View Full Version : taking care of my uke

02-02-2010, 02:22 AM
Hey guys,
From what I can see in this forum. A lot of people tare extra care of there Ukulele. I dont have humidifier and stuff like that for mine. Does it mean that I'm not a good daddy? I have not case so my ukulele is on a wall stand far from windows, doors and baseboards. Is it enough or should I take extra care ?

I'm asking this question because, I figured that ukulele wood is more fragile (I might be wrong, it's just a guess). And last week I bought a new guitar made of solid mahogamy. So maybe my new guitar need that extra care too.

Aunt Betty
02-02-2010, 01:19 PM
Of course you are a good daddy. Some people have had their ukulele's crack becasue of the lack of humidity, or maybe rapid changes in humidity. I need to get an inexpensive hygrometer from the pet store to check the room my uke ives in. I have a solid wood uke coming this week and I won't want to keep it in the case all of the time - - it is too pretty.

02-02-2010, 01:44 PM
I think it really depends on the weather where you live. Here in Los Angeles, the humidity is fairly consistent. I have a couple handmade guitars and have never bothered with any humidification. Then again, I keep all my instruments in their cases when they are not being played.

Leaving an instrument out in the open just because it's pretty and you like to look at it is not a good idea, IMO. Running an air conditioner or heater can greatly affect humidity, and even if not in direct sunlight, ambient light can cause the finish to fade over time.

I've heard plenty of stories about instruments left out of their cases that were damaged by accidental clumsiness and even small kids and pets running around. Nope, it's "safe in the case" for me.

02-02-2010, 03:42 PM
Hi Darthouellet,
I'm in Quebec City and wherever you are in this province, humidity in winter is an issue. It can go down pretty low inside - down to 30%RH or lower. It's better to have some sort of humidity control, especially for solid wood guitars and ukes. I keep all my ukes in their cases with Hercos, Oasis and homemade humidifiers. I also have a room humidifier where the ukes are and I keep the room at 50%RH, never letting it get below 45%. I only keep one laminate Ohana uke in the living room where I have no humidity control.

Hercos are relatively inexpensive on ebay or here in Quebec City, in just about any music store.

I am aware that it's extreme changes in humidity that hurt solidwood ukes and guitars, but I don't take any chances with my Koaloha and Kumalae, I keep them in a relatively stable environment year round. I also do it for my Koa Pili Koko because I've read about some issues about cracking. If its a laminate uke and you have no case, maybe there won't be a problem but if you can get a case and a couple of Herco's, it would be safer.

Then again, I'm probably a paternalistic control-freak daddy. Ask my kids.

Hope this helps.

02-02-2010, 04:07 PM
As a new uker I've been concerned about this too. Where I live (Portland, Ore.), I can't seem to get it below about 70% RH in my house, even with a dehumidifier going. So I'm concerned I need to be getting dessicant packs or something. Summer gets drier, so I plan to have a Herco or one of those snake-style humidifiers if needed. Like Aunt Betty, I bought a cheapo hygrometer at a Petco for $5.

Funny thing is, my dad was a professional guitar player his whole life in Northern Minnesota, where it gets crazy humid in the summer and very dry in the winter. He never used any of this stuff, and seemingly had no problems. He played an Ovation Adamas, though, which has a fair amount of non-wood on it so maybe that explains it.


Aunt Betty
02-02-2010, 04:07 PM
So the wall's not a good idea? I guess I will just have to play them more often...if that is possible.

02-03-2010, 12:49 AM
Thanks to you all!! I will go buy a hygrometer this week and see if I need to do something else after that. If I understand correctly, I need 45% of humidity or higher right?

02-03-2010, 01:33 AM
Here's something I copied and printed out for future reference. I've got five hygrometers and no two of them read the same. One I discarded and the other four are just a few percents apart. Right now in my study, den, computer/music room I've got seven ukes, two fiddles, one mandolin, one lap steel and a banjo hanging on the walls in String-Swing holders. Got a closet full of empty cases. I buy them to play and enjoying looking at them so I'm willing to take my chances.
Back to the hygrometers. I've got two in this room and two in my wifes music room. In my room the Radio Shack reads 45%, but it tested 3% low when I did the salt test. The Planet Waves reads 48%. I have a Hunter room humidifier going. My wife has a Hunter humidifier going in her music room to protect her grand piano, pedal harp, lever harp, and cello. Nothing in a case in that room either. Humidity is about the same as in my room.
Here's the test-
It’s always a good idea to check the accuracy of your hygrometer. You can use the Salt Test method on both digital and analog hygrometers. Most hygrometers today can either be adjusted or calibrated to an accurate reading. The salt test method won’t fail you, and it’s very easy to do.


- Small sandwich ziplock baggy
- Bottle cap from 2 liter soda bottle (works best)
- Table salt
- Hygrometer (whichever one you want to test, digital or analog)

Now that you have all of your materials handy, follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to effectively checking the accuracy of your hygrometer.


Fill bottle cap with standard table salt; fill about 3/4 of the way up.


Add tap water to the bottle cap to saturate the salt. If you see water floating on top of the salt, you’ve added too much water. Easy fix for this is to grab a paper towel, and soak up all of the excess water. You want more of a slurry consistency of water and salt. Again, if you see water actually floating on top of the salt, soak up the excess with a paper towel.


Place both hygrometer and bottle cap (with salt/water mixture) inside of a small ziplock baggy, as pictured above. Wait 4 hours and come back for a reading check.


If your hygrometer is perfectly accurate, it will read 75%. Most hygrometers will be +/- 3 %. If your hygrometer is digital and has a calibration button, follow the directions that it came with to calibrate to 75%. Digital hygrometers have a calibration button you push, while analog hygrometers have a screw which allows you to adjust the needle accordingly.

If your hygrometer is not adjustable, you’ll just have to make a note and remember how far off it is.

That’s all there is to it!

You’ve just calibrated/tested your hygrometer using the famous Salt Test Method.