Maintenance of humidity and dryness of Acoustic Guitar

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Maintenance of humidity and dryness of acoustic guitar

Many people believe that expensive guitars are not affected by fluctuations in relative humidity. In fact, high-end guitars are more sensitive to humidity than ordinary guitars. A high-grade guitar uses thinner wood and paint, which is more susceptible to weather changes than a plywood guitar.

Summer maintenance

Although the wood we use for your guitar is 3 to 5 years old, it may take up to a year to stabilize after bonding each part, edging, etc. Excessive moisture intrusion will cause the guitar to swell and your instrument will be damaged unless it is specially maintained. When the guitar is being produced, the humidity is strictly controlled between 38% and 45%. The temperature is relatively around 20 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit). When the relative humidity exceeds 60%, the guitar will begin to expand.

Maintenance of humidity and dryness of acoustic guitar

Here are a few symptoms of swelling that you should be aware of:

Most often, the top will begin to bulge (or swell) and the surface of the top will begin to distort. This is especially noticeable on the cut-off guitar model. The backsheet will also bulge (expand) and distort in such cases. The depression from the front and back head portions of the back panel can be proved. The higher the relative humidity, the more pronounced the degree of distortion.

Another visible change due to excessive humidity is that all bonded areas (such as top, where the back and sides wood are bonded) will become more and more apparent. This has a particularly pronounced effect on the surrounding of the inlay.

Pearls are not affected by humidity, but the pearl-inlaid wood is soft in texture and tends to swell under relatively high humidity intrusion. When the wood expands, you can find a gap around the inlay where there is moisture entering the wood.

Another visible change due to excessive humidity is that all bonded areas (such as panels, where the back and sides wood are bonded) will become more and more apparent. This has a particularly pronounced effect on the surrounding of the inlay.

Pearls are not affected by humidity, but the pearl-inlaid wood is soft in texture and tends to swell under relatively high humidity intrusion. When the wood expands, you can find a gap around the inlay where there is moisture entering the wood.

Maintenance of humidity and dryness of acoustic guitar

The increase in the pitch is one of the main problems in observing the exposure of the guitar to high humidity. The more moisture, the more obvious the increase in the chord distance. This problem is particularly acute in wet weather such as Florida or Japan.

There are many reasons for changing the chord distance.

The high humidity makes the guitar’s panel “sick up” and lifts the bridge and strings up. The back wood is also inflated and the neck is also raised upwards.This causes the upper nut to the lower saddle to be relatively recessed.This problem will further deteriorate under the expansion of the ebony fingerboard and cause loosening of the silk. The fret wire is very strong after installation and acts to prevent the neck from arching. When they loosen due to the expansion of the fingerboard, the neck will also lift upwards, increasing the chord to a much greater degree.

Keep in mind that paint does not prevent moisture from entering, although it can slow down by three to four days. The longer the exposure is in a high humidity environment, the lacquer will begin to deform. The paint on the top will be slightly wrinkled. There will be many small holes in the back and sides wood. As the rosewood swells, the small holes in the wood expand, which causes the paint (which is unaffected by moisture) to sink into the holes. The paint on the neck of the mahogany neck will also sink into the hole for this reason, as will the back and sides wood.

Finally, one of the more annoying things is the high humidity environment. The sound quality of the guitar is reduced by the deformation of the instrument itself, and the life of the strings is also significantly reduced.

Fortunately, all problems can be solved with a humidity of 40% to 50% and a relative temperature of 24°C (75°F).

Exposure to high humidity for a longer period of time can have a more serious effect on the guitar, including the loosening of the sound beam and the wrinkles of the paint. This change will be permanent and it is also a common problem with guitars. Although these problems can be handled by experienced personnel, they may leave a lifelong trace on the guitar. Please note that such damage is not covered by the warranty.

Maintenance of humidity and dryness of acoustic guitar

Most high humidity environmental problems can be avoided with some simple precautions. Here are our recommendations: Do not place the guitar in a dark, damp basement under high humidity conditions. Don’t put the guitar in the box.

Because in this type of environment, moisture will collect in the small space of the box. It’s a good idea to put the guitar outside and put it on the guitar stand. Because this keeps the air around the guitar flowing. If you can, when the weather is warm, it’s best to put the guitar on the second or third floor of your home.

Another factor may adversely affect your guitar, which is high in summer. When the weather is warm, don’t put your guitar in the trunk or tail of the car.

At these locations, the temperature can exceed 66°C(150°F), such a high temperature will cause great damage to your guitar, high temperature will make the adhesive part of the glue loose. In such a case, the fingerboard is loose, which makes the chord pitch very high.Please note that this problem will not be resolved because the temperature returns to normal. Such damage repair work will not be covered by the warranty.

The spruce top contains some small resin capsules. Not all resin capsules can be seen under normal conditions, especially for dense spruce, which is more common than spruce in China. When the temperature around it rises suddenly, these resins begin to swell and prepare to overflow. The result is that the entire panel paint will be stained. Although it looks terrible, it is not difficult to repair. An experienced technician can polish and polish the panel with a fine sand. This type of damage is not covered by the warranty, as this is a consequence of exposing the instrument to high temperatures at will.

Maintenance of humidity and dryness of acoustic guitar

Another notable problem is that if the guitar is exposed to bright sunlight for a while, the panel will gradually turn yellow. Imagine sunbathing. Yellowing is not a problem with the guitar itself. But if there is an object blocking the sun, such as the guitar’s strap covering the surface of the guitar, it will leave a light-colored impression like a strap, which is also a damage to the appearance of the guitar. One of the nursing tips you should pay attention to in the summer is to keep this in mind when you put down the guitar.

I do not recommend the use of any oil, silicone or wax products on the fingerboard.

If you play the guitar often, the grease on your finger is enough to keep the fingerboard from cracking. To extend the life of your guitar strings, simply wipe your strings with a soft cloth after the performance. When changing strings, you can use the No. 000 steel wool to wipe the fingerboard in summer or winter (make sure you have protected the panel from damage) to remove grease, smudges and dust. Steel wool can also be used to polish the silk and fingerboard, which makes the playing feel smooth and comfortable.

Winter maintenance

let’s continue. Your guitar is in real danger in the winter. The danger to guitar in winter is the extremely low relative humidity. For example, the humidity is lower than 40% and the relative temperature is 24 ° C (75 ° F). Exposure to a temperature below 40% humidity will definitely damage your guitar.

The damage caused by drying is more serious than the damage caused by excessive humidity, and it usually needs to be repaired by a professional technician immediately.

The surest way to determine relative humidity is to use your hand’s hand dryer. However, the operation can be a bit complicated. Hygrometers (available in many hardware stores) can only give you a rough estimate of humidity. Although often not very accurate, it is still better than not knowing the humidity changes around the guitar. Look at your hygrometer and find out where it is particularly dry.

One symptom of a guitar in the case of excessive drying is the change in the shape of the top and sides and back wood. When the guitar is done, the top and back wood will bow slightly. If the wood becomes very dry, it will shrink. The top and back wood will flatten and even sag. Paint will also deform due to low humidity (although this type of deformation is actually caused by shrinkage of the wood under the paint).

The material that is filled in the small hole in the wood will also be squeezed out due to the shrinkage of the wood, and some blocky things appear on the paint.

Fortunately, this problem can be solved by yourself when the humidity returns to normal, and you can see that the raised areas are flattened again.

If your guitar has inlays, you will find gaps around it. Such gaps are also often found on edging, fine inlays and sound hole rims. When the wood shrinks, it is slightly separated from the inlay material that is not affected by moisture. The gaps in the paint water will not disappear unless the humidity returns to normal. Fortunately, this problem does not affect the life and performance of the guitar.

Maintenance of humidity and dryness of acoustic guitar

When the guitar’s fingerboard shrinks due to dryness, the metal wire will protrude from the edge of the fingerboard, hooking up the clothes and even cutting your fingers. If this happens, you must have a problem with humidity. Although the repairman can remove the protruding part with a file. You should still humidify your guitar before more problems occur.

You can also observe that the centerline of the backing plate cracks due to shrinkage, causing the paint to separate slightly. Although this is not so serious, it will leave a permanent crack in your guitar.

The most serious consequence of excessive drying is the cracking of the panel, which occurs when the relative humidity is below 30%. In order to repair the crack, and the resulting paint damage, the repairman will have to humidify the wood to swell and bond the cracks to repair the paint on the top. This will consume a lot of time and money, which is also not covered by the warranty. Common problems in winter are the strings that are caused by too low a pitch. Also because of the dryness. This problem becomes more serious as the humidity decreases, and the product will appear on the upper and lower parts of the fingerboard. 14th fret and 12th fret of the steel string guitar will sink. The problem with fret buzzing reminds you that you need to humidify the guitar.

The contraction of the fingerboard causes the fingerboard to crack in the portion of the top. Such problems usually only occur in extreme problems. Extremely cold weather can also harm your guitar. When the temperature drops below freezing, extreme cold can jeopardize the painting of your guitar (small cracks on the surface of the varnish). This problem often occurs when your guitar is placed 15 to 20 minutes outside of the freezing point. (such as walking home with a guitar), then immediately enter a warm room, open the box and take out the guitar. Conversely, moving a guitar from a warm house to an extremely cold environment can also cause problems.

The solution is to prevent this from happening. Before going out, put the guitar in a cool place for about an hour, at a temperature of 7.2 ° C to 10 ° C (45 ° F to 50 ° F). The same applies to bringing the guitar indoors. Let the guitar warm up in the box for at least an hour. If possible, try not to bring the guitar out of the door at extremely cold temperatures. If even though you did your best. The paint of the guitar is still cracking, please cheer up. Although the crack is permanent, it does not matter to the life and performance of the guitar, but only affects the appearance.

Maintenance of humidity and dryness of acoustic guitar

Resolving the cracking of the varnish requires a lot of painting work and is not covered by the warranty, which may have a huge impact on the tone. My advice is that you need to get used to the look. Another problem encountered in the winter is that the bridge brought by low humidity is pulled up, which is more common in steel-string guitars. The shrinkage of the top is the main reason, and the texture of the bridge cannot be synchronized with the texture of the top, so the bridge and the top are separated and lifted. This is easier to repair, much better than cracking. (If the bridge and the panel are separated, cracking will occur under increasing tension)

The contraction of the top and the back wood produces the same pulling force, and the lifting of the bridge causes the bracing to separate, resulting in internal resonance and structural damage to the guitar. (This situation is more likely to happen on the backplane because the glue is not like a spruce top, it does not stick to the back of the rosewood.) Repairing this type of problem requires a relatively large expense and no warranty obligation. To avoid these winter problems only need some common sense.

It is worth remembering that you should never hang your guitar on the wall in winter. The heat generated by the stove rises, the temperature of the floor is around 18 °C, 1.5 meters from the wall is about 22 °C, and 2.5 meters is 27 °C! At that extreme temperature, the relative humidity will be very low. For the safety of your guitar, the humidity of your home should be controlled at around 45% in winter and the relative temperature is 22 °C. If it is low, the problem will arise. Put the guitar in the box and if possible, use a humidifier to maintain moisture in a cool place. In places where extreme cold and low humidity are present, these humidifiers should be inspected daily. The humidifier contains a small amount of water and may be used up in the first 8 hours or so.

Pay great attention: Do not use the humidifier too much, otherwise you have to face the problem of solving high humidity.

Maintenance of humidity and dryness of acoustic guitar PDF