If you live in a tropical country where the climate is dry with little humidity, you might think whether humidifying your electric or acoustic guitar is necessary or not. There’s been a lot of argument regarding it.
Strong sentiments on both sides made it difficult for me to come to a clear conclusion, but I took my time and got the answer.
So, do electric or acoustic guitars need humidifiers?
Turns out, Electric or Acoustic guitars do need humidifiers as they will assist your instrument to stay healthy and in great shape in the long run by protecting the structure of the wood. However, electronic guitars don’t need to be humidified as much as acoustic guitars do.
We’ll now go over the fundamentals of why and how. These are the most critical questions, as you should have as much information as possible before you impulsively buy yourself a humidifier.
You don’t want to make a mistake or do something and end up harming the guitar, do you?
If not, let’s learn everything we need regarding guitars and humidifiers.
Why You Do Need to Use A Humidifier for Your Guitars?
We all know that guitars are made of wood, right? Even electric guitars have wooden necks while having a solid metal/aluminium body. Some electrics have wooden bodies as well.
Since a major portion of guitars is made out of wood, it needs to be humidified in order to sustain the quality as well as authenticity.
This is the most straightforward explanation for why you should use a humidifier for your guitar. Because woods need proper airflow.
There are so many changes and variations that can impact your instrument because no one lives in an area where the temperature remains constant throughout the year.
Can you recall the day with the scorching heat where you didn’t even feel like keeping your pants on, or the day when it was freezing and you wanted to stay inside tucked under a blanket all day?
Well, all of these temperature variations are generally associated with a shift in humidity too. Therefore, just like it affected you- it can affect your instrument as well.
Keep in mind that, none of these matters if you have one of those fully non-wooden guitars, but they’re uncommon so we’ll continue with the explanation.
It’s possible that solid-wood guitars will break down if they’re dried too soon. However, humidifying a bit too much can swell the top half part of your guitar. When it comes to acoustic guitars, the bridge can just pop out and damage the entire instrument.
It is in everyone’s best interest to keep a guitar properly humidified- especially if you have an expensive one. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on a guitar only to have it damaged by the weather.
Moreover, you’d be shocked at how much harm the seasons can do. A humidifier will greatly reduce the risk of your instrument being damaged. Not only it will sound better than ever but it will also look appealing with no cracks or dents.
Guitars, especially acoustic ones, can have a significant impact on the sound by changes in humidity and bad weather. Because the entire instrument is based on wood quality and type, the guitar may sound overly thin or weak. That’s not something you want to happen.
Why Humidifiers are Really Essential to Acoustic Guitars?
Acoustic guitars are made of wood, with thinner body components than electric guitars. The weather will have a considerable impact on the surface and overall quality of the wood because there will be minimal lacquer on the guitar body.
One of the most common mistakes people make is not properly storing their guitars. Many will simply put the instrument in a corner and forget about it. Acoustic guitars will dry out if they are left untouched. The wood will dry out, which could cause it to shrink and finally crack.
Because the wood is so uncovered, any temperature change will be more visible on the acoustic guitar, and a humid environment will cause the wood to warp. Your guitar is damaged in any case.
You can ensure that your guitar is always in the ideal temperature range for wood to breathe if you use a humidifier for it. Moreover, maintaining this humidity in the room where you keep your guitars will guarantee that it always sounds wonderful.
If you aren’t doing this and your guitar becomes too dry, you won’t be able to restore it. So, the best thing you can do is maintain ideal conditions and guarantee that nothing goes wrong by using a humidifier.
Electric Guitars & Humidifiers
The situation is a little better when it comes to electric guitars. Because the body of an electric guitar is normally lacquered, humidifiers aren’t required because the wood is already protected. This doesn’t, however, ensure that you will never need to use them and that your instrument will be secured.
Electric guitars are built in such a way that almost every piece may be replaced, so you won’t have to worry about the safety of your instrument. Moreover, because the guitar’s body is normally solid wood, the temperature has less of an impact on its condition.
We mentioned the body finish, but the neck and headstock remain unfinished. While certain models and brands make lacquered necks, others have a satin finish or no finish at all. As a result, humidifying your electric guitar might also be a smart idea.
It’s important to keep in mind that if you’re a guitarist who spends a lot of time on stage or on the road, your guitar will be exposed to a lot of abuse. The stage’s spotlights can have a significant effect on the guitar, and the lacquer can probably get extremely soft in such situations.
Also, if you’re travelling, try not to leave your guitars in a car. The temperature in the car can rise to dangerous levels, making the instrument unplayable. The glue might fail under high temperatures, causing the guitar to break.
Hollow and Semi-Hollow Body of Electric Guitars
There are semi-hollow electric guitars, which feature a huge block of wood beneath the strings and a shallow body. There are also ones that are fully hollow and have a body that resembles an acoustic guitar. In either of these circumstances, however, a thicker layer of lacquer will normally be applied to protect the wood.
How Do You Know If Your Guitar Needs Humidification?
The very first symptoms are quite obvious. There will almost always be a difference in the distance between the fretboard and the strings, or the height of the strings. Additionally, fret ends may seem sharper than usual.
If the absence of humidity persists, the frets will become noticeably sharper, making them harder to ignore. Furthermore, you’ll notice a significant difference in playability. It’s not uncommon for your guitar to start sounding like a different guitar but in a negative way. Lastly, the bridge may move, causing extra harm.
Finally, if you do nothing, there will be a visible crack or fissures in the finish on the body of the guitar, as well as on the fretboard. The glue joints will also start to deteriorate, and the bridge and even the neck may separate. Moreover, due to the extreme conditions, the guitar’s neck is not uncommon to become deformed or twisted.
The simplest way to determine the humidity level and whether or not your guitar need humidifiers is to use a hygrometer, which will provide you with an accurate figure. You’ll be able to change the conditions for your guitar based on the test results this way.
What is The Best Humidity Level and Temperature for Your Guitar?
One of the most vital things to consider is the location you live in. No matter what guitar you play, you will need a guitar humidifier if you reside in a dry area where humidity can drop dramatically. Then again, on the off chance that you live where there is high humidity in the air, you really want a humidifier. Not even one of us live in wonderful conditions, and winters can be particularly cruel on guitars.
The best humidity range level of electric and acoustic guitars is 40%-50% and the temperature is around 21 Celsius/ 70 Fahrenheit.
Since we utilize some sort of warming device, radiators and heaters can essentially dry air in the room, and that’s something your guitar needs the least. Most producers’ warranties won’t cover any harm that is brought about by humidity. Any harm like this is viewed as an absence of good preservation.
How Does a Humidifier Work?
Humidifiers are devices that are used to keep the air at a specified humidity level. The amount of moisture in the air is defined as humidity. If you use a humidifier, your guitar will be properly humidified at all times, preventing any harm to the instrument. You can use one of three main types of humidifiers for your guitar.
Sound Hole Humidifier
The soundhole humidifier is made for an acoustic guitar, and it’s pretty simple to use. The humidifier will go into the soundhole, and it will be placed between the third and fourth strings. They’re meant to look like a rubber tube, and some kinds even let you see how much ‘juice’ is remaining. You can still use them with any hollow-body guitar, even though they were designed for acoustic guitars.
You can even get rechargeable ones that only require you to fill the canister with water and they will take care of the rest.
Guitar Case Humidifier
You might be wondering what the difference is between case humidifiers and soundhole humidifiers. To be honest, I don’t believe so. The ones that say they’re meant to be put in a case are the same ones you’d put in the soundhole of an acoustic guitar. The only difference is that it includes a piece that you may stick to the case’s sides.
To put your mind at ease, you can get a hygrometer to ensure that your guitar is at the proper humidity level.
Room humidifiers are used to humidify the whole room, as the name says. Some individuals will find them to be a blessing, even if they are not practical for others. You probably have a guitar room if you have multiple guitars or a significant collection. Room humidifiers are ideal for this case since they ensure that the humidity level in the room remains constant at all times.
It is important to note that if you purchase a room humidifier, be sure it is an evaporative humidifier. Otherwise, it may end up creating rust on the guitar’s metal parts or cause mould to grow on the wooden parts.
Finally, if you have multiple rooms for your instruments, you’ll be happy to learn that they produce household humidifiers to ensure that the right humidity level is maintained in all of them.
If you’re a bit confused about which humidifier to buy, you can go for the D’Addario Humidipak Automatic Humidity Control System that can maintain a humidity level of 40-50% – perfect for your instruments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it possible to over-humidify a guitar?
Yes, your guitars can be overly humidified. When over-humidification occurs, mould may form on the fretboard of your guitar. Moulds are attracted to humidity. Consider the body of your guitar like a sponge, absorbing moisture from the air. If you put a humidifier in a case with your guitar for an extended period of time, the wood of your instrument may absorb far more humidity than is required.
How Often Should You Humidify Your Guitar?
It is dependent on your location. If you stay in a location where the winters are intense, you should apply it more often. If you reside in a place where the humidity level is constant throughout the year, you may not need to humidify your guitar at all.
Does Humidifying Your Electric Guitar Require a Hardshell Case?
A humidifier will only be effective if your guitar is kept in a hardshell case that keeps moisture close to the instrument. Softshell covers and gig bags are great for carrying your guitar, but they won’t keep it humidified. While a hardshell cover is good to have, it isn’t necessary for humidifying, so don’t feel pressured to get one.
Generally, everyone knows acoustic guitars require extra care and attention since the sound and playability is depending largely on the condition of the wood. So, it’s essential to keep a humidifier for your acoustic guitars.
Especially, if you live in a dry climate -you’ll have to humidify them very often to prevent any guitar damage.
Electric guitars won’t need much care as acoustic ones do. This doesn’t obviously mean that electric guitars should be tossed away or ignored. They deserve your caring too. While electric guitars don’t require humidification that often, they can help with playability and increase the lifespan!
Your precious guitar can become unplayable due to a lack of care and maintenance. Therefore, it’s essential to properly take care of your guitars and store them. On that note, it’s best to invest in one of those guitar humidifiers and ensure that you won’t have to spend a fortune on something that could have been simply avoided.
Hope this article helped you reach the conclusion regarding a humidifier. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to ask via the comments section below and we’ll do our best to help you out.