PDA

View Full Version : Humidy problems



sirwhale
05-12-2014, 06:29 AM
We've just had a lot of rain in England for the last 10 days. Seems to be nonstop and so the humidity has been high, in a normall humid country. I have a hygrometer in the flat but I can never tell if it works as the weather on the BBC says 100% and then my hygrometer says 60%. Eitherway it's been high over the last few days, my hygrometer reckons about 66% and the flat average would be about 54%. The ukulele normally sits outside its case, in my bedroom, on a chest of drawers. No sunlight exposure etc. The fretboard and kneck seem in line, the bottom and top woods could be slightly swollen looking (or just rounded by design), but I couldn't tell you if they were light that before or not.

I've just noticed that one of my ukuleles suddenly has higher action and I confirmed this with my action ruler. It seems to have gone from (there abouts) 2.75mm to 3.1ish. So I took the strings off and stuck it in the case with one of those gel packets.

Am I right to assume that this is a humidity problem? Does it sound like it could be normal in such weather? or could this be something else?

mds725
05-12-2014, 06:40 AM
Indoor humidity may vary from outdoor humidity, which is why it's important to measure indoor humidity instead of relying on reports of outdoor humidity. Your hygrometer is telling you what the humidity is in your flat, which is where you're keeping your ukulele. I've heard that an ukulele should be kept in a humidity range of between 40 percent and 60 percent, so it sounds like yours is okay.

Icelander53
05-12-2014, 07:10 AM
We've just had a lot of rain in England for the last 10 days. Seems to be nonstop and so the humidity has been high, in a normall humid country. I have a hygrometer in the flat but I can never tell if it works as the weather on the BBC says 100% and then my hygrometer says 60%. Eitherway it's been high over the last few days, my hygrometer reckons about 66% and the flat average would be about 54%. The ukulele normally sits outside its case, in my bedroom, on a chest of drawers. No sunlight exposure etc. The fretboard and kneck seem in line, the bottom and top woods could be slightly swollen looking (or just rounded by design), but I couldn't tell you if they were light that before or not.

I've just noticed that one of my ukuleles suddenly has higher action and I confirmed this with my action ruler. It seems to have gone from (there abouts) 2.75mm to 3.1ish. So I took the strings off and stuck it in the case with one of those gel packets.

Am I right to assume that this is a humidity problem? Does it sound like it could be normal in such weather? or could this be something else?

Sounds like you're in the zone to me. I like to keep mine at about 45-55% but I don't worry at all from 35-60%

sirwhale
05-12-2014, 07:21 AM
So, if you think the humidity sounds ok, could we be talking about something else causing the action to get higher?

Ukuleleblues
05-12-2014, 07:40 AM
I took a concert solid, spruce top uke on a camping trip where the campground was just past the dunes at the beach. The uke was tuned to D. It was drizzling rain, I had it in a quilted backpack bag that got moist on one trip down to the shore. I notice the action was higher. When I looked the bridge the top had a pronounced belly and a slight tip to the saddle, but mostly the top had bowed out some. Well I loosed the strings and when go back home I let is slowly dry out with a straight piece of wood spanning the sides gently clamped down so the top would be flat. Once it dried I tuned it to C and have not had a problem in almost 2 years. Sometimes concerts with thin wood bracing and neck do not do well tuned to D. In this case it was borderline, the humidity on that spruce top put it over the top. It took less than 36 hours for it to happen, so too much humidity is also a bad thing.

sirwhale
05-12-2014, 09:02 AM
I took a concert solid, spruce top uke on a camping trip where the campground was just past the dunes at the beach. The uke was tuned to D. It was drizzling rain, I had it in a quilted backpack bag that got moist on one trip down to the shore. I notice the action was higher. When I looked the bridge the top had a pronounced belly and a slight tip to the saddle, but mostly the top had bowed out some. Well I loosed the strings and when go back home I let is slowly dry out with a straight piece of wood spanning the sides gently clamped down so the top would be flat. Once it dried I tuned it to C and have not had a problem in almost 2 years. Sometimes concerts with thin wood bracing and neck do not do well tuned to D. In this case it was borderline, the humidity on that spruce top put it over the top. It took less than 36 hours for it to happen, so too much humidity is also a bad thing.

hmm maybe this is what has happened. I have in the case with a gel pack thing. I'll report back.

Ukuleleblues
05-12-2014, 10:18 AM
Most strings instruments with a glued bridge that anchors the strings will have some type of bulge behind the bridge (toward the bottom) when under tension. So if you put a flat edge over the top and see a bulge, don't freak out. It varies with the type of bracing, type of wood, wood thickness, string tension (thickness, type of string, tuning), temperature and relative humidity. What I saw was a pronounced change due to the humidity. I have read this is usually the problem with guitars in overly humid environments. Lower bought top bulge. I once put a set of fatter .013 (high E) on my old Epiphone dreadnought (lower end price range) and it really pulled it up, I had to take them off.

Ukejenny
05-12-2014, 10:23 AM
Yikes. I hope the gel packs help pull that moisture out of the wood. It reminds me of someone putting a cell phone in a bed of rice to "dry it out".

Skinny Money McGee
05-12-2014, 10:30 AM
If it get much above 60% indoors, it might be time to get yourself a de-humidifier. Will help keep mold and mildew stay away also.

Rob-C
05-12-2014, 11:53 AM
I build a pronounced radius into the tops and backs of my ukes, to help make them tolerant of humidity changes. The height of the "dome" may rise and fall with the ambient humidity, but the woods should not crack due to shrinkage, as a flat top or back would be prone to. That's my logic, anyway.

southcoastukes
05-12-2014, 12:29 PM
I build a pronounced radius into the tops and backs of my ukes, to help make them tolerant of humidity changes. The height of the "dome" may rise and fall with the ambient humidity, but the woods should not crack due to shrinkage, as a flat top or back would be prone to. That's my logic, anyway.

...and the logic of most folks who build with solid wood.

I'd rather simply have an extra saddle - a "damp weather saddle", if you will - cut a little lower. It's not a big deal to change saddles - you don't even have to change the strings. That's why saddles are removable, after all.

To me, at least, that's a lot simpler than all the "humidity control".