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View Full Version : Going to a foggy place with a uke -- preventing damage



jangann
04-22-2013, 06:10 AM
I work on a tiny island in the Bay of Fundy in the summer. This year I want to take a uke with me. In past years, people have taken guitars out and trashed them in the process, I guess because the climatic variation is so extreme on the trip (warm mainland Maine to super cool and humid in 12 hours). We recommend to visiting guitarists they loosen strings for the trip and that's been okay, no more damage.

Is it folly to take a solid mahogany instrument with me? How should I prepare it? Should I get a beater to take along instead? I was thinking a Flea or Fluke might do well, but when I looked at the price it was more than my present uke I'm thinking of taking (with the modifications I would make to it, tuners etc). My current uke is nice but not superb.

Any advice from your luthier types, or people who travel with ukes, is appreciated.

OldePhart
04-22-2013, 06:15 AM
I wouldn't be eager to take a vintage or very expensive instrument into that climate, but any of the low- to mid-priced ukes are a little overbuilt and therefore pretty rugged. Just use a little common sense - in the case of extreme temperature variations wait for the temperature to stabilize some before opening the case (humidity is less of a problem, absorbing or losing water in the wood is a fairly slow process).

High humidity is less dangerous to an instrument than low humidity. Typically in high humidity the top will rise some, raising the action, but let it dry out for a few weeks after your return and it should return to normal (one big mistake people make is filing the bridge saddle down to compensate for the swelled top, then when the uke returns to normal the action is too low and you get buzzing).

So, don't use it to paddle your canoe and you should be fine. :)

BTW, I don't know what strings you are using but I have found through experience that the Nylgut strings don't handle humidity well. I took one of my ukes to Lousiana with nylgut strings and it was dead for several days after. The next trip I took the same uke with fluorocarbons and didn't notice any impact from the humidity at all.

John

Bill Mc
04-22-2013, 06:53 AM
Sounds like the perfect place to take a Koalana.

jangann
04-22-2013, 10:24 AM
Just use a little common sense - in the case of extreme temperature variations wait for the temperature to stabilize some before opening the case (humidity is less of a problem, absorbing or losing water in the wood is a fairly slow process).

I have to wait to play? That sounds like it requires self discipline . . . .

Good tip on the flourocarbons. I'll take some up with me.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
04-22-2013, 10:48 AM
It's quick, extreme changes that damage instruments. If your uke's in a case and it's kept with you (carry it on any plane) it should be fine. Going home from that humid environment, be sure to keep your uke in a case when you're not playing it, so it doesn't dry out too quickly and crack.

PhilUSAFRet
04-23-2013, 12:55 PM
I'm in my 70's.....sometimes I go to a foggy place when I leave one room of my house to go into another. It's ok though, I usually forget my uke anyway.

OldePhart
04-23-2013, 01:22 PM
I'm in my 70's.....sometimes I go to a foggy place when I leave one room of my house to go into another. It's ok though, I usually forget my uke anyway.

:biglaugh: For me that started at about 40 - but I think it's more the beta blockers they have me on for my heart condition. At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

John

Leigh Coates
04-24-2013, 05:07 AM
Ha, ha, ha, ha, :D :D

Wow, do I ever hear you!

jangann
04-30-2013, 06:15 AM
So I decided to go for a Flea to take up with me.

52493

Ain't she purty?