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Does Humidity affect your prized instrument?

Posted by hawksbill on Tuesday, July 20, 2010

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I have been working on a new product for some time now...it is called "Humidifix".   After years of frustration trying to keep my finely tuned and adjusted instruments stable, and safe, I discovered that the only offerings for over-humidification on the market, has been silica packs that fill up and get tossed...many times, too late.  Our new product takes the guess-work out of maintaining proper Relative humidity (at 50% and above) with an on-board rechargeable system, that is readable from the exterior of the case. If the RH (relative-humidity) is say, 95%, and you want to take your banjo out to play...out-doors, and you KNOW the head, neck, and pot will absorb lots of moisture, and sound poorly in an hour or so, why not be prepared?  When a the RH is high, your banjo will slowly absorb moisture, and change in many ways...by keeping the RH at an adjustably correct amount, playability, and tone quality will be less affected.  The way you set your banjo up at 50% RH, is the way you can depend on it to play...from now on...and with the RH soaring in different parts of the country at higher than nornal rates,  that higher humidity is really something to consider....   Our system will immediately start the moisture removal from your instrument, banjo, guitar, dobro, and do it in a relatively short time. All electric and metal componants on your instrument will also be protected... The rechargeable in-case unit is a high-quality componant that will last up to 10 years. We have installled an "adjustable" internal dehydration" vent system that allows you to simply regulate the amount of H20 you want to remove  to keep your instrument at the optimum RH, 45 to 50%.  The case is kept closed with the externally viewed analog, or digital hygrometer (your chioce, different prices) included in the installation kit, so your case's "atmosphere" is not lost to constant openings when you  check for  RH conditions.  Please ask any questions you may have...as we will be offering this quality 7-year full warranty kit, with a CD including kit installation and hygrometer re-calibration instructions. This new product has been thouroughly tested and tried.  It is a confidence inspiring product, that will save the user time ,  money,  and the anxiety of worrying about the "tone" when onstage..     Call for more info...Joseph Zarola 931-707-9797  Our new domain is now under construction;   "www.humidifix.com"  We will off the system here at a special rate for BHO members. 



15 comments on “Does Humidity affect your prized instrument?”

thecowpokepicker Says:
Friday, July 23, 2010 @8:29:20 AM

Good ideas, Joseph. I think you're right... because I once rescued a bass who's neck action was exaclty two inchs out because of too much humidity. I am always worried about my instruments because of the humidity.

hawksbill Says:
Sunday, July 25, 2010 @6:53:37 PM

Thank you for recognising the problems with humidity. If you have questions, or an interest in our product, please give me a shout. Cheers, Joseph Zarola (Hawksbill)

rachel.love Says:
Monday, February 14, 2011 @7:41:08 PM

wow that sounds really cool, good idea! can i link this to the banjo nerds group?

hawksbill Says:
Monday, February 14, 2011 @8:16:37 PM

Yes you sure can...I am not sure as to how to do that, but you can direct anyone you want here...this product really works, and it keeps the head at a very stable tension, And, the metal is not as prone to corrosion or tarnish.....your banjo will not sound dead one day, and alive the next if you keep the temp, and humidity in close range....it will be as constant as the atmosphere surrounding it..Thank you for your reply, Humidifix will be ready around April 15. Cheers, Joe

mike gregory Says:
Monday, February 14, 2011 @9:03:37 PM

Best of luck with the endeavor, Mr.Z!

hawksbill Says:
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 @1:32:05 AM

Thank you Mike!.

Pepper Laing Says:
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 @6:00:04 AM

Very interesting, how much are these gadgets? I live in a very extreme climate, and have to be very careful about such things. For the most part I don`t run into many big problems but better safe than sorry. I find my old instruments are not affected as much as a new one, in my experience.

hawksbill Says:
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 @6:34:11 AM

Hi Pepper. The older instruments have "let-go", in the sense that the glue-joints have relaxed, the braces are used to moving with vibration, and when a wet or dry spell comes, it's kinda like a Pergo floor that expands and contracts with the RH extremes. If an older guitar does not have cracks, it is probably because of some of those weathering and age reasons.
Newer instruments however, are tight. The seams and joints, pot, necks, binding and braces are solid, but the weakest place on a solid top guitar, for instance, becomes the soundboard. Likewise, a new banjo head goes out of tune more easily, and is more affected by RH when it is new, but you know an old banjo-head can split if it gets too dry immediately after a wet spell, or after it is tuned during higher humidity, then a dry spell comes. The secret is to maintain the Relative Humidity within a 10% range of 50% (either way) for the most stable, and safe environment. I have 3 systems available, #1 Good, with an analog Hygrometer, #2 Better, with a "wire-probe" hygrometer that includes a thermometer, and #3, Best, that includes a Temp, Hygrometer, and audio alarm at pre-set readings, (40% & 60%). All three are readable from the exterior of the case. #1 will be in the neighborhood of $60.00 #2, $80.00, and #3 around $100.00. All three require an installation procedure that incorporates an adjustable control vent that is placed into the accessory-door lid.
Costs for installation will range from do it yourself (free) to $30.00 or so.
The analog hygrometer is actually placed over the guitar sound-hole, or head area of a banjo, the wire-probe is set out-side the case lid, near the handle, and thewire-probe is fed into the case interior, and lastly, the wireless is velcro-set into the instrument, and can be read from up to 100 feet away. Installation is not difficult, and instructions, as well as a dvd will be available. Luthiers can order my installation stainless-steel template. In these times, the $4,000.00 instrument you worked so hard to purchase, is now selling for $2,300.00. If the humidity, at either end of the spectrum causes damage, the value will plummet.
Humidifix is designed to give us musicians a true sense of security as regards the health of our instruments. Some of the immediate benefits are;
1. Moderated Rh levels= stability, tone and wood.
2. electronics are protected from corrosion.
3. strings and metal protected, less polishing.
4. Intonation and playability are stable.
5. Owner peace of mind.


I hope this info helps Pepper. Joe

kevinwholmes Says:
Monday, February 21, 2011 @4:59:01 AM

In answer to the blog title question: No, but cold water does.

hawksbill Says:
Monday, February 21, 2011 @5:22:40 AM

Thank you Kevin...but actually the affects of humidity are not caused by "water" so much as they are caused by the "energy" that warmer temps, and location promulgate with RH.
If you live in an area that historically has higher summer relative humidity (and it is on the increase world-wide), you will discover that it is not these massive water-submersions that create a wood-nightmare for instrument owners, and their instruments, including the electronics. So, aside from filling your prized banjo or guitr with water, the question to you is still pertinant....how does humidity affect your prized instrument? want to try again? Thanks, Joe.

writerrad Says:
Saturday, May 26, 2012 @12:32:33 PM

Well, My WL 250 has a calf skin head that I adore, but living in Florida where we have a subtropical climate and playing often takes place outside, that head has certainly gotten soppy a few times. My last home was right on the Intercoastal Waterway and across the street from the Atlantic ocean. There were a couple times when just the straight humidity on really foggy days got to the head despite our air conditioning. This is why I purchased two non-skin head banjos, though I prefer skin heads.

banjohangout.org/myhangout/pho...albumid=0

Is where you can see a [picture of Gold Tone's Wayne Rodgers playing said banjo at the Suwanee Banjo camp earlier this year

hawksbill Says:
Saturday, May 26, 2012 @12:41:18 PM

Replacing a head in differentiation humidity can be a chore, but having a "constant environment" in a case, prevents this from occurring.

Many of my customers realize it is important to preserve the integrity of their entire instrument collection, while it is possible to do so.

RUBY2 Says:
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 @2:11:09 PM

Hi Joe
I live in England and don't think I have such big extremes of humidity swing over here.
The thing I wanted to ask about is the changes in humidity over a small time span after cooking.
For eg today the humidity indoors was 74%Rh at 21 Oc and 83 and 19 Oc outside.
After cooking and keeping the window open the indoor Humidity increased to 83% and 22.5 %
We only have a small house and I practice in a open plan room next to the kitchen so the banjo gets subjected to this for about an hour with the RH dropping slowly to 80%.
I store my banjos in the room above and this was a tad lower RH at 76%
Do you think this type of thing is anything to worry about?
With thanks!
Richard

hawksbill Says:
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 @3:20:31 PM

Over time, unless you detune (loosen your strings) it can cause a neck warp, or a pot egging, or make the strings corrode quickly, cause rust and pitting on the metal parts and plating, and make the head swell a bit, changing the tone from bright, to dull...and the head will drop in higher humidity, and so will the position of the bridge, maybe causing buzzing.........that's about all.

I recommend trying to keep any string instruments at 50% RH, but no lower than 45%...this lets you set-up you instrument at the proper, safe RH levels, and by keeping your RH within 10% of target, you'll never have to mess with the set-up again. Also, skin-heads last longer at a proper RH, and metal and strings stay bright.

Ruby2, anything over 60% RH, for an extended period of time is not good. Once you get the Banjo at say 50%, you will notice the tone is different, the strings last longer, and the action is consistent.

If you can find a silica desiccant to drop in your case, first dry out your case with a hair-dryer, buy an inexpensive digital hygrometer, and place them in the dryed out case until your RH reaches 45%. Then wait a day or so, and play your Jo...you will then know where it needs to be adjusted for proper playability, and preservation of your instrument...Great question, Thank you luv!

hawksbill Says:
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 @3:21:45 PM

Wait a minute...your name is Richard, not Ruby...forget the "luv" part, please.

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