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Thread: Humidifier question

  1. #1
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    Default Humidifier question

    I just got a solid top tenor ukulele, so I picked up a humidifier at my local acoustic music shop. They had the Music Nomad Humilele brand. I have saturated the sponge as directed with distilled water. In reviews of this product people say they have to re-moisten the sponge once a week. Mine is bone dry every day. Am I doing something wrong? It's suspended from the strings in the sound hole as instructed, and inside a hard case. I want to take good care of my new uke, but refilling the sponge everyday is a pain.

  2. #2
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    I use the nomad humilele in both of my solid wood ukes, and they're great! I like how they have a low profile so you can close your case without it causing any pressure to the strings. What I do is get a plastic cup, fill it up with distilled water and cover it with plastic wrap. I keep the cup bed side so it's easily accessible. Whenever I check the sponge and it's starting to get hard, I just dunk the sponge, squeeze it under water, lift it up and bang it slightly on to the inner sides of the cup, then put it back in. It only takes a few seconds. I initially ran into the same problem so this has made it a lot easier. Hope this helps!
    Kanile'a KSTP Natural Koa Tenor (High G)
    Mya-Moe Curly Myrtle Tenor (Low G)
    Martin 0XB Soprano (Everyday Carry)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanY View Post
    I use the nomad humilele in both of my solid wood ukes, and they're great! I like how they have a low profile so you can close your case without it causing any pressure to the strings. What I do is get a plastic cup, fill it up with distilled water and cover it with plastic wrap. I keep the cup bed side so it's easily accessible. Whenever I check the sponge and it's starting to get hard, I just dunk the sponge, squeeze it under water, lift it up and bang it slightly on to the inner sides of the cup, then put it back in. It only takes a few seconds. I initially ran into the same problem so this has made it a lot easier. Hope this helps!
    Thanks. I wonder if I'm squeezing out too much of the water from the sponge before putting it in the case? I'll try not squeezing out so much and let it stay wetter.

  4. #4
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    Having a humidifier is great, but without also having a hygrometer to check the humidity level you'd be missing out on an equally important part of the equation. Do you have a hygrometer? Maybe you do and just didn't mention it. Over-humidifying the instrument is also bad. I use a little digital Oasis humidifier I like a lot. In your situation, you'd probably want it in the case with the uke. Optimal conditions are usually around 45% humidity give or take a few, according to most experts.
    I use the one like this: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/OH2
    As to how much you'll have to re-moisten your humidifier, it completely depends on where you live and what your conditions are. The lower the humidity the more you'll have to refill it. It's just part of caring for solid wood.

    If you really want to take the guess work out, try this:
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/HumidipakKit
    It adds or takes away humidity as needed.
    I use that system when I have to humidify. The refills do cost a bit, so there is expense involved. I tend to use one or two of the packets along with another humidifier I can refill...then it makes the more expensive packs go farther.
    Last edited by jer; 08-12-2017 at 05:15 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jer View Post
    Having a humidifier is great, but without also having a hygrometer to check the humidity level you'd be missing out on an equally important part of the equation. Do you have a hygrometer? Maybe you do and just didn't mention it. Over-humidifying the instrument is also bad. I use a little digital Oasis humidifier I like a lot. In your situation, you'd probably want it in the case with the uke. Optimal conditions are usually around 45% humidity give or take a few, according to most experts.
    I use the one like this: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/OH2
    As to how much you'll have to re-moisten your humidifier, it completely depends on where you live and what your conditions are. The lower the humidity the more you'll have to refill it. It's just part of caring for solid wood.

    If you really want to take the guess work out, try this:
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/HumidipakKit
    It adds or takes away humidity as needed.
    I use that system when I have to humidify. The refills do cost a bit, so there is expense involved. I tend to use one or two of the packets along with another humidifier I can refill...then it makes the more expensive packs go farther.
    I don't have a hygrometer yet, but I will get one asap. I live in a dry climate (Utah) and use central AC in the summer and forced air gas heating in the winter. I will also buy or maybe make a humidifier for my concert laminate uke as well. Both of my ukuleles have hard cases as well as soft gig bags, so I'll keep them in their hard cases with the humidifiers unless I'm playing them. I also have a Bonanza HPL ukulele that is Wilsonart laminate body, but does have a wood neck & fretboard. Should I humidify that one, or is that bad for the HPL? I'll have to check with the Pete & Shelley with Bonanza. Those humidity packs look like an easy way to go, but pricey.

  6. #6
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    I use an Oasis, just because Mike at Mainland sells them and I bought my ukulele from him. It works fine. I only need to use it a few months out of the year anyway. It shrivels up as it gets dry, so it is easy to tell if it needs more water. It takes several days to shrivel, sometimes a week. It just depends. I play my ukulele every day, so it isn't too hard to keep track of, but I've never had to fill it daily. I do not measure the humidity inside the case. I just assume that it is doing its job. I'm just not sure that humidifying a ukulele is that exact of a science. Someone gave me a "dampit" humidifier. In fact, they gave me two of them. I rolled one up at one time and put it in the case, up under the tuners, but there is no way to tell if they are still moist or not. They are just a rubber tube with holes in it and filled with some material that soaks up water. How would anyone know? When I submerse it to fill it, I don't even know if it absorbed any water in the first place. But I quickly decided that I didn't need to go to that much effort anyway.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LEY9E_W5sw

  7. #7
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    I had an interesting conversation with the guy that owns the local guitar shop. He's in his 70's and has been playing guitars most of his life. He says doesn't use humidifiers, even with his expensive guitars. His theory is that it's changes in humidity that cause problems. He feels like his guitars acclimate to where they live. He feels like they are in & out of their cases frequently so they don't need extra humidity while in the case and then come out into the dry air to be played. I can see his point. Perhaps I won't get too stressed about the exact humidity level, but continue to use the Nomad Humilele in the case with my solid top tenor. I think I'll just make a home made one to stick in the case with my laminate concert. If refilling the Nomad gets to be a pain in the butt, I'll get an Oasis. I use cpap, so I'm refilling the humidifier on my machine every other night with distilled water, so I suppose soaking a sponge for a few minutes isn't that big a deal.

  8. #8
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    RafterGirl,

    I would point you to the Ukulele Review Site (By Hawaii Music Supply/The Ukulele Site): http://www.theukulelereview.com/2017...bout-humidity/

    Here's the deal: while I do believe that The Ukulele Site wants to sell you a ukulele, I don't believe that they are warning about humidity with the intent of selling humidifiers, and I do believe that they have seen ukuleles come back to them, cracked, as a result of customers not caring for their instruments.

    If you are using a laminate instrument that has a wood neck or a wooden fretboard, you may still benefit from keeping your ukulele in a humidity controlled environment. Wooden fretboards expand and contract with the humidity, exposing fret ends. Only the plastic & polycarbonate ukuleles--as well as the complete composites of Blackbird have no need of specific humidity control--although you would be well advised to not store a bugsgear or waterman ukulele in your car in the summer!

    You want your ukulele to live in humidity levels of 40%-60%. You don't need to shoot for a specific humidity number, but if the humidity of your general area is less than 40%, your ukulele will need a humidifier, and if it is above 60% (that's pretty humid for a place where humans live indoors), you will need a dehumidifier.

    I know some people who are not humidifying their solid wood instruments. Maybe that works for them...but they are choosing to take a risk that their instrument could break--and accepting the consequences of that risk. The issue isn't taking the ukulele out of a humidified case, it is where you keep it for the 22 hours that you aren't playing it.

    Once the weather where I live turns cold and heat goes on in the house, my humidifiers go into my solid wood ukuleles, and it becomes a weekly exercise to check them (and fill them) with distilled water. Right now I am using Oasis ukuleles, but also throw some Herco humidifiers in the case in the dead of winter, as winter is brutal here.

    So...order a cheap hygrometer from eBay or Amazon, which at the least will give you a general idea of humidity, and try to keep your ukulele above 40% relative humidity. Good luck!
    Playing ukulele since January 2016.

    Have you participated in the thread, "How the Ukulele Found You?" If not, please consider adding your story--they are just fun to read.

    http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...lele-found-you

  9. #9
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    I have read a lot about humidity and ukulele care, so this guy's take on it was definitely different and really surprised me. Figuring out my humidity level and sticking a humidifier in the case with my ukes isn't really too hard in order to take care of them.

    I think maybe I was squeezing too much water out of the sponge on the Nomad. It's still wet today.

  10. #10
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    More good reading about humidity care from your instrument.

    http://www.chicagofretworks.com/2014...-2015-edition/

    https://www.maurysmusic.com/maury_s_...oustic_guitars

    http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=206168

    There is so much good info on the subject. Also, remember that you can over humidify your uke too. You'll likely notice the sound getting muddy or muted. Imagine sound coming through wet wood.

    Also your hard case is not going to solve the humidity problem unless it is hermetically sealed. 99% of the guitar and ukulele hard cases are not. The only ones I've seen that can are in the $4,000 and up range.
    Last edited by cyber3d; 08-12-2017 at 03:10 PM.

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