de-humidifier as well. Using a formulation of salts, water and gum sealed in a vapor-permeable pack, the patented Humidipak system creates a specific relative humidity by either retaining or releasing water vapor into the air. Depending on you location, the packets last from 2-6 months, with replacements available separately.

Here's a video of Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars on the Humidipak and a .pdf on humidity in general.

And here's a detailed video on how to use the Humidipak.

Your acoustic instrument needs some love and care in extreme weather, make sure you have it protected with one of the Planet Waves humidity solutions.