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Thread: Ukulele Humidifier Questions, Recommendations and Logistics

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
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    Canada
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    Default Ukulele Humidifier Questions, Recommendations and Logistics

    Hi all,

    I ordered my first solid wood uku and am looking for some advice on humidifiers. I live in Southern Ontario where the winters are cold and dry, and the summers are humid and hot.

    First a logistics question: due to chronic but temporary illness I am resting most of the day at home and often sit with my uke on my lap, where I can play it anytime, sometimes just for a couple minutes at a time throughout the day (a small but important joy in the midst of difficulty). I was told I need to get a humidifier, and it struck me: how is that going to work, when I have it ready to go leaning against the wall or on my lap? I have to remove and reseat the device any time I want to play it? Sounds like a pain to be honest, I'm wondering if humidifying it at night during these dry months is enough?

    During the summer however I spend most of the day on the balcony and would like to keep my uke with me there for easy access. Will the summer humidity be safe for the uke, or am I just getting paranoid? :-)

    If anyone has any recommendations for a humidifier that is easy to insert and remove that would be a big help as well. Is it ok to have the uke upright against the wall with a humidifier in the strings?

    Apologies for the meandering post, just looking for some advice on managing humidity for someone in my position. Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    West Los Angeles, California
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    What is it that they say "Any humidifier is better than no humidifier" In your situation you will never be able to maintain a steady 50% humidity. So, short of getting a whole house humidifier, you can get one that fits in the sound hole. Find a style that is easy to remove and put on. I just bought an electric humidifier for my display case and I think it will work out well. But, I don't leave these particular ukes out. I always put them back in the display cabinet. I keep an inexpensive humidifier in each uke case for the others. Anything is better than nothing.
    * * * * * * * * *
    Kanile'a Steven Espaniola Signature Koa Custom Tenor
    Pepe Romero/Daniel Ho Solid Mahogany Tiny Tenor (Pepe is adding a side port!)
    Kala Soprano KA-ASOV-S Spruce and Ovangkol
    KLOS Carbon Fiber Tenor Deluxe Acoustic/Electric
    Ohana Mahogany Cynthia Lin Concert Performance uke
    Kanile'a KCS Super Soprano Premium Koa
    Brian Fanner Custom solid body/steel string tenor (Pixelator)

  3. #3
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    Jul 2015
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    Canada Prairies, brrr ....
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    1,481

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    I lived in KW and London ON for many years and found the summer humidity there oppressive. But if it's comfortable enough for you to sit outside then it is also good enough for your uke. In the winter it can get a bit dry inside and my house there had a drum humidifier attached to the furnace which helped a bit with comfort. You could try a sponge in the case or bag just for the night if you notice changes to your uke such as fret sprout, or get a room humidifier which will also be beneficial for you.
    Last edited by merlin666; 04-02-2021 at 03:33 AM.

  4. #4
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    Briarcliff, TX - Fabulous Hill Country home to Willie Nelson, and me!
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    Sounds to me like you don’t need to worry about the summers. Just don’t let the Uke sit around in the direct sunlight. In the winters, keep your Uke humidified overnight and when not in use. A sound hole humidifier or a humidified cabinet should be fine. Happy strumming! ��
    "The sole cause of all human misery is the inability of people
    to sit quietly in their rooms." - Blaise Pascal, 1670

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Sparta, Wisconsin, USA
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    Get a hard case for your uke if you don't already have one. Buy a Boveda or D'Addario 49% HumidPack for stringed instruments with a sleeve. Keep the humidPack inside the case all the time. (I smush mine in by the heel of the uke.) Put your uke inside the case when you're not playing it.

    The HumidPack will keep your case at 45-50% RH. It releases moisture when the air is dry, and absorbs moisture when the air is humid.

    You only have to use one in the case because they are made for use in guitars. They recommend two to hang inside a guitar in the sound hole, and one by the headstock. I find that one is enough in a tenor ukulele case. Hanging it in the soundhole actually was too much humidity for some of my ukes, so I place it by the heel of the uke in the space between the heel and case's compartment (not under the instrument).

    You don't have to hang anything on the strings. To be safe, you can buy an inexpensive hygrometer such as an Inkbird to make sure the interior of the case has the desired RH. You have to replace the HumidPack about once a year. Rarely a paper pouch might develop a small damp patch, I've had that happen to 2 out of 50+ because I squeezed the pouch when the crystals had formed towards the end of the pouch's life, and I think they pierced the inner envelope. The sleeve prevented the damp patch from touching the ukulele's finish.

    All the best with your difficulties.
    Last edited by Kenn2018; 04-01-2021 at 07:59 PM.
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don't begin to know until you begin to try to do.

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  6. #6
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    Mar 2021
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    Canada
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    Thank you for the input! Despite owning a guitar for over twenty years I had never used a humidifier, so this has answered some good questions for me. Cheers!

  7. #7
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    I live in Germany where air conditioning and whole-house humidity regulation in private homes is very uncommon. In the winters, in-doors humidity drops to below 30%, and something like 10% if I open the windows for 10 minutes when it's freezing outside. Summers can get relatively humid with humidity values of up to around 70%. Instead of guessing, I'd suggest to get a hygrometer for exact values (my guesses were fairly off!), which also helps with peace of mind.

    My experience with my ukes is that the temporarily higher humidity values didn't negatively affect any of my instruments over the years. Low humidity, though, is a problem. On my first tenor, before I humidified, the fingerboard shrunk due to low humidity, which caused the frets to stick out and a string started buzzing. Humidifying it fixed the buzz, luckily. In your situation, I'd probably not overly worry about the summers, but I'd look into humidifying the room you play/rest in during winters, if you keep the instruments out of their cases (with humidifiers inside). If it's very dry, keeping them out for 12 hours a day can already cause issues. A properly humidified room would also be good for you, not just the ukuleles.

    I eventually bought a quality laminate ukulele from Kiwaya for my "always out" soprano in the winter. Regularly oiling the fretboard prevented issues. My very first uke, a Stagg concert with a solid top (which is actually a really nice instrument), has also spent more time outside of a humidified case than inside one, and it didn't suffer. But that was a €150 ukulele, and it's not a risk I'd take with my vintage or more expensive ukuleles.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
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    Canada
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    Vielen Dank for the suggestions Mivo. I had written out a response in German for you but it wouldn't post. Probably just as well to keep things readable for everyone!
    My new uke isn't expensive, about the price if your first uke, but I'd still like to take good care of it of course
    Last edited by Farkvam; 04-03-2021 at 01:14 PM.

  9. #9
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    Minnesota
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    Minnesota person here who has the same problem. My general rule is I put in humidifier when I turn on the furnace. You can DYI with pill box / craft containers with small holes in it and water crystals https://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Gro-W...95095669&psc=1 (that is a lifetime supply)

    If you are concerned then get a hydrometer. https://www.elderly.com/collections/...h-2-hygrometer
    Last edited by vanflynn; 04-03-2021 at 06:35 PM.

  10. #10
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    get a hygrometer. If you're not accessing, then you're only guessing. Trump's gone; it is once again okay to use data to inform your decisions. I keep my ukuleles in hard cases with humidifiers. It is easier to humidify a case than a casa. I became a bit lazy and didn't return one of my ukes to its case between usages and the frets became wonky. My 16th fret became buzzy and muted. That was a big deal to me who prefers to play between the B notes on the 11th and 16th frets. My luthier said the fret board was dried out and he had to service the frets. The uke is okay now and resting nightly in its little 40% velvet-lined coffin.

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