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Thread: If it's not the heat, is it the humidity?

  1. #1

    Default If it's not the heat, is it the humidity?

    I've been taking lessons on Zoom during the work week, so I bought a second mandolin -- a Fender that seems to work for me -- to keep at the office, generally out of the gig bag. That was working fine for the late summer/early fall, but with the change in the weather (and a poor HVAC system at the office) I'm finding it as much as two notes out of tune from week to week.

    I don't have any easy way to test the humidity, and I'm not sure that's the issue in any case. I can't do much to deal with the temperature or humidity conditions at the office, but is there something I should be doing?

    It's hardly a crisis, and I don't mind the re-tuning, but I want to get a sense of whether I could be doing to take better care of the instrument.

    Thanks for any advice folks can offer.

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    Default Re: If it's not the heat, is it the humidity?

    Two notes out of tune, that is amazing. I wouldn't worry about two notes out of tune, for a mandolin. I have more than that with mine sitting in my house, or sometimes early in a gig or jam after one tune. The short scale and tension takes very little movement of the body, due to temperature or humidity, to effect tuning.
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  4. #3

    Default Re: If it's not the heat, is it the humidity?

    If you keep it in a case when not playing and use a soundhole humidifier it may behave better.

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    Default Re: If it's not the heat, is it the humidity?

    Can I use a soundhole humidifier on an f-style instrument? Do they fit? If so, any recommendations?

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    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: If it's not the heat, is it the humidity?

    Soundhole humidifier is great for an oval hole mandolin, but what about us with f holes?

    Does anyone have a good recommendation for an F hole mandolin humidifier?

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: If it's not the heat, is it the humidity?

    People have been talking about those Boveda Humidity-Packs lately

    Sound like some people put them up in the headstock area of the case. There's a zillion sizes, though. I wonder which ones people are using.

    We've started the woodstove recently, and I'm already having trouble with humidity (or lack thereof) even with a big honking old fashioned evaporative humidifier unit.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

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    Default Re: If it's not the heat, is it the humidity?

    Oasis makes a smaller humidifier for mandolin F holes. Dampit and several others make violin humidifiers for the f hole. Case humidifiers can work also.

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    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: If it's not the heat, is it the humidity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    Soundhole humidifier is great for an oval hole mandolin, but what about us with f holes?

    Does anyone have a good recommendation for an F hole mandolin humidifier?
    Violin family instruments use the Dampit.

    https://www.dampits.com/

    In my experience humidity causes tuning changes much more than temperature. Absorbing will expand the instrument, making strings go sharp, drying out causes it to go flat.
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    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: If it's not the heat, is it the humidity?

    When the weather's dry, I just spritz some water in the soundhole with a pump bottle every day or two.

    When the weather's wet, I give up.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: If it's not the heat, is it the humidity?

    I use sandstone humidifiers. These are small plastic containers holding a piece of sandstone that you soak every two weeks, and leave in your case. D'Addario is one of the companies that makes them. They work well. Room humidifiers often come with unattached battery-operated monitors that tell both the temperature and humidity. The monitors are cheap, and you can probably get them in pharmacies or hardware stores. If your house is dry, humidification is good for both your instrument and your respiratory system.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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