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07 Oct 09 Seasonal Guitar Alert

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It’s that time of year where for us in Texas some of the summer heat begins to fade and the humidity begins its roller coaster ride.  When the heater kicks on typically the home gets a little dryer, which can cause playability problems or worse structural issues with guitars and other stringed instruments.  Here are some things to watch for:

Sinking of the top and back of acoustic instruments, typically there is a subtle arch to the top and back of the instrument, when the guitar dries out these curves will flatten out.  This can cause string buzzing, pickguard and cracks in the soundboard and back.

Necks are prone to back bow also causing string buzzing, also the dreaded “fretsprout” can occur.  This is where the fingerboard can shrink, and the frets do not; causing the fret edges to stick out.

x01_146460There are some things are that you can help alleviate these changes.  Get a humidifier, either the soundhole type

Or the room style if you leave your instruments out.

According to many experts guitars like to be in the 45% relative humidity range.  You can monitor this with hygrometers from radio shack or planet waves.  Damage can occur when the relative humidity drops below 30%, and it can happen quickly.

The good news is that most of these issues can be easily fixed in the hands of a good guitar tech.

Happy Playing!

Steve Anderson
Anderson Guitar Gallery

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