A Friendly Reminder About How Your Guitar Reacts to Humidity
Wood is an organic material that is like a sponge. It can absorb moisture and release it. The process of expansion and contraction can cause stress that will distort or even crack the woods of the most expensive guitars. Riversong Guitars are build in an environment that is maintained at 40% RH (relative humidity). We strongly recommend a high quality digital hygrometer be used for measuring humidity. The hygrometers are available from HVAC stores, or our partner distributor EMD has excellent hygrometers that clamp to the guitar and give an average RH and temperature in the case.
To maintain humidity the strategy will change depending on your specific environment. Your local music store should be able to help with this. It is vitally important for the health and well being of any guitar to maintain at 40% humidity. Sometimes it takes time to notice the changes and reactions. Extreme changes to humidity and temperature are not recommended and will void your warranty. Your closed guitar case will allow the humidity and temperature to normalize at a slow rate.
How to Listen to What Your Guitar is Telling You…
Too low of humidity:
– The wood of your guitar is sanded smooth. Should the wood shrink, you will see “ripples” or the grain of the wood standing out. You will also be able to feel this. If this happening you need to humidify immediately.
– The fret edges are sticking out. This is perhaps the easiest way to determine if your guitar is under-humidified. The frets are filled flat to the edge of the fretboard and as the wood shrinks, the metal does not, with the result that your can feel the sharp edges of the frets. This is an easy fix for a trained guitar tech.
– Tone will change to a thinner sound.
Too high humidity:
– Dissimilar woods will swell at different rates in too high humidity and it will seem like parts aren’t quite lined up. we spend a lot of attention to joints and seams so if you can feel a lip, and the guitar isn’t showing signs of dryness, your guitar is over humidified. This is much easier to deal with than dryness and cracking.
– Your neck may show signs of warping, or the top of your guitar will start to bulge. These changes will normalize if the guitar is brought back to 40% RH.
– Tone will change to darker sound with less sustain.
Remedies for Humidity Issues
( It is best to check with your local Riversong Dealer or music store to see how they deal with humidity in your area)
– In-room or furnace attached humidifier
– Guitar case / body humidifier
* Note: Even thought you may have a humidifier it is equally important to use a hygrometer to measure actual RH levels.
– Dessicant packs in the guitar case will bring down the humidity level as long as the case is closed
– Air-conditioning acts as an air dryer. In extreme cases an air makeup unit will maintain temperature and humidity. An experienced HVAC professional can offer great advice for this.