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Thread: Solid Wood Acoustic Environment/Storage

  1. #1

    Default Solid Wood Acoustic Environment/Storage

    Hello! First post...

    I am considering the purchase of an all solid wood acoustic mandolin and believe I may have run into a considerable problem. My question regards the environment in which this instrument may be stored without damage.

    The temperature in my home varies quite a bit (I live in TN). I have a propane gas wall unit for heat and a window air conditioning unit for summer. Sometimes these are left off when no one is at home and the temperature in winter could reach close to freezing and in the 90s (F) during summer.

    Should I scrap the idea of a solid wood acoustic mandolin for these reasons? I play/own other instruments (solid wood electric guitars and acoustic laminates, which appear to do fine).

    This would be my first mandolin and I don't want to purchase one that I may knowingly wind up damaging. I'm assuming I can control humidity with an in-case humidifier/dehumidifier, but the temperature thing is bothering me.

    Would this purchase be a mistake?

    Thank you, in advance, for any/all responses!

  2. #2
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: Solid Wood Acoustic Environment/Storage

    There have been many discussions on relative humidity and temperature issues, in the past .

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  3. #3
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solid Wood Acoustic Environment/Storage

    You want to avoid dramatic shifts in temperature, so take steps that mitigate them (keep the instrument cased, etc.).
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  4. #4
    bon vivant jaycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solid Wood Acoustic Environment/Storage

    Unless the temperature goes from freezing to 90 the same day, I wouldn't sweat it. You're not the first mandolin player to live in Tennessee.
    Last edited by jaycat; Sep-06-2022 at 4:18pm.
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  6. #5

    Default Re: Solid Wood Acoustic Environment/Storage

    Quote Originally Posted by jaycat View Post
    Unless the temperature goes from freezing to 90 the same day, I wouldn't sweat it. You're not the first mandolin player to live in Tennessee.
    Good one, on edit!

    The first part you answered is kinda what I was getting at. Most have central heat/air and aren't under my current, semi-rustic, living settings. I will attempt to keep an even temperature, but that won't always be the case.

    All (except one) music stores I called reguritated the constant 60-80 F reply. I undertand them doing that in order to give the safest information, but thought I'd try to get more real-life answers from actual owners who are/were dealing with the same circumstances.

    I must make a decision on whether or not to buy by tomorrow. I'm leaning towards going for it, at the moment, unless someone makes a good argument against it.

    Thanks again for the replies, so far!

  7. #6

    Default Re: Solid Wood Acoustic Environment/Storage

    I would choose solid or laminated regardless of climate.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Solid Wood Acoustic Environment/Storage

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    I would choose solid or laminated regardless of climate.
    There's a third choice?!? I'm assuming that was a typo (or/over).

    The question is whether or not I risk destroying (cracks/warping) a solid wood acoustic mandolin under the conditions I described.

  9. #8

    Default Re: Solid Wood Acoustic Environment/Storage

    yep, it should read over....

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  10. #9

    Default Re: Solid Wood Acoustic Environment/Storage

    So, I must make a decision on this today...

    Is the consensus that, as long as it's in its case when not playing, that there should be no issues? I'm really going back and forth on whether to buy it or not, for this reason alone. Add to that, I am a bit of a worrier...

  11. #10
    Pittsburgh Bill
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    Default Re: Solid Wood Acoustic Environment/Storage

    Agree with advice received thus far. But want to suggest the purchase of a modest priced but quality instrument that won’t be a huge financial loss if it should get ruined. I. e. a used Eastman 305, Howard Morris, Mid-Missouri, or any number other decent instruments in that price range. Then sleep without worry.
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  12. #11
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solid Wood Acoustic Environment/Storage

    Quote Originally Posted by jaycat View Post
    Unless the temperature goes from freezing to 90 the same day, I wouldn't sweat it. You're not the first mandolin player to live in Tennessee.
    Right. It's sudden temperature changes that are bad for instruments.

    When the humidity is real low, like 40% or less, I spritz water into the soundhole with a mister once in a while. And I don't store instruments in direct sun.

    I can't think of any good reason other than a tight budget for not getting a solid-wood mando. Go for it!
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  13. #12
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solid Wood Acoustic Environment/Storage

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandosian View Post
    There's a third choice?!? I'm assuming that was a typo (or/over).

    The question is whether or not I risk destroying (cracks/warping) a solid wood acoustic mandolin under the conditions I described.
    Sure, the risk exists. But think of all the other things we do even though a risk exists. Eating butter. Drinking bourbon. Leaving the house without sunscreen. Walking near bees and mosquitos. Lifting things. Swimming. Riding a bike. Driving.

    Asking whether there's a risk is not a fair question. Instead, ask:

    - Is the risk serious? (No.)

    - Is the risk worth it? (You be the judge.)
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  14. #13
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    Default Re: Solid Wood Acoustic Environment/Storage

    Since this is your first mandolin perhaps one made with laminated woods is a prudent choice. If your house can get near zero in the winter when you're not home, why worry about temperature damage when you are away. Many laminated mandolins can offer good playability and value.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Solid Wood Acoustic Environment/Storage

    I have played outdoors in a snow storm in temps in the 30's and played on a river cruise with temps in the 90's and humid. As long as you don't open your case that is below freezing in a 90 degree room you should be fine. It's the sudden changes that can do the most harm. In the old days they tied the acoustic bass to the top of the car. I have played outside when it rained. Get the best instrument you can afford and play it and enjoy it.
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  17. #15
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solid Wood Acoustic Environment/Storage

    What always strikes me as amusing when reading these threads (there are legions, use search as someone suggested, you’ll see), is that they usually fail to consider the fact that there is a human history so much longer than just the past two centuries … a human history that included musical instrument ownership under conditions where modern air conditioning did not exist and knowledge of current environmental conditions such as RH and barometric pressure was not widespread. Yet, people owned musical instruments and their instruments often survived them to become heirlooms.

    With no disrespect to those who have questions and those who worry about environmental damage … and with no disrespect toward the fact that such damage is a real risk … I just have great difficulty identifying with the virtual handwringing, stress and worry about such things that I see more and more these days.

    I truly, from the bottom of my heart, hope that your instruments remain safe, well-preserved, in constant use, and bring you much satisfaction, and pray that you find the answers about how to best care for them, and that you not lose any sleep worrying about what might happen beyond your control in the future.
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  18. #16
    Registered User urobouros's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solid Wood Acoustic Environment/Storage

    Though I agree a lot of worry about humidity is overblown, I have had the top seam open up on an acoustic guitar that was stored at my office. The air conditioner [I]might[I] dry out your air but I doubt enough to be a problem. You can get a case humidifier pretty cheap and/or a hygrometer to toss in if you're still worried. As long as you don't leave it in your car in the summer, I think you'll be fine & dandy.
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