Humidity questions

GalexC

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Hey everyone, I recently moved from South Florida to Charlotte and am building a house with a loft that will serve as a music room. In FL, the humidity stayed relatively high enough that the AC in the house kept everything 40-60% humidity and I kept all my instruments in their cases. I know the climate here in NC is different. It’s important to me that I take care of all my instruments, so I’d appreciate feedback in the following regarding humidity.

1. How risky is it to hang ukuleles on the wall? How much more protection does keeping them Inside the case give each instrument humidity-wise? I know I need to check in te location of the vents as well as sunlight, but was wondering if people intentionally keep everything inside the case.

2. Is it better to have individual humidifiers in each instrument or better to try to keep the entire room humidified at a certain rate (or both).

3. Any other tips or insight from people living in the same area?
Google afternoon. I’m in Canada. I normally keep all my instruments in their cases. I have recently been keeping my regular player on a stand covered by a beach towel. I can just grab it and have my morning coffee break. But I have to keep it tuned regularly due to weather conditions which can raise or lower tuning. Of course this was a Zen On art project guitar so I’m not as fussy as I was with my Blueridge or my custom guitars. I kept my aria acoustic guitar, bought in late 60’s, in the case when i wasn’t playing it and never had a problem. Even so, I humidify the guitar room to between 50 - 60% in the winter bc it gets so dry. My taropatch is in the case as well as my mandolin. It works for me and has been effective. Cause and effect or risk and reward. May the cracks be minor or not. You’ve heard about people who have bought guitars with loads of inlays leaving them out on display only to find the inlays on the floor. A case of wood exposed to adverse change in humidity from where it was made. I guess….to each his own
 

Kenn2018

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So, could you potentially damage a uke by taking it from inside to outside if you live somewhere that is hot and humid outside while you're running the a/c in your house? Like, say you live in the southeast US during the summertime. Simply stepping through the door of your house (in either direction) is going to be a noticeable change in humidity. Could that ruin a uke?
No. The wood does not absorb or release moisture that quickly.

If you just take it out for a day or two to play, you'll be fine.

Your best bet for reducing the possibilities of problems is to put your uke in its case when not in use. This will slow the changes and give plenty of time for the instrument to adapt.
 

rafter

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So, could you potentially damage a uke by taking it from inside to outside if you live somewhere that is hot and humid outside while you're running the a/c in your house? Like, say you live in the southeast US during the summertime. Simply stepping through the door of your house (in either direction) is going to be a noticeable change in humidity. Could that ruin a uke?

I have heard of outdoor concerts where musicians have a big draft come in and throw all their instruments out of tune. But to damage an instrument, I think would take quite a while longer. I don't know how long, but I would probably try to avoid keeping ukes in drastically different conditions for more than a few days. When I get shipment of ukes or guitars, I sometimes ask the shipper to delay sending it out until Monday of the next week if it's coming from far. I don't relish the idea of them sitting in a hot/cold delivery warehouse over the weekend. Probably just me being worried.

I did have a somewhat pricey uke come from Japan once. It wasn't damaged, but it had such bad intonation that I was miserable about it for weeks. I thought about returning it, but I'm glad I didn't, because eventually it seemed to adjust to the climate, and now it's one of my favorite ukes. Then again, I had one come from the UK. Sounded perfect right out of the box. Both are island climates different from where I'm at, so I don't know.

Kenn2018 gives good advice here. Keeping your uke in a case should help slow changes, and as long as it doesn't get too dry or too wet, it should be fine.
 
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Whether this situation was representative of what others may encounter or not, I don't know. My wife and I went to New Hampshire for a couple of weeks in August, taking a soprano ukulele I finished building in March. We were in a cabin without air conditioning. The ukulele was in a nice Oahu hard case. I played the instrument a couple of times during the first few days we were there and then came down with a cold (yes, a run-of-the-mill cold, not COVID-19) that laid me up for a few days. The weather during that stretch was relatively hot (90 degrees), with high humidity. After recovering from my cold and having been there for a little more than a week, I opened the case, and discovered that the bridge had broken longitudinally and separated from the body. That ended my playing for the rest of the trip. As soon as I got home, I made a new bridge, and everything is fine again. I won't repeat that experiment the next time we go to NH. My ukuleles will stay home.
Mike