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Thread: More humidity = louder?

  1. #1
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    Default More humidity = louder?

    With all the holiday hustle I haven't picked up a uke for at least 2 weeks so I haven't been monitoring their humidity levels. Last night I picked up my Ohana (solid sinker wood/rosewood) and noticed that the humidity level inside the uke body was around 65%. (I use an Oasis humidifier in the sound hole and place a hygrometer in the body of the uke. Its hard case seals pretty tight, almost like Tupperware.) The humidity level is usually somewhere in the 40s. When I started playing it, it was noticeably louder than it usually is!

    Is 65% humidity at the top level of humidification or is it too much humidity? Can more humidity equal more volume?
    Ohana CK-42R concert - solid sinker redwood top, solid rosewood back and sides, maple binding
    Kala KA-FMCG concert- solid spruce top, laminate spalted flame maple back and sides, mahogany binding

    Money can't buy happiness but it can buy a ukulele which is basically the same thing.

  2. #2
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    I have read discussions about various humidity levels in the wood effecting sound, but can't say my own ears have experienced it.
    That said, you noted that you hadn't picked up a uke for at least two weeks....Maybe that part had even more to do with it. You're hearing a bit differently. Now that I have experienced.

  3. #3
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    I kind of feel the opposite. Mine seems louder when drier.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jer View Post
    I have read discussions about various humidity levels in the wood effecting sound, but can't say my own ears have experienced it.
    That said, you noted that you hadn't picked up a uke for at least two weeks....Maybe that part had even more to do with it. You're hearing a bit differently. Now that I have experienced.
    I don't think I was hearing it differently, it did sound louder. I could notice the difference in comparison to my singing. It's kind of hard to describe. In addition to it being louder, it sounded more treble-y and the sound was kind of "loose" and less controlled. I played it again tonight after leaving the case open for a while yesterday. The humidity reading dropped to 54% which would be an 11 point drop for roughly 24 hours. It sounded different than it did last night. It wasn't as loud and the sound was "tighter" and not treble-y like it was last night. The sound was more controlled. It's weird. I remember noticing this once before when the humidity crept up fairly high. Maybe since sinker redwood was a waterlogged wood at one time it likes it when it is a little more humid and loosens up or something.
    Ohana CK-42R concert - solid sinker redwood top, solid rosewood back and sides, maple binding
    Kala KA-FMCG concert- solid spruce top, laminate spalted flame maple back and sides, mahogany binding

    Money can't buy happiness but it can buy a ukulele which is basically the same thing.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikelz777 View Post
    I don't think I was hearing it differently, it did sound louder. I could notice the difference in comparison to my singing. It's kind of hard to describe. In addition to it being louder, it sounded more treble-y and the sound was kind of "loose" and less controlled. I played it again tonight after leaving the case open for a while yesterday. The humidity reading dropped to 54% which would be an 11 point drop for roughly 24 hours. It sounded different than it did last night. It wasn't as loud and the sound was "tighter" and not treble-y like it was last night. The sound was more controlled. It's weird. I remember noticing this once before when the humidity crept up fairly high. Maybe since sinker redwood was a waterlogged wood at one time it likes it when it is a little more humid and loosens up or something.
    I wonder if there was any wine or whiskey involved just prior to these sessions whereby the sound was different from memory....

    It would be easier to blame it on the booze - LOL - than to try and find a scientific reason.
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  6. #6
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    I find it plausible that climate changes in relative humidity, but also in temperature and barometric pressure have an impact on sound, affecting both the wood as well as the transmission of sound waves. Not sure if high humidity will affect the sound positively, though. Most guitar players seem to think the opposite.

  7. #7
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    I have always perceived mine to be the opposite. To me it sounds noticeably quieter and duller the higher the humidity.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booli View Post
    I wonder if there was any wine or whiskey involved just prior to these sessions whereby the sound was different from memory....

    It would be easier to blame it on the booze - LOL - than to try and find a scientific reason.
    Well I did get two bottles of bourbon for Christmas........ but I haven't opened either yet.
    Ohana CK-42R concert - solid sinker redwood top, solid rosewood back and sides, maple binding
    Kala KA-FMCG concert- solid spruce top, laminate spalted flame maple back and sides, mahogany binding

    Money can't buy happiness but it can buy a ukulele which is basically the same thing.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mxyzptik View Post
    I have always perceived mine to be the opposite. To me it sounds noticeably quieter and duller the higher the humidity.
    Mine sound similar when the humidity is too high. They sound "muddy" to me.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikelz777 View Post
    With all the holiday hustle I haven't picked up a uke for at least 2 weeks so I haven't been monitoring their humidity levels. Last night I picked up my Ohana (solid sinker wood/rosewood) and noticed that the humidity level inside the uke body was around 65%. (I use an Oasis humidifier in the sound hole and place a hygrometer in the body of the uke. Its hard case seals pretty tight, almost like Tupperware.) The humidity level is usually somewhere in the 40s. When I started playing it, it was noticeably louder than it usually is!

    Is 65% humidity at the top level of humidification or is it too much humidity? Can more humidity equal more volume?
    A month ago I threw a couple of Oasis humidifiers in a plastic airtight box that I keep my ukulele odds and end in. There were a couple of packages of strings, some cable adaptors, a multi tool, a slide, things like that. I just wasn't thinking. I opened it the other day, and everything in there was soaked and rusty. There was water standing in the bottom of the box. A cleaning cloth in there was so wet that I could wring the water out of it. I'm not sure that trapping the humidity in the case where it can condense into water and pool somewhere in there is a good practice.

    In response to your question, I don't know. But I do know that some days my ukulele is louder than others, but I don't know why. But I do know that different surroundings affect the sound, and playing out on the porch I can hardly hear myself play. In the basement the same uke will sound louder. When I put rugs on the floor in the basement, my uke got a little more mellow sounding.
    Last edited by Rllink; 12-28-2017 at 04:44 AM.
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