And here's one for less than a hundred bucks:
And here's one for less than a hundred bucks:
In one sense your guitar is a barometer in that it will react reliably to the same phenomena that the barometer is measuring.
I had a D12-20 for quite awhile but sold it about ten years back....at a time I was doing little to humidify my acoustic guitars. Only the J-200 as I recall. Anyway, the Martin held up well and had no finish or neck issues and was a testimony to the most important thing you can do....keep it in its case and away from extreme changes. Though it would have been better to humidify it somewhat I got by and was lucky.
Yup, pretty much.
As for the hygrometer issue, we have a really nice one in the shop, and it typically reads within 4-5% of the cheap ass digital ones we have up throughout the shop. The cheap ones will not give you a perfect reading, but they will give you a close approximation, which is all you really need. If you see a big change in them, then you know you need to take some action.
We have an old super nice hygrometer with a good humming bird wing diaphragm (yes, they are really made of humming bird wings) that we almost never look at other than to double check on the cheap ones. Really, though, it's not that important that you know exactly what it is unless you are trying to humidify a room. Otherwise, just start humidifying as soon as you turn on your heat, and you'll be fine. Though air conditioners (cooling) DOES lower the humidity, we have never seen a single guitar that was cracked from it. All the ones we see in the summer are of the "Yeah, it cracked last winter, and I just didn't get in until now," variety (with all the dirt and grime in the cracks which goes with it), and never of the, "this crack just showed up," sort.
As far as cold, though it is certainly possible for it to cause wood expansion, I've never seen structural damage from cold (and we get bloody cold up here). The cold issue we DO get a lot of is weather checking, which is from a cold guitar suddenly getting too warm. The wood expands faster than the finish, and you get many fine cracks in the lacquer. This one happens all the time, and there isn't really much you can do to repair it. Their are several ways to avoid it, starting with the builder using a vinyl sealer instead of a straight sanding sealer (it's more flexible), but the main thing for the player to do when their guitar gets too cold (left in a case in the trunk on a cold day, for instance) is to leave it in the case until it has come to room temperature. When customers ship us guitars, we will leave them in the box for at least a day. The point is to slow down the speed of the temperature change so that the process happens more gradually and the lacquer never gets too stressed.
But again, weather checking is really only a cosmetic problem (though it can effect collectible value, so be careful with those old Strats and D-28s), so I don't worry TOO much about it with my own guitars. With a customer's guitar, I'm fanatical about it, of course, but I don't mind playing a guitar that looks lived in, personally. Humidity issues are serious structural issues, so I worry a LOT about those.
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And are you saying that a barometer will register a change if you go outside a building that has a different relative humidity than ambient, even if it is not sealed? I can't see how that could be true; the pressure would equalize whenever you opened a door even if it were sealed. Furthermore, while it is true that wet air weighs more per unit volume than dry air, days of high barometric pressure are frequently (usually, even) dry. That would seem to run counter to your claim.
Can you point me to a scientific discussion somewhere that can describe the details of what you assert? It does not seem reasonable to me.
Last edited by ggunn; 10-31-2007 at 13:16.
Take a balloon and inflate it add say 2 grams of water. Measure how it behaves in relation to change in temp and (altitude). Do the same with dry air. Next burst the balloon and measure the same air in relation to it's pressure and specific humidity.I have not suggested that a barometer will measure humidity for you. I have always said it will give you an indication of the manner in which humidity and vapor pressure change in relation to seasonal changes, specifically in the British Isles.
I never said that a barometer will give you an accurate measure of humidity. I have said that here you can more than reliably predict changes in humidity with one. People have done so for years and will continue to do so. More importantly I described it as a method of understanding how swift changes in humidity and temperature can take place in relation to seasonal changes and the meteorological phenomena that result. Here in the UK I can predict the humidity quite accurately just by observing which way barometric pressure is moving.
"A lot will depend on what, where and how your store your guitars. Do you take em out lots? How long for? What guitars? Where you are in relation to the coast? Get a barometre and take a look at the difference inside and out over a period of time."
Inside and out of what? I read it as looking at the difference in barometric pressure between indoors and outdoors, and that doesn't make sense, obviously.
The point being that you can use a simple tool to help you understand how the prevailing climate in your areas changes and changes swiftly. You don't need to know what the humidity is just that it changes in relation to the season and quickly. This is the danger your guitar faces. A guitar will handle quite high relative humidity and also quite low humidity. It will not appreciate being thrust from one to the other in a short space of time. If the change is gradual it will cope much better. Thats not saying it's a good idea though. Maintaining a controlled environment is by far the better way to go.
If I rephrased the comment you just quoted I'd make that more clear.
If you were to move your barometer outside to a cold wet climate from indoors in a dry heated environment, temperature would be the biggest factor in any change in the reading you get. Vapor pressure would be secound. Yes, that would indicate a need to recalibrate rather than a specific change in the atmospheric pressure.
Really I wish I'd just said check the detailed weather forecast frequently and examine how high an d low pressure are related to humidity in temperate climates rather than look at a barometer it would give you the same information just less graphically.
And yes if you want to know the actual relative humidity of a specific location a hydrometer is the best tool. I have several in the workshop. None are perfect. I always look to keep the changes gradual in any case as the extremes here are not that great.
If people were really that concerned with protecting their instruments from a change in humidity, they would never leave their house.
I guess the old timers never played a live gig or left their houses without a hygrometer.
Much ado about nothing. Hell, I spray water inside my acoustics with a garden hose.
Of course, I use the fine spray attachment.
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]Instant Karma tried to get me... and succeeded
dang, all I use is a thermometer with two sides, one reads temp fareinheit and the other reads percent humidity...it cost me $5...
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