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haolejohn
01-18-2010, 01:20 PM
Most of you know (or at least those that read my ramblings) that I am not an advocate of overbearing ukulele owners. That was until now. I live in Georgia and our winters are mild and our summers are harsh but there is always humidity and I have always stored my ukuleles in cases. Three of them are stored with a herco and two of the ukuleles get a rotation on one of the hercos. We recently had a string of extremely cold weather for Georgia, with temperatures dropping into the single digits. It was so cold that we even canceled school for two days (a Friday and the following Monday). Enough of the background information, now my story...

I had been sitting in my classroom trying to film "Let it snow" when they announced that the school was closing in 15 minutes (2 hours earlier than normal). I placed my beloved Mele double puka on my reading table and grabbed my bags and my ukuleles. I made my trip to the car to load up and I wasn't able to get back in the building. I figured everything would be fine. I'd just get my uke tomorrow. Well tomorrow never happened. Tomorrow turned into 4 days later. I found out that our district turns off the heat at night to save money and evidently extreme cold weather can make an ukulele crack. I didn't find out until later that Tuesday night while meeting with fellow SEUkers at StarBucks. To say the least I'm bummed but I contacted Mele and Cheryl is going to take care of me. My uke cracked b/c of my stupidity and over confidence in my belief that we baby our ukuleles. Well I have learned from my experience and now I can say that overbearing ownership is needed at times. So moral of the story is to make sure that you store your ukes properly.

snowy_zoe
01-18-2010, 01:31 PM
sorry to hear that,

I'll take note, thanks for sharing

a reason for a new uke maybe?

JKoval
01-18-2010, 02:51 PM
Ah, man. Sorry to hear that! At least we have an excuse to baby them now, eh?

pithaya9
01-18-2010, 02:52 PM
Sorry to hear about the Double Puka John. Hopefully the can get it all fixed up for you.

Jack

wickedwahine11
01-18-2010, 02:54 PM
I am so sorry to hear about your ukulele John. I hope it is fixed up fine. :(

pdxuke
01-18-2010, 03:18 PM
Bummer, John. Thank goodness for the helpful Cheryl!

experimentjon
01-18-2010, 06:49 PM
Ohh, man, sucks to hear that. I think that when I move to somewhere that isn't as wonderful climate-wise as Hawaii, I'll need to start taking care of my ukes too. I usually leave them in their cases so nothing gets knocked over or sat on, but your story is a great reminder that humidifiers and proper storage are important in harsher environments. Glad to hear that you will be taken care of though!

Big Bob
01-18-2010, 10:28 PM
Wow sorry to hear that.Now you got me worried.Do you know how cold it was ?We turne down the thermostat at 64 F here at night.But I keep my kanilea in the case with a herco and 2 film canisters with wet sponge inside and a planet wave hygrometer and I have a hard time to keep humidity above 45% in the winter months.

jerickson
01-19-2010, 03:35 AM
John,

Sorry to hear about your uke! I'm also guilty of thinking that since I live in a humid climate that I have nothing to worry about, but the HVAC systems we use really pull the humidity out of the air. Thanks for the reality check! I'm sorry it had to come at your expense.

molokinirum
01-19-2010, 04:54 AM
Sorry to hear about the Double Puka John. Hopefully the can get it all fixed up for you.

Jack

Yes sorry that happened to you! I know how upset you must be after watching your excitement on your youtube video when you received the double puka!! Glad to hear Mele can fix her up!! Also, this is a great reminder for all of us!!

Skitzic
01-19-2010, 05:09 AM
So what temp / humidity level should you store a uke? I have all my guitars on stands, and was going to hang the uke on the wall in the same room. We keep the temp about 65, 67 and I've never really monitored the humidity levels...I'd hate to see one of them take a hit.

salukulady
01-19-2010, 05:23 AM
Sukie here -- so sorry to hear that, Eller. Info duly noted.

UKISOCIETY
01-19-2010, 05:26 AM
So what temp / humidity level should you store a uke? I have all my guitars on stands, and was going to hang the uke on the wall in the same room. We keep the temp about 65, 67 and I've never really monitored the humidity levels...I'd hate to see one of them take a hit.

MGM recommends at humidity level of 50%. How to measure humidity, I haven't a clue.

Sic_Rob
01-19-2010, 05:34 AM
Sorry to here about your Uku. It's like when a computer crashes on someone that didn't do regular back ups. It reminds us to do a back up when we get home. Again, sorry for you problem. and it does remind me to be more carefull with my UKu. I hope everything works out for you.

Melissa82
01-19-2010, 05:54 AM
MGM recommends at humidity level of 50%. How to measure humidity, I haven't a clue.Hygrometer

http://www.google.com/products?hl=en&rlz=1C1GGLS_enUS330US330&resnum=0&q=hygrometer&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wf

phanzo
01-19-2010, 06:00 AM
Yea I've been puting off getting a humidifier for too long now. And in Phoenix where there is NO humidity, I'm only gonna screw myself bc of it. I looked at some at Guitar Center last night but wasnt impressed with the 3 that they had. The best one was probably a snake one that could go in the case or in the uke but I didnt get it. I need more info on them. And I need 2 decent ones bc my Honeybee just hangs on wall and is just askin to get bent or warped. I need HELP!!

GX9901
01-19-2010, 06:38 AM
Sorry to hear about the crack in the Mele. At least it sounds like Mele will take care of you on this, which is very nice. It is consistent with what I've heard in the past about Meles though, that they are prone to cracking. There is a guy on the Fleamarket forum that really liked Meles but said that everyone he knew, including himself, who owned Meles has had it crack (I believe he lived in New Jersey).

Here in Minnesota, I have at least 2 humidifiers in every case and most cases gets a hygrometer too. I'm taking no chances with the cold winters (and dry air caused by heater) here.

leftovermagic84
01-19-2010, 06:42 AM
Yea I've been puting off getting a humidifier for too long now. And in Phoenix where there is NO humidity, I'm only gonna screw myself bc of it. I looked at some at Guitar Center last night but wasnt impressed with the 3 that they had. The best one was probably a snake one that could go in the case or in the uke but I didnt get it. I need more info on them. And I need 2 decent ones bc my Honeybee just hangs on wall and is just askin to get bent or warped. I need HELP!!

One of these in the room where you keep all your ukes should do for all the ukes you can fit in the room.

http://www.amazon.com/Vicks-Warm-Mist-Humidifier-Shut-Off/dp/B001FWXKTA/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1263922866&sr=8-4

Aunt Betty
01-31-2010, 03:32 PM
Thanks for posting. I will pay more attention to the humidity - even though we live in Washington State with mild damp winters and mild damp summers we do have baseboard electric heat. Thank you, too, for the information about Mele. I have been looking at their mahogany concert pineapple for a while. It is encouraging to hear good things about the company.

Plainsong
01-31-2010, 10:48 PM
Sorry to hear about the crack in the Mele. At least it sounds like Mele will take care of you on this, which is very nice. It is consistent with what I've heard in the past about Meles though, that they are prone to cracking. There is a guy on the Fleamarket forum that really liked Meles but said that everyone he knew, including himself, who owned Meles has had it crack (I believe he lived in New Jersey).

Here in Minnesota, I have at least 2 humidifiers in every case and most cases gets a hygrometer too. I'm taking no chances with the cold winters (and dry air caused by heater) here.

Since I'm fighting a loosing battle trying to keep the room above 30% RH, I figured that you in a colder place than Helsinki and a gazillion great ukes would have an opinion on this question:

How long do you keep the ukes out of their cases when playing, or do you play them at all during this point of the year? Christmas sounds like a great time for a new uke, but then I get paranoid about taking it out of it's cosy humidified case.

Mim
02-01-2010, 02:50 AM
I have been putting off getting these, but your post reminds me to get off my butt and get one... NOW! So, I am going to look into one today. I felt silly the other day because I went to work and the temp dropped to like 25 degrees, so I warmed my car up in the parking lot... not for me... but so my uke would not get cold :)

Ronnie Aloha
02-01-2010, 04:26 AM
John,

Do you have photos of the damage? Good luck with the repairs.

haolejohn
02-01-2010, 04:30 AM
I have been putting off getting these, but your post reminds me to get off my butt and get one... NOW! So, I am going to look into one today. I felt silly the other day because I went to work and the temp dropped to like 25 degrees, so I warmed my car up in the parking lot... not for me... but so my uke would not get cold :)

I took one of my ukes for a ride on my motorcycle the other day. I was nervous but I haven't taken it out of its case yet. It has been a day.

Pippin
02-01-2010, 09:23 AM
That's why there is a place for laminated ukes and one of the reasons I own a few.

GX9901
02-01-2010, 10:02 AM
Since I'm fighting a loosing battle trying to keep the room above 30% RH, I figured that you in a colder place than Helsinki and a gazillion great ukes would have an opinion on this question:

How long do you keep the ukes out of their cases when playing, or do you play them at all during this point of the year? Christmas sounds like a great time for a new uke, but then I get paranoid about taking it out of it's cosy humidified case.

I play them throughout the winter. Usually I keep the ukes I'm playing out of the case for probably 4-5 hours at most. I would take it out during the evening and keep it out until I go to bed. When it's not in my hands it's usually on a stand or on one of my couches. It has worked well for me so far. This is with the room RH around 20-25%. I think ukes built with properly dried wood should be able to survive in this type of environment for at least a couple of days without incident, but there's no need to push the envelope. I'd say I'm comfortable with keeping a uke out during the dry winter for 6 hours or less at a time.

ukecantdothat
02-01-2010, 10:17 AM
Thanks for the info, John. Sorry about that. Live and learn, I guess. (Even teachers get schooled from time to time.) Here in SoCal I'm waaaaay into ignoring this potentail problem, and like you, may pay the price one day. Pretty cool of Mele to fix it.

phanzo
02-01-2010, 10:53 AM
One of these in the room where you keep all your ukes should do for all the ukes you can fit in the room.

http://www.amazon.com/Vicks-Warm-Mist-Humidifier-Shut-Off/dp/B001FWXKTA/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1263922866&sr=8-4

wow, really? That would work? So I could have one of those and just leave my ukes up on the wall? I always thought you had to have them in the case with individual humidifiers...

bunnyflower
02-01-2010, 11:39 AM
Aww sad, I am so sorry about your uke! :(

leftovermagic84
02-01-2010, 11:52 AM
wow, really? That would work? So I could have one of those and just leave my ukes up on the wall? I always thought you had to have them in the case with individual humidifiers...

It still would be worth having a hydrometer, but that's what I use in our music room. Right now, despite the cold winter and dry heaters here in Nebraska, the room is reading 51% humidity. Granted I have to run it on high and fill it up every 12 hours or so to keep it that way, but otherwise it gets so dry out here my nose bleeds, and I don't even want to think about what would happen to the piano without it.

Plainsong
02-01-2010, 06:00 PM
I play them throughout the winter. Usually I keep the ukes I'm playing out of the case for probably 4-5 hours at most. I would take it out during the evening and keep it out until I go to bed. When it's not in my hands it's usually on a stand or on one of my couches. It has worked well for me so far. This is with the room RH around 20-25%. I think ukes built with properly dried wood should be able to survive in this type of environment for at least a couple of days without incident, but there's no need to push the envelope. I'd say I'm comfortable with keeping a uke out during the dry winter for 6 hours or less at a time.

This is what I thought as well, because the instrument has to have some durability in order to be played. I have a stand next to my spot on the couch, and so far, so good. :) The rest of the time they're in their cases with a ye olde herco humidifier. Not all the cases have hygrometers yet, but I can't see them all varying from each other too much. Thanks!

fizgig
02-02-2010, 03:05 PM
I was about to ask why people who live in the arctic tundra like myself aren't buying an actual room humidifier to supplement a case humidifier. I'm using an ultrasonic humidifier and it seems to work quite nicely.

Plainsong
02-02-2010, 03:28 PM
I do have a room humidifier, but going full tilt, it can barely keep the room at 30% RH. No, we don't have the heater on too high. It tops at 70F in here.

GrumpyCoyote
02-02-2010, 03:45 PM
Whoo boy - one of my favorite topics...

Ok first -damn sorry about your uke damage amigo. It's awful when that happens. It sounds to me like your uke could have been over-humidified and then the cold snap did the trick... Onto the controversial bits...

1) Humidifiers should only be used if your relative humidity is low - an overly humid uke is as bad, if not worse than a dry one
2) "In a case with a humidifier" should only be a treatment for a very specific circumstance - NOT for all situations
3) Cases can trap moisture, heat, and hide dry conditions. Only store an instrument in a case if you are addressing a specific concern. Physical bumps and damage are the only things most cases are good for. Most of cases are terrible at environmental control.
4) In most climates not prone to extreme swings - actual changes - in humidity, a case can cause more harm than good. It's rapid and extreme changes that cause most problems.

There are exceptions to the above (tropical, desert, artificial heat, etc...) and some cases are better than others for long-term storage, but in general "in a case with a humidifier" is not a one-size fits all remedy.

My personal opinion is that a well constructed uke can take far more extreme conditions than a less well constructed uke. I have a Mainland, and a Pono - both were frozen solid this year in very similar cases. the Pono developed a crack - the Mainland is fine. It is my opinion that the Pono had poor construction and crappy gluing to begin with - this caused it to be more susceptible to the rapid temp change. I suspect a minor constrution flaw in your case as well. Just my opinion of course.

Clearly the above is not the popular opinion. It is however based on my decades of screwing up perfectly good instruments by following the "common wisdom" before I figured it out for myself.

UkÚDan
02-02-2010, 04:00 PM
IMO in the first few years of a ukes life, it's probably better to try to keep it at around 45% - at least for one that was presumably built in a controlled environment with well dried wood. Say 4 or 5 winter seasons, in the case of a northern american winter. I think that would be true for a K brand ukulele ar any well made solid wood ukulele. I prefer to leave mine in their case when I'm not playing them, with an assortment of humidifiers, and I also humidify my music room for my guitar and bass that are usually on their stands because they are older (and they're not K brands). When I'm playing them (wherever I am in the house), they are busy working, not passively drying out. After that, I put them back in their beds. Just my 2pesos worth....