View Full Version : Too much humidity?

01-25-2010, 10:21 AM
I have 3 solid wood ukuleles and another 3 on order, which will absolutely, positively be the last ukuleles I buy. I live on an island on the coast of NC and we have had a lot of rain lately. I bought a couple of meters to measure the humidity in the room where I store and play the ukus. It has been anywhere from 55% to 73%, but has been spending a lot of time around 70% relative humidity. Do I need to get a small dehumidifier, or should I just be happy they are not going to dry out and crack?

01-25-2010, 12:56 PM

At 70% you will probably find that your ukes swell up (belly up), raising the action and dampening the tone. I have a few ukes I subject to these conditions (and worse), because they are cheaper and I don't mind so much but with your good ukes, I would put a dehumidifier in the case for the very humid months. M.U.D. works great http://www.stringworkshop.co.nz/earth.htm

Alternatively, stick them all in a room / cupboard and buy a dehumidifier for that.

01-25-2010, 01:50 PM
Thanks, now I'm scared! Will look into a small dehumidifier for the 12 by 12 music/computer room where they live, and get one of those or 6 (at $20+!!) of the M.U.D.s
I appreciate your advice.

01-25-2010, 02:12 PM
be happy with your low humidity! I live in the delta part of the year where humidity is almost always above 90% and very often around 98%! I haven't got my first solid wood uke yet, so it'll be interesting to see how that goes.

01-26-2010, 10:26 AM
be happy with your low humidity! I live in the delta part of the year where humidity is almost always above 90% and very often around 98%! I haven't got my first solid wood uke yet, so it'll be interesting to see how that goes.

You ever been to Hawai'I? Humidity is high year round there. I'm in ga and have never had issues with humidity being to high. Yoi hear stories of too low of humidity but I've never heard of too high of humidity.

01-27-2010, 10:19 AM
Thanks, I feel better now. John Kitakis replied with basically the same message. My Ponos and Ko'olaus should do fine in their semi-humid home. I'll just keep an eye on the level of humidity and the action on the ukuleles.

Nu Uke
01-27-2010, 11:03 AM
Also depends on what the RH was before the rainy spike. Gradual changes in humidity aren't a problem, but if it jumps 30% in a couple of days, I'd take care. This time of year I'm hoping the humidity level reaches and stays at 35% in this dry winter house.

01-28-2010, 07:39 AM
Jaco Pastorius used to tell this story about how he came to start playing fretless bass:

I had an upright — it took me years and years to get enough bread to get it. I'm from Florida, so one morning I woke up, go in the corner and the bass is in a hundred pieces, cause the humidity is so bad, I mean, the upright just blew up. I said forget it, man, I can't afford this any more. So I went out, got a knife and took all the frets out of my Fender. That was it. (Source (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14578299))

You don't find the same kind of string tension on a uke, but the an instrument just busting itself up like that must be quite a sight.


01-28-2010, 09:31 AM
Stop it! Now I'm scared again. Just kidding, good story. Sun's been out a couple days here now, so the RH has dropped to low 60s in the house, so I'm feeling better. Thanks for the feedback. Have to go practice, have my lesson, via Skype, in a bit.

12-29-2016, 08:25 AM
So I'm in a similar situation. I live just outside of rainy Portland, OR, on a ranch in a drafty old mobile home. Currently have a large dehumidifier running in the room where I keep my ukuleles, because it can get to 80% in here at times. The dehumidifier doesn't run all the time though and the humidity will quickly jump back up from 50% to 75-80% when off. Mainly because of this, I have so far focused on laminate ukuleles, with a couple plastic ones as well; the exceptions being my solid body electric Fluke and a couple of cigar box ukes, all of which seem to be holding up quite well. Each instrument lives in it's own hard case or gig bag when not being played. I really like the Ohana Nunes style solid mahogany ukulele, but am hesitant to get one while I live in these conditions (aside from quite literally having nowhere else to put another ukulele!) Am I being overly cautious?

12-29-2016, 11:15 AM
You can look across the lower bout to see if it is bulging upward, (or check it gently with a straight edge). If it is noticeably raised in the middle, (and was not built that way), then you have too much moisture. You can also look to see if the corners of the bridge are lifting. Wood can move a little, but you don't want it to move a lot. I would keep them in their cases when it is humid and if you get a dryer spell, you could leave everything open for a while to dry out. The worst thing for an instrument is sudden changes, and it doesn't sound like your humidity drops all that much. Too much moisture will raise the action and can cause permanent damage and cause the corners of the bridge to lift if the humidity is extreme, but it doesn't sound like you have that extreme.

Three on order all at the same time, cool. That should be fun.

A dehumidifier would probably make the room more comfortable. If you run it at 55% your energy costs shouldn't be very high and your instruments should be happy.

12-31-2016, 08:03 AM
Just ran across this very informative sheet from Santa Cruz Guitar about humidity changes, both high and low: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.santacruzguitar.com/pdfs/carefeedingtemperature.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwiiqJGi-Z3RAhUSwGMKHfbYAx0QFghZMAY&usg=AFQjCNFgWXruHVEvuABejbwqQ3tg5a751A&sig2=idjqhDz07P5PGb0KJifQPg