The idea of a guitar humidifier is not something you necessarily think of when you see that beautiful guitar in the store. This falls into guitar maintenance, one of the less glamorous aspects of taking up the guitar, but believe me when I say there is definitely a point in using a guitar humidifier, or at least keeping the humidity stable where you store your guitar.
If you’re going to spend a lot of money on a guitar, you should make sure you look after it to avoid costly repairs in the future. So what is the risk if you don’t humidify your guitar?
As conditions change in the weather around the year, the air can get drier or more humid at different times, and as with any wooden product, this can have an effect. Humidifiers are designed to help with problems such as:
- Fret ends starting to protrude
- Warping in the wood
- Cracking wood
- The bridge lifting away from the guitar
- Change in the action of your guitar making it difficult to play
Basically, if your guitar is stored somewhere with heating, the air is likely to become dry, and all of these problems and more are a realistic possibility. You may not care if it is a $50 guitar you’ve had sitting around for a decade, but don’t take the chance with a brand new Hummingbird!
Can I Just Humidify The Room?
Absolutely, yes. If your guitar is kept in one humidified room where the humidity is kept stable, then this should be absolutely fine. A humidifier could be overkill. If you move the guitar around a lot, transport it in vehicles etc, then there’s every chance you need something specific to the guitar.
The problem with humidifiers in the room is keeping the humidity at the right level, this should be monitored with an electronic monitor.
What are the Correct Levels?
Most Guitars are manufactured at about 45-50% humidity. This is a normal amount, however with heating and air conditioning sometimes our homes or studios can be half this humidity. Not good for your guitar.
The Best Guitar Humidifiers
Guitar Case Humidifiers
For storage purposes, having a humidifier in the case can be the best way to control the environment, and it is a pretty small investment as these products aren’t expensive. A product such as the Oasis OH-6 Case Humidifier is recommended for its abilities to keep the humidity in the case and for its clever design. It shows you when it needs the water refilled, cleverly sits plus to the side of your case with a magnet system, and doesn’t leak even if you overfill it. It’s great for guitars as well as other wooden instruments, so it can sit in a violin case or ukulele case just as easily and do the same job, all at a pretty small price tag.
D’Addario Acoustic Guitar Humidifier
This is a slightly different design, but does a good job of keeping the guitar humidified. It doesn’t sit in the case or even in the room, it sits in the guitar itself! The clever design means it sits on the strings and dips down into the sound hole, providing moisture and humidity from within the guitar. It is a good option for those of us on a budget as it is very affordable, and though the sponge needs to be refilled pretty regularly, it does a good job of keeping the humidity at a stable level. D’Addario manufacture a lot of guitar products for maintenance and even strings for your instruments, so the brand is one we have no problem recommending.
Historically, there are some old wives tales as to how people kept their guitars at the right level of moisture. Some guitarists advocate having an apple or an orange in their case (sometimes for months at a time). Luckily, this is something we don’t have to try any more and things can be properly measured and controlled.
A small investment in a product to keep your humidity levels where they should be can avoid costly repairs in the future and keep your guitar playing as nicely as the day you bought it.