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> Humidity!, 15% relative humidty and wierdness
macseamus
post Jan 28 2011, 03:49 AM
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Hi all,

I guess this is strictly a topic for those who have had experience with low humidity.

In Mexico City at this time of year, there's not much water around to speak of, and the humidity is generally listed in weather forecast at below 20%. my violin case hygrometer agrees.

I know, I know, I know I shouldn't, but I have both of my guitars on stands in the room most of the time. One of the reasons is that I don't have hard cases with me here. Anyway, I have noticed the action getting lower on my acoustic over the last few weeks, it is actaully really nice, but I am going to do something about that, probably get a hard case and humidifier.

but the question.. sorry for being so long.. I'm irish you know, have to find the long way round to get to the point. - the question is, I picked up my strat the other day and the action seems to have got higher! It really had a beautiful low action, I got it second hand, but whoever had it before had it set really really low with 9's on it.

Now, from what I can make out, wood contracting usually pulls the neck back and lowers the action, so i'm wondering if anyone has had any experience of low humidity having the opposite effect on a strat (it's a mexican strat from 2000)

The other possibility, is that I got so used to the slowly lowering action on my acoustic, a Yamaha APX-700, that when I picked up the strat I thought it had got higher, but I would have to be going a little crazy for that to happen, as the strat was always lower and easier to play than the Yamaha.

Cheers.

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Ben Higgins
post Jan 28 2011, 10:08 AM
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I've personally never experienced this (especially in boring England) but I would be concerned about the neck of the guitar. Has it remained in tune ? Has the intonation been affected or do you get odd fret buzz anywhere ?

I'm sure some of the other guys will know more about this, but it might be a case of having to play with the truss rod.... Guys ? smile.gif


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dark dude
post Jan 28 2011, 03:05 PM
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This is why some people keep very expensive guitars in controlled atrmospheres.

I, like Mr Higgins, have never experienced this due to our country's weather, but I echo the notion of concern for the guitar if the conditions keep changing frequently. (Hence why you shouldn't place your guitar next to a heater which isn't on the whole time - warm up, cool down, warm up, cool down = damage)

To answer your questions, I'd check the curvature of the neck.


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Hardtail
post Jan 28 2011, 03:49 PM
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The necks are made of such hard woods and under extreme compression. I doubt the neck is changing at all. As the body absorbs and releases moisture it will swell and shrink accordingly (this is also true for temperature changes). What is likely happening is that in extreme dryness the body shrinks and alters (ever so slightly) the way the neck is seated in the pocket and/or the tension in the bolts to the body. This may result in lower action or higher action depending on how the wood changed at the neck pocket.

I would bet the intonation down the neck is getting screwed up as well.

Hard cases will help avoid rapid thermal expansion/contraction (which CAN result in long term damage to wood instruments) but they won't stop it from drying out totally. If you are concerned at all, I would look into getting a humidifier to control the humidity in the room.

Hardtail


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macseamus
post Jan 29 2011, 05:05 AM
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hi all, thanks for the input.

amazingly enough, the only change I can perceive with the yamaha acoustic is the lower action, it's playing perfectly! well sure there is string buzz when i play it hard, but there always was, maybe a little bit more..

once again i'm not sure if it's my imagination but I could swear i can feel the frets more as i move up and down the neck.

one thing for sure, I'd better do something about it. can't just sit around and wait for the rainy season!

k
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Feb 2 2011, 03:06 AM
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From time to time it is necessary to do a nice truss rod setup on your guitar. It's not unusual that the action is changing. Unwind the strings a bit, do a slow 1/5 clockwise turn on the rod, and wind the strings back again. Then wait and do more finer adjustments if needed.


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Todd Simpson
post Feb 2 2011, 03:24 AM
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Ivan again has some great points. Regular truss rod adjustments are often needed when guitars go from one climate to another. If you keep your action quite low, keeping the truss in the right spot will require a tweak here and there. For folks that keep there action really high, they may never even notice the truss is out of alignment.

Todd


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