Saturday, April 16, 2005

Guitar Watering

Practice: 20 minutes: Julia and Across the Universe

Winter is drawing to a close and I can finally turn off the humidifier and stop worrying about humidity.

Acoustic guitars can be such a pain. If you care, you have to worry about humidity. You don't want things too wet or too dry. For those of us in the North East, the biggest worry is the winter when you have the heat on, and the air gets dry, dry, dry. That will dry out the wood, and at best can effect tuning and playability. At worst, you can suffer cracking.

Not a good idea.

Those of us who have read the scary materials on Taylor & Martin's websites, have to battle this lack of humidity. Probably the easiest solution is a Dampit. This tube of rubber contains a sponge. You soak it in water, squeeze out the excess, dry the rubber cover and put it into the soundhole of the guitar.

Too dry is bad, but you want to be careful not to over water too.

Using a Dampit means keeping the guitar in the case, which is a good idea anyway as the thing is less likely to suffer other damage (like being knocked over.)

Some people have reported mold growing in their Dampits, and suggest using distilled water. I don't do this, but I tend to let them dry out pretty much before resoaking. I can get away with this because I also use a humidifier to keep the humidity up in the house. I figure it's good for me, and means I don't have to be so anal about the Dampits....the downside is that the windows get lots of condensation, you have to keep refilling it, and the first one I had was rather noisy.

Probably the best solution is to take up electric...

Dampit Notes:

1) Make sure you wring it out and dry the outside with a towel

2) Watch for mold..either used distilled water or let it dry out now and again

3) A small electronic Hygrometer (try Radio Shack) can be useful

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