As winter draws near, the air quality begins to change.
There is less and less moisture in the air. And dry air is NOT the friend of your beloved guitar. You may like ‘dry and woody’ as it relates to the tone of your vintage Gibson. However, dry wood is not what you want in your guitar.
As your skin dries and cracks more in winter due to less humidity, so does the wood of your guitar. A dry guitar will exhibit some of the following traits:
- The frets will extend outside the edges of the neck
- The belly of your guitar top (the part underneath the bridge) will ‘sink’ in
- You might hear more fret buzzing
- A visible slight crack in the wood (if not caught in time)
All these signs are common to a guitar exposed to drier air for a longer period of time. The way to counter this is to keep your guitar properly humidified. Most manufacturers recommend keeping the humidity level somewhere between 40-55%.
If you keep your guitar in its case, then you can get a case humidifier for under $20. These require very little maintenance and are very easy to use. If you keep your guitar(s) out (on stands or hooks), a house humidifier or room humidifier will do the trick. It also pays to buy an inexpensive hygrometer (around $20) and leave it near your guitar(s). These are very inexpensive ways to protect your investment. At Tobias Music, we are big fans of the Oasis and Music Nomad Guitar Humidifier packages. Both are affordable ways of making sure your guitar stays nice and comfortable all winter long. Both systems can be purchased at our shop. Both are very effective.
We have always recommended using your guitar humidifier from “Halloween thru Easter”. And be religious about checking it. Every guitar, every home reacts differently. Better to be safe than sorry. If your furnace is running at home or your heater in the car, it’s time to humidify your guitar. Remember, a little humidity can go a long way for protecting your guitar. And, water is cheap!!
As is the case with any type of suspected damage, if you believe you may have significant damage to your guitar, bring it to our shop or your local shop for an inspection.
For some great videos on how a guitar can react to humidity, please check out these videos from our friend Bob Taylor at Taylor Guitars.
Remember, the cold weather is upon us, stay moist my friends.