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Thread: Humidification of mandolin

  1. #1
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    Default Humidification of mandolin

    There’s an interesting article on the Montana Lutherie website; worth reviewing if you’re curious about the topic.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidification of mandolin

    If you found the article can you post a link to it? I don't see anything on the website. It is always good forum etiquette to post a link to a referred article. Thanks!

    Actually, my luthier sent me this link from Sweetwater on the subject.
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    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidification of mandolin

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    Registered User poul hansen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidification of mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by J Mangio View Post
    Nah. He says it could take month to dry out. I have a humidity meter in a guitar on the wall and it takes around 2 days, for the humidity inside it to change when it changes 10% ambient. From 90% to 50% takes around a week.

    It's not correct that "Most of our houses are pretty climate controlled all year round." most houses change with the outside humidity and becomes dry during winter.

    Very few houses have humidity control.
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    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidification of mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by poul hansen View Post
    Nah. He says it could take month to dry out. I have a humidity meter in a guitar on the wall and it takes around 2 days, for the humidity inside it to change when it changes 10% ambient. From 90% to 50% takes around a week.

    It's not correct that "Most of our houses are pretty climate controlled all year round." most houses change with the outside humidity and becomes dry during winter.

    Very few houses have humidity control.
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    Registered User poul hansen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidification of mandolin

    Of course I know Bruce

    https://youtu.be/9ojhtq51Ya8
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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidification of mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by poul hansen View Post
    Nah. He says it could take month to dry out. I have a humidity meter in a guitar on the wall and it takes around 2 days, for the humidity inside it to change when it changes 10% ambient. From 90% to 50% takes around a week.

    It's not correct that "Most of our houses are pretty climate controlled all year round." most houses change with the outside humidity and becomes dry during winter.

    Very few houses have humidity control.
    Poul, something to consider here would be that Bruce would be speaking from his experience in the States, and what houses are like there vs. what humidity levels in homes would be like in other parts of the world. So from my take on this Bruce is a voice of experience and to be listened to here for mandolin owners in the States/Canada - blanket statements like "It's not correct" are unhelpful unless supported by data, not just "n of one" anecdotal experience of a single player. Perhaps you could qualify your statement with for others by stating that "most houses in my area change with the outside humidity...."

    I live in a 150 year old stone cottage in Ireland, where the humidity level changes regularly, but when I lived in the States my experience mirrored what Bruce states - that the humidity levels in homes were pretty consistent, but that's just my experience - other folks mileage may vary.
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    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Registered User Ed McGarrigle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidification of mandolin

    So, if I’m reading the articles correctly humidification might be more an issue for a guitar than it is for a mandolin? I’ve never been very good at keeping up with humidification . I have a Martin OM21 I purchased new in 1999 that has , to be honest, only intermittently seen humidification. It’s spent most of its life in a finished (insulated/heated) basement with the dehumidifier running quite variably in the summer. There was a period a few years ago when I got panicky about very slight bowing and minute lifting of the bridge ( such that a tiny bit of a playing card might fit underneath) . My worry was it was due to humidification neglect but the luthier more or less attributed it to normal aging.
    I recently bought a Calhoun and am trying to be better about humidification. Both instruments are upstairs. I run a humidifier in the room they are kept but it doesn’t run 24/7. As I write this the hygrometer reads 26. So, I’ll refill the humidifier and run it. Also, the guitar has a Planet Waves humidifier I “recharge” with water about once a week. With the humidifier running the hygrometer seems to run between 35-45. We’re in a cold spell in Chicago right now (12 degrees f).
    I ordered a small instrument Planet Waves humidifier for the mandolin a couple days ago but maybe that’s not necessary
    But I guess my question is: is variable use of a humidifier any more or less harmful than none? Is it more stressful on the instrument to get humidified and get dry than to stay in a constant state or is something better than nothing?
    Sorry to go on and on but I think you catch my drift

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    Registered User TheMandoKit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidification of mandolin

    I would agree that while most folks have temperature-controlled houses, fewer have relative humidity controlled houses.

    Dunno, I was always told that rapid changes in humidity (or temperature) were the real problem. Although, realistically, I would think that a wooden instrument built in and acclimated to 50% RH would have bad results in a 10% RH environment, irrespective of how long it takes to get there.

    OTOH, I have several Old Wave instruments, which were built in Bill's shop in New Mexico, with very low RH, and I keep them here in the upper midwest, with RH ranging from 35% in the winter (with humidifiers running flat out--radiator heat) to 85%+ in the summer, and they have done OK, albeit with truss rod and bridge adjustments. And I have a late 1930s Martin guitar, and an early 1920s Gibson mandolin that I am sure were not kept in humidity controlled environments for their entire lives before I acquired them, and they have survived, although with a couple back cracks in the Martin before it got to me.

    Pretty much all of the larger wooden instrument makers have some sort of information on their websites about the importance of the proper environment for their instruments, so there must be something to it. Or maybe it's all part of the great humidifier conspiracy. <shrugs>

    Yet another one of the great mysteries of life. But, I am still going to keep my instruments in a humidified room in the winter.
    Last edited by TheMandoKit; Feb-11-2021 at 12:58pm. Reason: Danged typo!
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    Default Re: Humidification of mandolin

    According to my humidity gauge in my mandolin case, it's showing around 60. I live in the southern states. My mandolin, archtop, acoustic and tele sit out constantly as I go from one to the other alot and don't use a humidifier or dehumidifier. The humidity doesn't ever gets low in my area but can get a bit high sometimes. But then the case gauge is the only humidity gauge I have inside my house

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