A major concern for musicians is maintaining the proper moisture content for treasured instruments. Guessing when to refill or to adjust a humidifier can perplex even the experts. The revolutionary Humidipak Automatic Humidity Control System makes all the necessary adjustments and it does this without water, drips and mess.
The patented Humidipak is the worlds first true two-way humidity system for guitar that maintains the optimum humidity level for wooden instruments: 45% relative humidity. The two-way system means that it actually emits or absorbs moisture as needed to maintain 45% relative humidity. The Humidipak is an automatic system that eliminates maintenance, guesswork and protects cherished instruments. Simply place the Humidipack packets into your guitar, shut the case and let it do the rest.
Humidipak has undergone extensive testing by acoustic guitar manufacturers including Taylor Guitars, the preeminent American guitar maker, who crafted such rarities as The Liberty Guitar. Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars explains...
Most guitar owners are in dire need of humidification for their guitars, but some need the opposite. Until the Planet Waves system, there has been no answer for them. At Taylor Guitars, we are blown away by its effectiveness. The Humidipak that Planet Waves is bringing to the market is among the most important accessories since guitar strings.
This revolutionary product is sure to change the way the entire music community thinks about humidification, says Jim DAddario, Chairman and CEO of DAddario & Company, Inc. Were confident that the Humidipak will appeal to touring musicians, collectors, those undergoing seasonal transitions or any musician who cares about the investment he has made in his instrument. Our partnership with Bob Taylor and Taylor Guitars has proven to be the ultimate test and validation of this industry-changing product line.
As many of you have already noticed, your guitar has probably started to change with the temperature. As we head deeper into winter, the air inside of our houses, studios and rehearsal halls has begun to dry out. This will start as a minor inconvenience that develops into an expensive and detrimental problem! If a guitar is left in an environment that is too hot or too cold (like the trunk of a car on a hot day), the result can be devastating. It only takes a few hours of heat to melt the glue that holds your guitar together. This is why it is critical to control the humidity and temperature around your guitar.
How can I tell if my guitar is too dry?
One of the first telltale, signs of a dry guitar is when it begins to play differently. The action may change causing the strings to fret out or be raised too high from fingerboard, or it just won’t play in tune as well as before. Another symptom is when the fret ends feel sharp. This is evidence of the fretboard shrinking, causing the fret ends to extend over the fretboard. This can also cut your fingers up if you don’t get it into a repair shop right away. When a guitar is extremely dry, it will begin to crack. You will notice this more with an acoustic than an electric, but it can happen to both. Here is a list of problems that occur as a result of extremely low humidity:
-Structural Cracks (bridge, neck, top, back, sides)
-Sharp Fret Ends (caused by the fretboard shrinking)
-Cracked Finish (finish checking)
-Intonation and Tuning Problems
-On an electric, the cracks appear in the finish and fretboard.
-On an acoustic, the cracks can occur on the top, back, sides, bridge, fretboard, and finish.
How do I repair these problems?
Take your guitar to a qualified Luthier. Most of these repairs can be costly! I know this firsthand because most of my income in the winter comes from these types of repairs. They are time-consuming, which in my industry equals expensive. Keep in mind that if you don’t take care of these problems now, they can cost you even more later. The best remedy is prevention. These problems can be repaired, but it’s likely that you will always see the scars, so take care to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
What is Humidity?
Humidity is the amount of moisture (water) in the air. Too much or too little humidity can make your guitar sound, play and look bad. Forty to fifty percent is the ideal amount of humidity for a guitar. I usually shoot for 45%. That’s a perfect humidity level for any guitar or stringed instrument. Acoustic instruments are affected more often than electric guitars because they are made from thinner pieces of wood and are under more stress and tension. Changes in humidity will always show up in an acoustic first. However all instruments need a consistent environment.
How to Gauge Humidity
There are several products on the market to help you identify the humidity level in your environment. I recommend a digital one that measures both temperature and humidity. The Planet Waves Humidity Control Sensor is the best I’ve used. It has been a part of my shop ever since it hit the market. It is fully programmable. It not only measures the temperature and humidity, it also tells you when it has reached its highs and lows. This way, you know when to use your humidifier. It has a time & date feature, and an indicator that the humidity is too low. Consider it to be an inexpensive insurance policy for your guitar.
How to Control Humidity
There are two types of humidifiers that I recommend depending upon where and how your guitar is kept. If your guitar is outside of the case in a rehearsal hall, studio or bedroom, I recommend a warm-mist room humidifier. Used with your Humidity Control Sensor (humidity gauge), this method will be quite sufficient. For those times when you are on the road, or transporting your guitar, I recommend a brand new product that I have been working with called the Humidipack™ Automatic Humidity Conrol System by Planet Waves. This humidification system can be found in most music stores. It is so easy to use. It keeps the humidity at exactly 45%. If the humidity drops, it adds moisture. If it is too high, the Humidipack removes moisture. It takes all of the guesswork out of controlling humidity. You only have to replace the Humidipack refill packets about every 4 months (duration varies on seasonal and climate conditions). You just slide the soundhole pouch in between your strings and place the other pouch into the headstock cavity of your guitar case and go. It’s that easy! No drips, no worries. I still recommend that you use a humidity sensor with it, but I can’t stress how much money and aggravation this product will save you! Or, if you want to keep spending lots of money on guys like me, then please don’t control the humidity of your guitar. I could use a new Porsche!