the STRING WORKSHOP
Guitar Care & Maintenance
Instrument Dryness and Humidity
The vast majority of guitars, in all price ranges, are built in a humid climate. This is true of USA made, or the many factories in Asia and Europe, North and South America. Additionally, the majority of guitars sold in the world live in a humid climate. Only a small portion of the total guitars in use today (especially in USA) live in a dry air climate, like ours here in Utah.
This posses an extra maintenance understanding required in order to keep a guitar in Utah in it's best condition, and allowing it to age properly and sustain good structural architecture. Most of the guitars made today are built with designs based on relative humidity levels far greater than our Utah climate.
Most factories maintain a constant relative humidity level of around 50%, + -
a bit. In Utah, our summer relative humidity levels are in the 20s, and winter
indoor air is similar.
This dryness poses risk to the guitar woods and to the structural design and
integrity of the instrument. Wood is hygroscopic, so it matches the relative humidity level of the air where it lives . In Utah, this means that guitar woods dry out or release moisture once they arrive in this climate. An instrument that loses moisture content after reaching it's home environment in Utah, is subject to shrinkage, cracking, and structural neck-body shifts that cause high action, string buzz, choking, sharp fret edges, tone loss, and/or poor intonation. If a guitar is set up for the local climate, and with a little extra care the correct humidity levels are maintained, then it can break in properly in this climate, maintain the architecture it was designed for, and avoid the structural, tonal, or intonation issues that are so common to guitars that live in Utah.
The String Workshop has extensive experience and understanding of the relationship of tone woods and Utah's dry air climate. When we set up an instrument, we establish the correct relative humidity back into the woods that may have been lost in the dry air, and then complete the set up process. By ensuring that the correct humidity is subsequently maintained, the instrument can be restored to and maintained the way it was designed which allows it's best tome and harmonic performance and longevity.
We invite you to contact us if you would like an evaluation
and set up work completed on your instrument.
Please see our blog on this site for further information on
wood care and humidity.