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Ring Music

Torontos guitar specialists since 1969


Temperature, Humidity and your Guitar

Too much or too little humidity can upset the moisture balance in your guitar causing a host of undesirable effects including loss of tone, action too high or too low, wood shrinkage or expansion, finish checking, finish roughness, top distortions, cracks, etc. Don't worry though because it's easy to give your guitar what it needs.

Most good quality acoustic guitars (those with solid tops) are built under strictly controlled relative humidity. If your guitar's environment (its case, your studio, etc,) gets below 40% relative humidity (at 24 degrees Celsius) it's going to start "shrinking". To avoid this, simply buy yourself one of the myriad guitar humidifiers (usually in the form of a rubber covered foam snake), wet it, write it out, and insert it into the sound-hole of your guitar. It will need to be filled up every few days to keep your guitar healthy and happy. These units only do what they are supposed to do when the guitar is stored in its case. If you like to keep your guitar out then you are going to have to invest in a room humidifier and a hygrometer in order to monitor the room where the guitar is kept. You can discontinue these humidification procedures as soon as it warms up outside and you start opening windows and turning off your heat at home. As always though, let the guitar be your guide - if it seems to be acting funny let a qualified repairperson check it out before any permanent damage occurs.

Temperature is also a big enemy of acoustic guitars. Never put your guitar close to a radiator, heat vent or sunny window. Cool damp basements are out too since as they tend to be too humid. Also, never travel about with your guitar in the trunk of your guitar, winter or summer - the extremes of temperatures in a car's trunk can cause severe damage to a fragile acoustic guitar. And when entering different climate zones (i.e. heated home to cold wintry street) make sure to let your guitar acclimate slowly. When you arrive at your destination leave your guitar in its case for 30-60 minutes prior to opening it. You want temperature changes inside the case to happen gradually and not suddenly.

If you have specific questions that aren't answered in this piece, by all means Email or phone us and we will be happy to talk further.

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