A guitar is a sensitive and delicate musical instrument. And because of this, it requires care and attention in order to keep it in perfect condition for use.
Because the main body and components of the average guitar are made from wood, you must remember that humidity can have a detrimental impact on your guitar.
What Humidity Can Do To A Guitar
The manufacturing plant in which your guitar was built and assembled would have had strictly regulated humidity. Humidity is a term used to describe moisture content in the air. That level in a guitar factory would have been kept at a constant 45-percent relative humidity.
When the humidity level is lower than that, it means the air has become dryer. Dry air is not kind to any kind of wood. As for a guitar, low humidity can cause the wood to warp and dry out which can result in many different problems with the condition of the instrument.
A drying guitar can easily crack if it comes in contact with a solid object such as a wall, cabinet or floor. Glue holding pieces together can dry out and cause wood to separate causing major joints to loosen and frets to dislodge or move out of alignment over time.
These issues will impact the way in which the guitar plays. When a guitar dries it changes the sound and may become difficult to properly tune. This can render an expensive musical instrument to the point of being unable to use. Humidity control can prevent this situation.
How To Enhance Your Guitar Maintenance Program
As low humidity can be damaging to the condition of your guitar, proper maintenance measures are necessary to keep your musical instrument in top shape. The most effective way to do this is to control humidity where you store your guitar.
Here is a look at some of the best guitar humidifier solutions:
D’Addario Two-Way Humidification System
Promoted as the only maintenance free, two-way humidity control system for guitars, the Planet Waves Humidipak is unique. It consists of a portable ‘humidipak’ that comes in a soft mesh pack. The product is designed to sit with your guitar and will not harm the finish.
The humidipak is engineered in such a way that it will keep humidity around your guitar at between 45 and 50%. These are non-refillable and they employ a two-way system where they will automatically add or remove humidity on demand. You basically leave them alone to work.
The main benefit to this guitar case humidifier system is that you do not require manual adjustments to address such concerns as changes in season, temperature fluctuations and changes in geographic locations (altitude, etc.). Each humidipak is said to last between 2 and 6 months and are replaceable.
D’Addario is also a well-known name in the music industry. They manufacture innovative, high-quality accessories for music enthusiasts including tuners, picks, straps, cables, maintenance tools and much more.
Planet Waves is part of the D’Addario brand family.
- Non-refillable design
- No mess, just leave and they work automatically
- Once the humidipak gets hard, you know it’s time to replace it
- Considered an expensive humidifier system
- May not last as long as advertised in drier climates
For more information on how the D’Addario Humidification System works, check out this cool informative video...
Music Nomad Acoustic Guitar Humidifier
The manufacturer of this product calls it both a Humitar and a Humid-i-Bar. What it is, is a sponge that holds a lot of water and is made with anti-drip properties. It works by simply releasing moisture at an even and controlled rate to combat issues that can affect the wood of a guitar when humidity is too low.
It is easy to use, is non-messy and extremely low maintenance. All you have to do is pop the top open and touch the Humid-i-Bar. If it is wet to the touch, you leave it alone but should it feel dry, all you need to do is rehydrate it by soaking the sponge in distilled water and reinserting into the holder.
It may be hard to believe how effective this product is based solely on the simplicity of design. That’s actually part of the appeal for many. Guitar owners are looking for something that is uncomplicated and easy to use, and as a result, Music Nomad has created this as one of the best acoustic guitar humidifier options.
- Easy to use, simple to rehydrate
- Works well to increase humidity levels
- Must be monitored to ensure it has water to release as air moisture
- Rehydration requires careful diligence to prevent contamination
- Not as effective in homes with poor humidity control
And make sure that you have a look at this short video which shows you how it works...
Oasis OH-1 Guitar Humidifier
The innovative design of this product comes from the fact that it is actually a gel. The special thing about the gel is that it has the capability of holding 500 times its weight in water but trapped in a gel format. For many, it is regarded as the best electric guitar humidifier available.
The gel won’t leak and the specially designed fabric pouch that holds the gel was created to allow water vapor to escape which is how it controls the humidity. The pouch is also designed to be safe to use alongside the guitar as it won’t damage the finish nor will it leak.
This may not be the perfect solution to controlling humidity levels in and around guitars. However, it is an effective one. It is also an option for those who do not like to use other types of portable humidifying systems that require salts or access to a power source.
- A syringe is included to assist with hydrating the gel pack
- Easy to use and will not create a mess
- The gel pack may shrivel up when completely dried out making it difficult to rehydrate
- May become bothersome when traveling to keep distilled water on hand for hydrating
You can see how the Oasis Guitar Humidifier is used in this short video...
Boveda 2-Way Humidity Control for Guitars
This is another of the two-way acoustic guitar humidifier designs. It is essentially a container of a specially-prepared solution of pure water that is saturated with natural salts. The container itself has a permeable membrane that the manufacturer says allows for reverse osmosis to take place.
In other words, when the humidity drops, water vapor is released. When the humidity is too high, the product pulls away moisture with the salt content. The company who makes this product says it creates the cleanest and most purified humidity of all products currently available.
Where this specific product excels is that it uses simple school chemistry to operate. It releases or captures moisture automatically without the need to set any kind of monitoring system in place. You can walk away and have no worries about how and when the product will kick in.
- Easy to use, maintenance-free operation
- Works well provided your humidor is properly sealed
- May not last as long if used in a dry climate
- Humidor requires proper sealing for this product to work effectively
Oasis OH-2 Digital Hygrometer
It may be simple enough to add a portable humidification system to your guitar storage cases but wouldn’t it be easier to have some way of monitoring the moisture level? The Oasis OH-2 is just the product to help with that part of your regular guitar maintenance program.
This is a hygrometer. It is an accurate device that measures air moisture and gives you a clear, easy to read and understand digital readout. It contains several other functions as well so you will be able to keep track of the humidity levels in the area near your guitar.
The OH-2 is small enough to fit inside your guitar case or humidity-controlled cabinet. It has a mounting clip that will allow you to put it virtually wherever you need it for easy observation. You could say this is the best guitar hygrometer you could ever want!
- Mounting clip makes this product easy to position where it needs to be
- Double-sided tape included to mount in places that cannot accommodate the metal clip
- Provides accurate, concise readings
- The Hygrometer does not include a back-lit readout so it is difficult to read in low light
- May not be as accurate as the batteries begin to die
Elechomes Ultrasonic Humidifier Vaporizer
This is a 3-in-1 warm and cool mist guitar room humidifier. What that means is that in order to regulate humidity, when the moisture content drops too low, this system will add water vapor into the air through a system that utilizes a mist. It is a relatively simple solution to low humidity in your guitar room or studio.
The contemporary design of the unit allows it to fit into virtually any home décor as if it was meant to be there. It has a 6-liter reservoir that must be refilled on a regular basis. However, because of the capacity, it contains, this humidifier can be used in large rooms.
Functions include three different levels of cool or warm mist and an aroma diffusing option. In addition to controlling humidity for your guitars, this misting humidifier is also good for you and your health. If you live in a dry climate, this unit will be effective in helping you stay healthy.
That’s because the misting action will increase humidity so that your skin does not dry out nor will your sinuses. These issues can lead to skin irritations and respiratory conditions if left unchecked. As a result, this is definitely one of the best room humidifiers for guitars.
So, in a way, you could say this particular humidifier will protect far more than just your guitars. That’s more or less why others use this 3-in-1 humidifier. If you require higher humidity in your home for any reason, this is a good choice of products that will do that job for you.
- Nicely designed and attractive
- Large capacity water reservoir
- Can be used to send either cool or warm mist into the air
- The water tank may crack
- Misting function sends higher than expected mist levels into the air for some users
The Argument In Favor of Humidification
Because wood reacts so much to humidity, it only makes sense to protect the investment you have made in your guitars. When a guitar dries out it is affected greatly to the point where it can sound different and not be the same instrument it once was.
This article only talks about the issues of low humidity. As with homes and other household belongings, very high humidity can also be a problem for sensitive equipment. If you live in a climate that is prone to consistently high humidity levels, then please click here to read more about how to control too much moisture in the air.
By using one of the best guitar humidifiers mentioned above when storing your guitar, you ensure that the guitar that you have spent time getting to know the feel and sound of will stay sounding and looking the way it should. To the untrained eye, they may not look it, but guitars are delicate instruments that can be damaged by too little moisture.
The only way to control the issue of a low amount of moisture in the air that your guitar spends time in is through humidification. Fortunately for guitar owners around the world, controlling humidity is far easier now than it once was. Plus, options exist on how to precisely achieve correct humidity levels.
We suggest that you try more than one method in order to determine which works best for your circumstances. Not all guitars respond the same to humidification. You may find one work on one instrument where another is better with a different guitar.
The bottom line is, you are extending the life of each and every guitar you own by keeping humidity under control. So spending a little on keeping the humidity levels at the optimum setting is a good investment.