I live in the desert. Even in the summer with the swamp cooler running, it’s a struggle to get the ambient air up to 40-45 percent. In the heart of winter, with the windows shut and humidifiers full blast I might get up to 45. But most of the year the windows are at least partly open and its more likely 30-35% with the humidifiers and/or swamp cooler going.
I got a beautiful Taylor Koa Mini in November and I’ve been trying my best to meet the manufacturer’s 45-55% standard. I have D’Addario humidipacks, and also some other brand of humidifier to add moisture when it gets really dry. With all of this, I can keep the case moisture around 45-55 (usually closer to 45).
But here’s the problem. There is often a 10-15 percent difference between the case air and the ambient air. I can tell it affects the guitar because it is invariably sharp (as much as a 15c difference on my tuner) when I pull it out of the case, and the tuning changes over the next 30-45 minutes. I’ve taken to pulling it out and letting it sit for a while before I even bother to try to tune it and play. But this happens every day and I’m worried I’m hurting my poor lovely guitar.
Any suggestions? Would it be better to be drier but more stable?
How warm is it? Relative humidity is relative to temperature. 45-55% at 70 F is similar to 40-50% at 75 F ( roughly, didn’t look it up).
How compulsive to be about humidity is an ongoing debate with lots of charges emotions on various guitar forums.
In Denver winter, I and a few high end guitar stores manage 35% on a good day at roughly 70 F. No damage yet.
Of course every guitar is different. I would do what you are doing and sweat it less.
Thanks for your reply. Ambient temp is between 60 and 80 depending on time of year and time of day.
I appreciate your experience with Denver music stores. The difference there, I think, is that your guitars would be consistently in one environment the entire time. In my situation, the guitar is being shuttled between the case and the room at least once and often twice a day.
Like you said, I maybe shouldn’t worry but the fact that it is basically unstable every time I take it out of the case seems like over time it could cause a problem.
One good thing is your Mini has Laminate back and sides which are more stable than
solid wood. they won’t move as much so the top will be under less stress.
It would be better to keep your guitar in a stable environment of 35% to 45% RH than
having it jump back and forth. You have to remember Taylor say 45-55 to cover their
ass not yours.
If you’re really worried get a carbon fiber guitar and enjoy playing rather than driving
yourself crazy over humidity.
I would argue that most players take their guitars out of their cases at times, in all sorts of environments, not just controlled environments that are equal in humidity to the case, in fact, rarely so.
Play your guitar!
Thanks, but I love my guitar! Its the most beautiful thing I own and doubt a carbon fiber would ever sound as good.
I will take your advice and try to decrease the case humidity for a better balance and see how that goes. I really appreciate your help!
I am sure that is true, especially people who gig. I probably am being a little excessively concerned, but my guitar sounds amazing and I really dont want to ruin it.
Denver is simiilar to my climate–how much difference do you notice in your own guitar case/ practice area? Do you use humidifiers in case or outside? Do you notice a similar effect in your guitar’s tuning when you remove it for the case?
I don’t keep mine in the case. I like them
out on the stand to easily grab and play.
The RH varies from 30-40% (much lower when my wife decides that the humidifier is too noisy and turns it off, or after a vacation). I need to tune up or down depending on which way the humidity has been drifting, but I tune every time I pick it up anyway. Sometimes it is stable.
I choose not to worry about it. None of the three guitars has fret sprout or cracks, been like this a year and a half.
I left an electric up in a closet in Fraser colorado. No humidity control. Likely RH in the single digits. No fret sprout after a month.
Edit: I will not leave my acoustic in Fraser.