Low humidity environments with guitars and amps

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Bottle Rocket
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Low humidity environments with guitars and amps

Post by snails » Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:31 pm

Hello all,

I'm going to be moving to Colorado soon and have been reading up on how low humidity environments effect guitars. I'm moving from California, which is has pretty consistent humidity, and am hoping that you all might be able to recommend products/ideas for taking care of guitars/amps. I'm primarily concerned about my electrics (PRS CE24 & an LP) as well as my amps (DR and JCM 800). I have hard cases for the electrics and so I'm planning on keeping them in their cases, but also would like to find something to help monitor humidity levels for them. I've heard that some people get humidifiers for their music rooms but I'm not sure if that's something I want running 24/7.

Also, should I be concerned about static building up inside of the amps? I've heard stories of people seeing 'arcs' when turning on even light switches so I can only imagine that I should exercise some sort of caution for my amps. Maybe just touch a metal surface before turning it on?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!!

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Mark III
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Location: Southwest Michigan

Re: Low humidity environments with guitars and amps

Post by jnoel64 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:19 pm

I have lived in Colorado and other southwest states, including Nevada. Usually, as far as electronics go, too much humidity is a concern, not the other way around. Dust will be your biggest speed bump in a dry climate. But, for acoustic guitars, dry climates are a concern. My dad always kept a compact humidor in his Martin case to keep the finish from cracking. Unless you have a bare-wood electric, the dry climate should not pose any threat to your instruments. Too much humidity will pose a threat. What I can say for sure is that I've had an Ibanez PF230 for over 30 years, and more than half those years were in dry climates. I never had any issue with that guitar, nor any of my amps (one of which I still have from 1981) from being in a dry climate.
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Triple Recto
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Re: Low humidity environments with guitars and amps

Post by bandit2013 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:48 pm

What is worse for guitars is extreme cold along with arid conditions. Fret boards may shrink causing sprouts of fret wire to poke out. I had bought a guitar on Ebay during the winter, it came out of Wisconsin during one of the coldest winters, average temps were in the -20s. Luckily after the guitar arrived, I left it in the case for a while, frets were poking out on the sides which is uncommon for Carvins. A bit of lemon oil on the ebony fret board to add moisture and a bit of warmer more humid conditions the wood expanded and did not require any filing of the crowned frets.

Speakers may tend to dry out, the adhesives that hold the dust cap and webbing of the cone may become brittle. Not much you can do about that. Woods of the cabinets should be fine. You could always add a humidifier if things get too dry. The electronics will be happy though. But static during the winter months may pose an interesting challenge.

Best to keep your guitars in their cases when not in use. If you have any semi hollow, hollow body or acoustic guitars, it may be a good thing to get what jnoel64 mentioned.

I live on the east coast so it can get very dry in winter and very humid in summer. The change in humidity and temperatures can prove to be challenging.

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