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Thread: Confused about Humidity

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Nakhonratchasima, Thailand
    Posts
    286

    Default Confused about Humidity

    I have never really understood this thing about ukulele and humidity. So I am posting today to see if what I think is correct or not. I think if one lives in a tropical part of the world, hot and humid that there is no need to worry. However, if one lived in a cold, dry area then one should worry about humidity levels. I live in Thailand, hot and humid most of the year. One or two months it cools down a little but is still humid. More so than Florida or New Orleans, my previous homes. So I do not concern myself with the humidity thing. Am I right or wrong?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Finland
    Posts
    657

    Default

    Short answer:
    You're probably right.

    Long answer:
    It depends. The sweet spot for ukes, and all wooden instruments for that matter, is around 40-60% relative humidity. If you live in a tropical climate there's probably not much risk of having too low humidity but if it goes significantly higher than 60% for long periods of time your ukes can experience more severe issues than low humidity might cause. Now, if humidity is 35% or 65% for a few days during the year, does it cause damage to the uke? Probably not. Where I live, it's just now starting to get under 40% relative humidity. I'm not panicking over it but I am starting to fill up both my room and instrument humidifiers. My advice is, get a hygrometer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Queanbeyan, NSW Australia.
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    1,988

    Default

    A more technically correct answer is that any instrument is best stored and played at the humidity at which it was built.
    As you live in the tropics then instruments built in the tropics are just fine for you.
    When foreigners buy instruments built in the tropics and take them to places that are dry then that becomes a problem.
    Places where the humidity varies greatly can also be problematic.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Posts
    476

    Default

    An instrument that's in a too humid environment can have mold and wood swelling, which can be just as bad as effects of too dry environment.
    I can't find the Taylor Guitar's web reference that explains it really well ATM; I'll post it later.

    Here it is:

    https://www.taylorguitars.com/suppor...oms-wet-guitar


    Actually, I just read that article; it isn't the one I was thinking of. The one I had in mind was much more detailed and talked about a host of issues. Let me see if I can find it....

    Well, looks like I can't find it. It may have been a video. If somebody finds it, please post.
    Last edited by clear; 10-16-2020 at 08:01 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Canada Prairies, brrr ....
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    1,177

    Default

    There is also the matter of seasonal changes. If humidity is constantly moist or dry eventually the uke will be in equilibrium with that and be fine. But in my area humidity in the summer is pleasant around 60% but in winter it gets extremely cold and indoor humidity can drop below 10%. Solid woods respond quite fast to these changes and cracks can occur easily. So I tend to use soundhole humidifiers on my solid wood instruments as soon as humidity indoors goes down toward 30% and I remove the humidifiers when we are solidly above 40%.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2020
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    476

    Default

    I remember reading that optimal humidity is 50% and factories are kept at around that level. Their recommended storage is 40-60%.
    Solid ukes from less diligent makers may look good now but might not last because the factories may not have age the wood well and watch for these issues.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Bellingham, WA
    Posts
    57

    Default hygrometer and humidity

    I am primarily a double bassist and so I have a room in my house that I work to keep in the 40-60% range year round. My ukes live there too. I own a humidifier and a dehumidifier, plus a handheld hygrometer. I use the one Nick Lloyd (a great bass luthier) talks about here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTB86mE0mmI&t=3s

    He also recommends those Boveda packs, which I use for my bass - I also stuff one in my uke case when I bring it from my home in western Washington to my wife's family's house in Montana (where I am now).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    251

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    Cold weather is usually not a problem unless your room is artificially heated. Heating can reduce the humidity.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Finland
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    Default

    I started to use a room humidifier in here today, Finland. I did not feel so well and neither does my string instruments with the lack of humidity.

    Artificially heated, what is that? Without heating we all would freeze to death here in north just as simple as that.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    I tend not to cogitate about this excessively. I don't try to balance out my ratiocinations to see if it is right or wrong, necessary or not; I just put my ukes in hard cases with a hygrometer. I live in a mountainous desert where it is hot in summer, cold in winter, and without much humidity. So I use oasis soundhole humidifiers and make sure the hygrometer is around 40%. Easy peasy. And not expensive. Each of the aforementioned tools cost around $20--a mere pittance when compared to how much the ukuleles cost.
    Last edited by ripock; 10-16-2020 at 01:28 PM.

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