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String Instruments Humidity Control Questions (9)
The number one cause of all instrument damage is the wood drying out, the top of a guitar can drop by as much as an eighth of an inch as it dries out. And this is just one example. Luthiers see this more than any other necessary repairs. Read more about it in this article.
Any of the following is a sign of damage from low humidity:
- Frets are not smooth (especially at the edges),
- the neck is no longer straight,
- the body changes shape,
- the bridge lifts or shifts,
- strings buzz,
- cracking of the neck and/or body (in the instrument’s body; not yours),
- and the whole tone of the instrument changes.
To find out more about low humidity damage read our blog.
How to use Music Sorb
We hate to tell you how simple it is to use Music Sorb since the product is not simple. But the laboratories at Fuji Silysia looked for a maintenance-free humidity control system for art work, building material, and wood instruments. Quite simply, you place the right number of Music Sorb units into your instrument case and keep the lid closed as much is practical. Music Sorb does the rest.
[One exception can be that if you live in a very dry area, you may need to pre-condition Music Sorb.]
On top of every other method being more complicated, you do not have to think about Music Sorb for a year.
Why after a year?
Music Sorb does not absorb and leak moisture. Music Sorb for Strings technology is to ADSORB and DESORB moisture in a specific, pre-determined humidity range for wood musical instruments. It never feels wet, or leaks, or needs thought. But after about a year, like a rechargeable battery, its buffering effect diminishes. How much it diminishes is dependent on such a variety of uncontrollable factors (how much you open and close your instrument case, the ambient humidity variations, how much you travel, etc.) that we strongly suggest that you change it out after a year.
Music Sorb units replacement
As we said above, like a rechargeable battery, Music Sorb’s buffering effect diminishes over extended use. How much it diminishes is dependent on such a variety of uncontrollable factors (how much you open and close your instrument case, the ambient humidity variations, how much you travel, etc.) that we strongly suggest that you change your Music Sorb units out after a year.
Read our Why use Music Sorb?.
Music Sorb for Stringed Instruments
Music Sorb has huge capacity. (See the Science Behind Music Sorb).
How many units you should use depends on your ambient humidity, how much you travel with your instrument, and how diligent you are to keep your instrument case closed. But we do try to give the following guidelines:
A violin can be maintained with three pouches.
A guitar can be maintained with six.
From cello to stringed bass with six to nine.
If you have a solid instrument case and live in a stable weather area (where is that these days), you could probably get away with fewer units. But if you have any question at all, please write to us and we will answer faster than you might think.
Having solved humidity concerns with Music Sorb, you need to know to avoid subjecting your instrument to temperature extremes. For example, leaving your instrument in a hot car (even in the trunk) on a summer’s day, is a big no-no. To learn how do deal with this and other threats read our blog.
How Humidity Affects Your Guitar
High humidity is bad for your guitar. Low humidity can be worse for your guitar. Humidity swings are like beating your guitar against a tree. You know that low humidity dries out the wood and can cause cracks almost anywhere in the guitar structure. High humidity causes the wood to swell, warping and pushing the minute pieces that structure your instrument out of place. Humidity swings makes your guitar scream in pain (or worse).
Stop the Pain
Music Sorb protects against low humidity and Music Sorb protects against high humidity. Importantly Music Sorb helps protect against humidity swings. Place Music Sorb in your (preferably hard) instrument case, keep the lids closed as much as possible, keep your guitar in the case when not in use. Music Sorb will buffer (like a car’s shock absorbers) against humidity swings and maintain a relative humidity of 40% to 60% in your instrument case.
Would you hesitate to give a very expensive guitar to a teenager? He can promise to take care of it with all his heart, but will he remember to not leave it in the back seat of the car in the summer heat? Personally, we know of one very responsible teenager who left his guitar just once in the car during the summer. The guitar, an heirloom, was destroyed. We say it this way because you need to be grown up about maintaining your instrument in every way…including temperature extremes since temperature extremes affect humidity.
Yes, if you want extra protection from humidity swings or you don’t have a hard case for your guitar, it does no harm to add more Music Sorb units into your instrument case. Music Sorb will not leak water nor emit any harmful chemicals as it is all natural. Read our 4 Tips and Tricks to Save Your Guitar
Music Sorb for Strings is delivered for practical shipping purposes holding 30% humidity. It is formulated perfectly to maintain humidity in a closed area between 40% and 60%. So once you open the package, it immediately begins to adsorb humidity from the air to try to reach 50% humidity.
You Live in a Dry Area
So if you live in such a dry area that the humidity indoors where you open the package is below 50%, then you may need to precondition the units. You have several choices of methods for preconditioning, but the idea is to give Music Sorb the ambiance it needs to adjust itself. It is paramount that you do not put Music Sorb directly into water in any way, such as under the faucet or shower, into a cup or glass of water, or even a water puddle. Music Sorb will become ruined.
Preconditioning Methods in No Special Order
The Shower Method
If you open the sealed guitar, violin or cello pack and place the units on a shelf in the bathroom while taking a hot shower, the units will adjust
The Tea Kettle Method
Boil water in a tea kettle and leave the Music Sorb unit in the area for a few minutes. Careful not to let the water pool on the kitchen counter as this is too much water for Music Sorb.
The Humidifier Method
If you have a humidifier in the house, open the sealed guitar pack in the area and leave for a few hours. Humidifiers are different, so use your judgment. Don’t let the humidifier spew water directly on the Music Sorb units.
Water Weighs Something
It is not necessary to control results since Music Sorb will adjust itself, but if you are picky and if you have a precise scale, such as a kitchen scale for weighing food ingredients, you can weigh a Music Sorb unit before conditioning it and then weigh it again after trying one of the processes above to see if it seems to be slightly heavier. Music Sorb will not feel wet, which is important for you to know, since you do not want your guitar to get the slightest bit wet. (We have even seen instructions to wipe the sweat off guitars after you have played.) If you have a hygrometer and it is showing that Music Sorb does not seem to humidify your instrument, you really need to run a test on the hygrometer. It is easy.
Important Warning: Blink! Blink! Blink!
Do not put Music Sorb under running water or in water as it will destruct. Just let it activate or condition itself while you have some extra dampness in the air so that it can balance out the humidity in your piano or instrument case.
Any more question about Music Sorb?
If you have any other question about our products, please don’t hesitate to ask below and we will answer super fast.