The D'addario Humidipack Maintain humidification system is a crucial tool to avoid damage to your instrument in dryer climates such as those found in provinces such as Gauteng, Mpumulanga, the Free State, and the Northern Cape, and countries such as Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe to name a few semi-desert and arid regions in Southern Africa alone. It is definitely a must-have for guitar owners in these regions.
Wood is the most common material used in guitar construction, and water is a necessity for wood to stay intact. A guitar requires a level of moisture to play properly, much like an engine requires oil to run smoothly and safely. And, just like checking and changing the oil in your vehicle, monitoring the amount of humidity in your guitar is necessary to keep it playing. Wood is a porous material that will shrink when it is dried out and swell when it is wet. A good example of this is how an outside door or window will fit in its wooden frame throughout the course of a year. During the dry winter, the door may become difficult to close properly, while in the summer it fits perfectly or vice versa depending on when it was constructed. This is due to the wood shrinking and swelling based on the relative humidity. The same thing happens to guitars, however, the issues can be far more serious and tragic unless the proper precautions are taken.
The most common cause of a crack in the top or back of an acoustic guitar is because of dehydration. Dehydration begins at about 35% humidity and the lower it goes, the more dangerous it can be. Usually, the first sign of dehydration is sharp fret edges, although in some cases the guitar will become difficult to play before this. This is due to the top shrinking and sinking into the body of the guitar. This will result in fret buzz, or notes choking out altogether.
In some severe cases, the top or back of the guitar will crack before showing any outward signs of dehydration. Braces and the bridge can also become unglued and fail due to dehydration. This is why it is recommended to store your guitar with a hygrometer so you can constantly monitor the environment the guitar is stored in.
While acoustic guitars require some amount of water to remain stable, there are also issues associated with a guitar becoming over humidified. Over humidification begins at about 55% relative humidity and the higher it goes, the more dangerous it can be. The first sign that a guitar is over humidified is that it will be more difficult to play. This is due to the top swelling and bellying resulting in higher action and more difficult playability. The next sign will be mildew or mold forming on the frets and wood. It is at this point that some serious damage to the guitar can begin to occur. If the guitar reaches a relative humidity of 70% or more, the bridge may release from the top of the guitar, and/or the braces may come unglued.
Achieving stable humidity for your guitar is very simple and doesn’t require constant management as you might think. First, it is important to note that the wood your new guitar is constructed of is constantly changing and shifting. Wood can take several years to settle in its final form and will make the most movement due to humidity changes within the first 3 years of being a guitar. Our recommendations to avoid issues with over-humidification and dehydration are to store the guitar in a hardshell case with a two-way humidification system and a digital hygrometer when the guitar isn’t in use.
To ensure that the guitar has the proper amount of moisture without letting it become oversaturated, use a two-way humidification system. This can save your guitar from all of the problems mentioned above.
Another important thing to keep with your guitar is a hygrometer. This device will tell you what the humidity is inside of the case. Checking this frequently will allow you to monitor not only the humidity within the case but the life of the humidifier installed. The recommended humidity level for an acoustic guitar is 45%. As long as you’re checking your hygrometer regularly, you’ll recognize any deviation from it.
D'Addario Humidipak is the only maintenance-free, two-way humidity control system for guitar. It automatically maintains the optimal 45%-50% relative humidity level within your instrument case, eliminating the guesswork and potential mess related to refilling a humidifier. No more manual adjustments based on seasonal changes, geographic locations, temperature, or other factors. Note: Humidipak is designed for restoring and maintaining instrument humidity. This product is not intended for dehumidification in high humidity environments.