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pulelehua
12-27-2009, 06:42 AM
Just arrived in California to my Kala Acacia Concert. Lovely little uke. MGM included a rather lengthy letter about problems with humidity and solid wood. Obviously, I'm in dry California at the moment, but live in humid Kent. So, this question is sort of to UK ukers. Do you have problems with humidity? I obviously don't want my new ukulele to crack, but I have very little funds to buy coping mechanisms.

I'm concerned, but at the same time, my wife's 130-year old violin has always coped fine with British weather. Well, for 130 years anyway.

Your thoughts and advice, please.

Thanks, and a belated Mele Kalikimaka to all!

mds725
12-27-2009, 08:05 PM
Whether you decide to buy a humidifier or dehumidifier or not, it might be a good idea just to know what the humidity is in the room(s) in which you and your wife keep your instruments, or in the cases, if you keep the instuments in cases. The reason is that the relative humidity indoors may not be the same as the relative humidity outdoors, and the RH in a case may not be the same as the RH in the room the case is in. I keep one of these Oasis hygrometers in each of my cases:

http://elderly.com/images/accessories/ACC/OGH2_sm_.jpg

I don't know about weather in England, as I live in San Francisco. The RH in my apartment is generally between 30-35% when the weather is nice, and closer to 45% when it's raining outside, but I don't use much heat (which would dry out the air). You may decide that you don't need anything to change the humidity, but it might be worth knowing what the RH is where the instruments live.

haolejohn
12-27-2009, 08:22 PM
I am curious about the answers that you receive. I live in Georgia and our humidity is very high year round. My dad has been a guitar player all his life and he has never had a guitar crack and I have owned ukuleles for 5 years here in Georgia and have never had one crack but I have never owned a Sceptre until recently. So I want to piggyback on this thread:)

kissing
12-27-2009, 08:38 PM
It's really confusing, this whole humidity thing.

Some people insist "GET A HUMIDIFIER FOR SOLID INSTRUMENTS OR IT WILL GROW TENTACLES AND EAT YOU ALIVE", whereas others have stated that they did fine without one.

Some would say its better to get one "just in case" and others would tell of horror stories of cracks and drying out.

I live in Australia, and to the people around here, the use of a humidifier seems to be unheard of. I went to a guitar store one day and asked if they sold humidifiers, and these folks who are supposed to be guitar specialists had no idea what I was talking about. When they got a vague understanding from my descriptions to do with humidity and whatnot, they said it probably wasnt necessary in Australia. You can't even find one in stores..

And then people go on about how the relative humidity in your area is different from what it is indoors, and that it's different in winter/summer. My head sweats with paranoia when I have the heater or air conditioner on. It seems to take a bit of faith to use a humidifier. When I used to use one for my solid and solid top ukes (which I have since sold), I couldn't help getting the feeling whether the distilled water I put into it really did get across to the Ukulele deity who would prevent cracks in response. Or is it all for nothing.

So its all very confusing to me. I think I'll stick to laminates -_-

haolejohn
12-27-2009, 09:14 PM
It's really confusing, this whole humidity thing.

Some people insist "GET A HUMIDIFIER FOR SOLID INSTRUMENTS OR IT WILL GROW TENTACLES AND EAT YOU ALIVE", whereas others have stated that they did fine without one.

Some would say its better to get one "just in case" and others would tell of horror stories of cracks and drying out.

I live in Australia, and to the people around here, the use of a humidifier seems to be unheard of. I went to a guitar store one day and asked if they sold humidifiers, and these folks who are supposed to be guitar specialists had no idea what I was talking about. When they got a vague understanding from my descriptions to do with humidity and whatnot, they said it probably wasnt necessary in Australia. You can't even find one in stores..

And then people go on about how the relative humidity in your area is different from what it is indoors, and that it's different in winter/summer. My head sweats with paranoia when I have the heater or air conditioner on. It seems to take a bit of faith to use a humidifier. When I used to use one for my solid and solid top ukes (which I have since sold), I couldn't help getting the feeling whether the distilled water I put into it really did get across to the Ukulele deity who would prevent cracks in response. Or is it all for nothing.

So its all very confusing to me. I think I'll stick to laminates -_-

LOL!! Ukulele players treat their ukes better than most people treat their kids:)

iDavid
12-27-2009, 09:27 PM
Humidity here in Northern Japan humidity goes from full on in the summer to 15 percent in the Winter. We humidify the house to get it back up to 30 to 40 percent in the winter. Otherwise the kids and wife dry out.

and the guitars

and ukes... I guess

The general rule that I've gotten from the guitar world is to humidify your house, not your case. Otherwise when you take out the uke, it will be in SHOCK from the sudden change....:confused:

aviezero
12-27-2009, 10:25 PM
I live in the desert, and it's pretty dry here. I keep all my solids in the case. I cut one of those car washing yellow sponges in 4x2x1 inch pieces. Wet then squeeze them until barely moist. This can keep my case in the 45-60% area for two weeks easily. My laminates I just hang on a nail and don't worry about them.

JCUK
12-27-2009, 10:58 PM
This question crops up quite a lot on guitar forums, particularly from UK players, and I imagine you'll get a mix of responses that, as said in one of the posts above, will simply leave you confused. I think the problem tends to be bigger in more extreme climates, as the Americans have made clear above. In the UK, with our generally middling climate, I tend to think that humidilty is not a big problem, and wouldn't worry too much unless you've got a seriously high-end uke. Central heating in a double-glazed or well-insulated house will lower the humidity in the winter, but some think that everyday activities like cooking and using the shower will offset it. Others will think, though, that such an easy-going attitude will anger the ukulele deity, and wouldn't risk it. :-)

pulelehua
12-28-2009, 07:30 AM
So, the two things I've picked up thus far are:

1. The ukulele gods will create tentacles if I displease them.
2. I need to humidify my wife and son.

This is excellent news. My uke isn't high end. It's a Kala Solid Acacia Concert. It's just SO much more high-end than my previous Brunswick laminate, that I don't want to do anything stupid with it.

Which is funny, as I've never worried about my Martin D18 guitar, which is worth almost 10 times as much... :rolleyes:

I seem to have a new disease: Ukulele Preservation Syndrome. Yes, I have UPS.

SailorQwest
12-28-2009, 07:53 AM
It's mostly a concern indoors in very cold places(where the heated are is very dry) or very dry places. If you take your Uke from humid to a very dry place it dries out the wood shrinks and could crack. I gave my sister who lives in the desert my baritone and it cracked, twice. I had some freinds who bought a load of antique furniture in England and brought it back to Colorado and if they didn't keep it humidifed you could hear it crackling as you walked through their house.
However I now live in a place with constant(high) humidity and constant tempurature and it's not a concern at all.



This is the longest post I've ever done!
:eek:

Lori
12-28-2009, 08:11 AM
I bought one Hydrometer like the one pictured above, and put it in the case of my most valuable uke along with an Oasis humidifier. The rest of the herd gets a cheaper Herco humidifier or an Oasis if there is not enough room for the Herco. The Oasis humidifiers shrivel a bit when they dry out, so you are reminded when to refill with distilled water. I will refill them all at the same time using that as a guide. The Hydrometer really lets you know what the situation is for your ukulele. I can't effectively humidify my apartment, so the ukes stay in their cases when not in use. Today, the humidity in the case was 55% and outside the case 38%. We have a gas wall heater going this morning. I have seen the humidity as low as 17% outside the case on a hot windy day. England might have milder climate changes, but your indoor heating system might dry things out quite a bit. Try and store your ukes away from the heaters. Don't put them on a shelf near the ceiling, where rising heat collects.

–Lori

Ahnko Honu
12-28-2009, 08:44 AM
One thing good about living in Hawai'i is the consistent pro-'ukulele humidity. ;)

mds725
12-28-2009, 11:42 AM
I bought one Hydrometer like the one pictured above, and put it in the case of my most valuable uke along with an Oasis humidifier. The rest of the herd gets a cheaper Herco humidifier or an Oasis if there is not enough room for the Herco. The Oasis humidifiers shrivel a bit when they dry out, so you are reminded when to refill with distilled water. I will refill them all at the same time using that as a guide. The Hydrometer really lets you know what the situation is for your ukulele. I can't effectively humidify my apartment, so the ukes stay in their cases when not in use. Today, the humidity in the case was 55% and outside the case 38%. We have a gas wall heater going this morning. I have seen the humidity as low as 17% outside the case on a hot windy day. England might have milder climate changes, but your indoor heating system might dry things out quite a bit. Try and store your ukes away from the heaters. Don't put them on a shelf near the ceiling, where rising heat collects.

I have a similar humidity experience in San Francisco. I also keep my ukuleles in the case when I'm not using them and each has a hygrometer and Oasis humidifier (the OH-6 (pictured below), which clips onto the case, NOT the OH-1, which lowers into the instrument through the soundhole). For me it's as much about peace of mind as anything else, but I understand that it is an expense. When the RH in my apartment is 30%, the RH in the case is around 50-55%. Musiciansfriend.com sells both the hygrometer and humidifier together at a discounted price. http://accessories.musiciansfriend.com/product/Oasis-OH6-Case-Humidifier-With-OH2-Digital-Hygrometer?sku=421669

http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pics/products/regular/1/1/1/556111.jpg