Hi guitar friends! I have a question about guitar maintenance. I have an acoustic guitar that was handmade in Mexico. I was told by the luthier that it needed to keep humidity of about 60. I was wondering if you have any recommendations for humidifiers. I would hate to have my guitar damaged because of dryness. During the summers I’m in Mexico but in the fall, winter, and spring I’m in NYC, which can get very dry. Thank you! I would really appreciate your thoughts on this.
I use the D’Addario humidipaks.
Welcome to the forum Laura. 60 is on the high side anywhere between 40 and 50 is fine for your guitar. Do you have a hygrometer. That’s the best way to know if you need to humidify in the first place. I live where the winters can be very dry as well so I humidify the whole house. You can use a portable one or have one installed on your furnace if it is forced air.
If you get a portable one make sure its 5 gals or you will be filling it twice a day.
I use the herco humidifier.
I live in Minnesota, winters probably comparable to yours. If you try to keep the whole house sufficiently humid for the guitars to be happy when it’s bitterly cold outside, you’ll end up with condensation on your windows at best, and structural damage to your house at worst. The guitars have to stay in their cases with humidifiers in the winter.
My guitars have been on stands for over 30 years and I’ve humidified my house for just as long with no ill effects to the house or guitars. If your getting condensation on your windows you have your humidifier turned up to high.
That was my point. Check the published charts; a house should not be kept above 40% humidity when it’s bitter cold out. I have a whole-house humidifier, but in keeping with manufacturers recommendations, my house is between 30-35% humidity in the dead of winter. I won’t risk my guitars to that low of humidity, so they stay in their cases with humidification devices when they’re not being played.
this may be a contrarian view but here goes. i used the D’Addario packs for a few years but then stopped. for the past 2-3 I leave my guitars out on my stand to be playable at a moments notice and they have never been better. i do recommend getting your acoustic checked by a professional luthier type if it starts to sound of or become less playable. they can make minor adjustments to the truss rod (and more significant adjustments) that you may not be comfortable doing. in other words don’t stress too much on it.
That all depends on where you live. You may live in an area where humidity is not a problem. So using humidipaks could have been a waste of money. Also since the internet a lot of people freak out way to much about humidifying their guitars. 35% RH will not hurt your guitar for a few days but it you live where it gets down to 20% RH for weeks you need to humidify. But for the OP to try and keep a guitar at 60% RH is just bad advice from her luthier and keeping your guitar in it’s case is a personal choice but not necessary if you have a properly calibrated hygrometer.
I just don’t see the reason to risk it. People say “I’ve never had a problem,” but the first time you do notice a problem it may be too late. You may have a crack in the wood, that could have been avoided with the minor inconvenience of keeping the guitars in their cases with a humidification devices for the few months that the in-house humidity drops under 40%. What’s the old saying? Better safe than sorry.
I don’t understand why you’re stressing out over someone else’s guitars. If it makes you feel better putting your guitars in their cases so be it. I’m not risking anything, I keep very good care of all my guitars. My oldest guitar is 75 years old, I’ve had my 12 string and a 6 string for 43 years and my two newest ones are both 10 years old and all of them are in great condition even the 12 and 6 string I had on the road for 3 years.
Because people tell OTHER people not to worry about it. The original poster was asking for advice about humidification devices, and immediately people come in and say they’re not necessary, citing their own individual experience and disregarding what the manufacturers recommend.
Hi Laura, welcome to the community.
I live in New Hampshire, humid in the summer, dry in the winter. I use MusicNomad humidifiers during the dry months. They have a special ‘sponge’ that you soak with distilled water (distilled to to prevent things from growing in the sponge). They have sound hole and case holster type holders. It’s easy to reload the sponges when they dry out and replacement sponges are available if needed. My sponges have lasted multiple seasons, so far.