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Thread: Safe ukulele storage and humidity

  1. #1

    Default Safe ukulele storage and humidity

    Hi everyone,

    I've recently purchased a solid mahogany tenor ukulele (Ohana tk-35g specifically). I love it. I'm worried about storage and humidity. I've searched this site, read Google articles, and listened to podcasts on humidity and I'm feeling more confused than ever! I'd love some help.

    I live in a region of Canada that has cold winters (below freezing) and hot summers (up to 38 degrees Celsius). It generally low humidity (about 40% rh now, less in winter). We have indoor heating in the winter.

    I have a hardcase and an oasis case humidifier.

    Do I need more for humidifying?
    Should I leave my humidifier turned on inside the case to monitor humidity?
    Do I need to store my case flat on its side or is upright in a closet okay?
    Do I need a soudhole humidifier too?
    I keep reading humidity horror stories. How likely is this?

    I really love my new ukulele and your advice and help would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Twin Cities Area, Minnesota
    Posts
    1,158

    Default

    Start with the articles by Andrew on the Ukulele Review website. The general rule of thumb is to humidify below 40%.

    What you need is a small hygrometer, which measures the relative humidity of the air in your case. You can keep that in your case (D'Addario has a new Bluetooth model, which I am interested in). I run 2 humidifiers in my cases in the winter (in the Twin Cities are of Minnesota/Wisconsin). One is an Oasis, which is really nice. It clips on your strings and hangs on your strings in the sound hole, and gets "wrinkly" as it needs new water. I check it once per week...it is part of the routine with 6 ukuleles this year. The other is a Herco humidifier, which I consider "insurance". I think my Oasis humidifiers are from Mim (you can get them anywhere), and the Herco was from eBay.

    You can also make a cheap humidifier with a sponge and container with holes poked in the top.

    As a result, I haven't seen any problems with my ukuleles...but my school drops to 16% humidity and has been up to 70% humidity in the summer. On our ukuleles with wooden necks (e.g. Not the Waterman ukuleles), the frets start to stick out and need to be sanded/filed back. On one or two of the ukuleles, a buzz can occur during the dry winter months.

    So I believe the humidity stories; and I have no reason to not believe The Ukulele Site; they believe it enough that they have been known to throw a humidifier in a box with a new ukulele if one has not been ordered.

    So...to quickly answer the other questions...the hygrometer (I bought mine from eBay) are small and fit in your case. You can spend a lot, but just get an idea of how it reads and be aware of changes (e.g. An expensive one may be tested for a specific reading--but a cheap one may not...but as one drops, the other will, too). With a humidifier in the case, it should be likely stored flat, particularly with a hanging humidifier in the sound hole.
    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    The Land Of Aloha
    Posts
    136

    Default

    No offense to Choirguy he offers good information.

    Like everyone searching for something also, I realized the sponge approach was adding in humidity. You have to monitor the sponge approach to make sure this isn't to much humidity, and making sure your sponge hasn't dried out, there is more work to this involved, not to mention, getting water spilled inside a sound hole, I've read a lot of horror stories over that.

    A company called Boveda makes Humidification packs that work two ways, they add in humidity if needed, or take it away if to much, they maintain a correct level/balance.

    Here's their site, they make packs for many applications.

    https://www.bovedainc.com/

    D'addario uses their packs in a system they call the Planet Waves Two Way Humidification System.

    http://www.planetwaves.com/pwProduct...ication_System

    I've been using these in my Uke for around 8 months, it's the greatest hassle free approach.

    Don't forget this, the pouch for the sound hole is pretty big. Last time I checked, they changed over to a pouch with a clip, which is big for a Uke. Contact D'addario and ask if they'll send you out a soft velvet like pouch, so that you can use it for the sound hole, it's what I did, and they sent me one.

    All you have to do is keep an eye on the packs, if they start getting hard, you can get a glass with distilled water, place it in a tupperware container, place your pack inside next to the glass, then cover the tupperware, and in time the pack will get soft again, and you can then reuse it over like this, or toss it out and buy new ones.
    Last edited by AlohaKine; 09-04-2017 at 03:20 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    208

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    Here is a good video from Gordon at Mya Moe. He does a great job of explaining why low humidity is bad for ukes.

    Enjoy:
    http://myamoeukuleles.com/videos.php
    Mya Moe Striped Myrtle Tenor #1721
    Mainland Classic Mahogany Tenor
    Kala Steampunk Soprano

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    The Land Of Aloha
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnowsPickin View Post
    Here is a good video from Gordon at Mya Moe. He does a great job of explaining why low humidity is bad for ukes.

    Enjoy:
    http://myamoeukuleles.com/videos.php
    There's a lot of videos there, maybe a direct link to it?
    Lanikai LU-21C - Concert

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    208

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlohaKine View Post
    There's a lot of videos there, maybe a direct link to it?
    Oops. I clicked to quickly. Here is a new link that is more direct:

    https://youtu.be/hXl_ooxSOGc
    Mya Moe Striped Myrtle Tenor #1721
    Mainland Classic Mahogany Tenor
    Kala Steampunk Soprano

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    14

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    I share the confusion about safe ukulele humidity measures. I live in Maryland, where it gets below freezing in Winter and gets hot in the summer (so we turn on the heat in the Winter and turn on a/c in summer). My local music speciality store (sells ukuleles and high-end guitars) said that I really only needed to worry about humidity in the colder months-October through April or so, and to just use an oasis humidifier and refill it when it gets wrinkly. (No mention of a hygrometer.) Is that bad advice?

    If I do need a hygrometer, is there a simple one? The ones I've seen online look somewhat confusing.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    The Land Of Aloha
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    136

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    Quote Originally Posted by jisa View Post
    I share the confusion about safe ukulele humidity measures. I live in Maryland, where it gets below freezing in Winter and gets hot in the summer (so we turn on the heat in the Winter and turn on a/c in summer). My local music speciality store (sells ukuleles and high-end guitars) said that I really only needed to worry about humidity in the colder months-October through April or so, and to just use an oasis humidifier and refill it when it gets wrinkly. (No mention of a hygrometer.) Is that bad advice?

    If I do need a hygrometer, is there a simple one? The ones I've seen online look somewhat confusing.
    Regardless of the time of year, you want to make sure that the humidity is within a range, that's why with the Planet Waves Two Way Humidification System, you're always kept in that range...

    To much humidity is also not good, so summers where you live might also be to high, this is where these packs shine, by maintaining the balance!
    Lanikai LU-21C - Concert

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    3

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    There are few things that are insecure to your ukulele. You should take too much care when you store the solid wood instruments.
    - Normal temperatures are best for the wooden instruments. Storing in hot and cold temperatures would result in cracking, warping, glues loosening etc.
    - Change the strings once or twice in a year. Otherwise, it produces undesirable tones.
    - Maintain your humidifier. Keep your ukulele in its case with a humidifier else it cause cracking. It is better to set the humidity 45% and 55%.
    - If you are storing the ukulele in the storage facilities provided by any company, ensure that it is being kept in the climate controlled spaces. Ensure that it doesn't go too dry or too moist.
    - You should clean the instrument properly before you store it. Clean it like you clean the guitar. Donít allow any sweat to reside on your instrument, it can damage your instrument.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    The Land Of Aloha
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagdaJo View Post
    There are few things that are insecure to your ukulele. You should take too much care when you store the solid wood instruments.
    - Normal temperatures are best for the wooden instruments. Storing in hot and cold temperatures would result in cracking, warping, glues loosening etc.
    - Change the strings once or twice in a year. Otherwise, it produces undesirable tones.
    - Maintain your humidifier. Keep your ukulele in its case with a humidifier else it cause cracking. It is better to set the humidity 45% and 55%.
    - If you are storing the ukulele in the storage facilities provided by any company, ensure that it is being kept in the climate controlled spaces. Ensure that it doesn't go too dry or too moist.
    - You should clean the instrument properly before you store it. Clean it like you clean the guitar. Don’t allow any sweat to reside on your instrument, it can damage your instrument.
    Good one MagdaJo!

    Yes good points about cleaning, everyone is just talking about the humidity and you are so right, very important to store it cleaned off too!

    A Shiny Uke is a Happy Uke!
    Lanikai LU-21C - Concert

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