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Owning an acoustic guitar can be a great experience and an expensive one if you purchase a top-quality brand. A solid wood guitar will sound great and play like a dream but maintaining it might be more involved than you might think. Humidification is an important part of the process and making sure that your guitar stays in top shape for its entire life.
Even a laminate guitar can benefit from proper humidity levels and will also help to increase its lifespan. Many people overlook this important part of guitar maintenance but it should be on everyone’s to-do list.
A guitar humidifier is necessary if you want to prolong the life of your guitar. Taking care of the wood and not allowing it to dry out is an important part of an overall maintenance plan that will help to ensure your guitar will provide many years of enjoyment.
Depending on where you live will determine how much you need to humidify your guitar. Living in an area where humidity is high will be different from living in a desert area where the air is nearly always dry.
When To Use A Humidifier On An Acoustic Guitar
A humidifier is important to use on a guitar anytime the humidity levels are below 40%. This often happens in the winter months with the cold, dry air. Unlike the summer months where many parts of the world have high humidity levels, the winter months often create dry air that can be damaging to an acoustic guitar.
I live in the south in the United States and during the summer months, we experience humidity levels so high that adding an extra humidifier to a guitar is not necessary. However, in the winter months, the humidity levels drop considerably and I often find myself with dry skin and a dry nose.
My guitar also feels this difference in humidity so the wintertime is an ideal time to add a humidifier to my guitar.
This is done so that I can maintain a level of moisture in the air that is healthy and beneficial for the solid wood on my guitar. Dry air can be damaging to the wood of a guitar because it will dry the wood out. This will cause shrinkage and may produce cracks and other problems over time.
A humidifier is a cheap way to make sure that you are protecting your guitar the best way that you can. Any time that your guitar is sitting in its case for extended periods of time, you should consider using a humidifier unless the humidity level in the location where your guitar is stored is at a sufficient level.
If you live in a location where the air is always dry such as a desert location like Arizona in the United States, It’s a good idea to always keep your guitar humidified. Typically, the air in these areas is too dry for the health of an acoustic guitar.
It’s a good idea to have a hygrometer in your home or at least in the location where your guitar is stored. Having a device like this that monitors humidity levels can be a great help for those with acoustic guitars.
Keeping Your Guitar Humidified
Keeping your guitar humidified is as simple as having a simple humidifier and a hygrometer so that you know whether you should use it or not. If you keep your guitar in a case, which you should if you are not using it, it’s easy to add a guitar humidifier and keep it moist by checking and re-wetting it every few days.
Another way that you can make sure that you are keeping your guitar properly humidified is to have a whole-house humidifier. You might already have one of these if you live in a dry area. If not, one can be installed and will take care of the humidity levels within your house and ensure that your guitar is at the proper levels.
One other simple way worth mentioning is to use a small room size humidifier that humidifies the room where your guitar is stored. Although I have not found these to be as effective and they are also more maintenance-intensive since you will have to add water on a regular basis and clean the tank to keep mold and mildew from growing.
I recommend keeping your acoustic guitar in its case when you’re not using it. By doing this, you can easily add a guitar humidifier and it will be less money, less maintenance and will keep your guitar at the proper humidity levels. I always keep my guitar in its case with a humidifier in winter months when the air is dry.
How Much Humidity For Storing A Guitar
When storing my guitar, I always seek for humidity levels to be between 40 and 50%. This is a good range and achievable in most areas with a little effort. Even in the wintertime when the air is dry, I find it easy to stay above 40% when using a simple guitar humidifier.
Recommended levels should be between 40 and 60% but anything outside this range and it could be damaging over time to your acoustic guitar. Humidity levels under 40% could cause the wood of your guitar to dry out and crack or cause other problems. Humidity levels over 60% can be too wet for your guitar and may cause the wood to warp.
Your best bet is to keep the humidity levels between the recommended levels. Striving for a humidity level of 50% is a good goal to shoot for.
The important part is to make sure that you are keeping a close watch so that you can maintain the humidity levels at the proper levels that they should be. This will involve you checking every few days to make sure that the sponge has not dried out.
Some guitar humidifiers have a built-in hygrometer that lets you know when the humidity levels have decreased to or below the minimum amount. These are handy and can be an easy way to check and make sure that the humidity levels are appropriate.
Best Guitar Humidifier
In my opinion, the best guitar humidifier is the kind that costs the least amount of money and does the most effective job. I have always been keen on using the D’Addario Acoustic Guitar Humidifier. It’s an affordable option and it has always done a great job for me and it’s super simple to set up and maintain.
It works for any guitar and only requires that you soak the sponge in water and then place it in the container. This container is held in place by your guitar strings and it keeps the air moist while your guitar is inside of its guitar case.
It’s up to you how advanced you want your humidifier to be. I prefer the most simple type which is only a plastic container with a sponge inside of it. Some versions have built-in hygrometers and can work quite well for helping you to keep on top of the humidity levels.
This type of humidifier takes the guesswork out of it and lets you know with a glance whether or not your guitar is within the recommended range.
With the one that I use, I check it every 2 to 3 days to make sure that the sponge is still moist so that it is still producing wet air. If it’s not, I can easily remove it, run it under some water, and then squeeze out the excess water and put it back. All of this takes 20 seconds or less so it really isn’t a big deal.
In my experience, keeping things simple is the best approach. These simple humidifiers will ensure that you keep your guitar humidified at proper levels without being complicated.
If you own a guitar that is more expensive and made of solid wood, it’s a no-brainer to spend a few bucks and the extra time required to keep it humidified. This will ensure that it has as long of a life as possible and the wood maintains a consistent moisture content and stays healthy throughout its lifetime.
Even if you have a cheaper laminate guitar, buying a humidifier is a cheap way to ensure that it stays in good working order. Guitars can be quite expensive and a simple, cheap but effective humidifier can make a huge difference in keeping your guitar in good shape.
For the price of a cheap humidifier, it only makes sense that you make this a part of your guitar maintenance routine. You won’t always need it but when the air is dry, you will definitely want to make sure the air around your guitar is at the appropriate humidity levels.
It’s a simple act but one that you can easily do and it will go a long way towards making sure that your expensive guitar purchase lasts and sounds great for many years to come.