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Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by farmerdude, Dec 28, 2001.

  1. People say use them, people say don't use them...:rolleyes: people...anyway...after reading the post on the 2x list, I quit using them but recently noticed that the principal bassist for the KC Symphony uses a couple. I currently have a home humidifier as well as a room humidifier (bass room). I don't measure the h levels but I use the rule of thumb "if I'm comfortable-the bass is comfortable" and my skin is very sensitive to dryness. So.....do dampits work, should I use them only for travel, should I not use them at all? I am concerned because my brand new bass has already cracked.
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    New bass cracked? From a blow?

    I use them, especially when I'm around forced-air heat.
  3. No blow, it just magically appeared. (lower bout rib)
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    This was during the winter? If so, then I would definitely use the dampits!
  5. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    For many years I worked in an establishment in which I had the opportunity to take apart hundreds of basses a year. I would often see what appeared to be water damage on and around the end block, sometimes resulting in warpage, cracking or delamination of the rib. I figured that maybe the owner had a flood or kept the bass in a damp basement. It was S.O.P. that when a customer brought in a bass he/she would be asked to take home any extra stuff ie. the case or dampits in order that they might not be lost in the shop. I never saw the dampits and hence never made the connection untill one day I walked out front and noticed someone bringing in a bass with four dampits in the holes. That caught my eye and I remembered it. The next day I opened the bass and found extreme water damage. I informed my boss and he began recommending to all to thorougly wring out their dampits. End of story? Not exactly. If you were to wring out a wet dish towel with all your strength, until not a drop could be wrung, then hung it by an end-a puddle would soon form underneath due to gravity and capillary action.
    OK, let's assume you are a truly gifted wringer and that dampit can be gotten to the point where it does't drip. Ask yourself a few questions. How much water is in that dampit? What effect will it have in a space that has, let's say 30 percent humidity? Well, I keep my shop at 48 percent in the winter-under 40% and you could have trouble. 30% is dangerous for any length of time and 20% is even money that you'll be handing someone like me a large check sometime soon. Spray a water bottle on a flat surface at 30%, come back in 3-4min. and it'll be gone. The water in a well-wrought dampit is less. The dampit was a good idea at the surface level but it just doesn't hold up to real physics.
    The only answer is to monitor and humidify the bass's space [and yours-its good for your health]. Bringing the bass to a low humidity environ for a 4 hour gig should not be a problem--overnight, I'd hold my breath opening up the case!
  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    What would be your recommendation for lower humidity (hotel gig, etc.)? I knew a guy who made his own from ZipLock bags and sponges and hung these inside the f-holes so that the bags were open at the top. He only had these in when the bass was sitting.
  7. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    My friend Jon Cooper, a violin-builder whose clients include guys like Darrell Anger and Mark O'Connor, says, "Yer in Maine, son. You don't need a dampit, you need a fire-hose."
  8. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Ray, if I were going to overnight elsewhere with a bass I would first always carry a small hygrometer with me. These are cheap and it might tell you that you needn't worry. I've heard of that plastic bag trick and it might offer some relief but I would still worry aboot drippage. I have no good answer other than a well set up plywood. Or mebbe leave the bass in the can?
  9. I sent my bass back to Barrie one year ago last week with a split up the front and seperations at the sides. He was very kind to repair it at no cost. I found out later that my spring hygrometer was way out of whack.

    I brought in my digital hygrometer from my shop and keep the humidity between 50 to 56 percent. I have to use the humidifier on my furnace and an additional room humidifier in the bass room. BTW, I do not ever use the fireplace in my music room.That is the fastest way to eliminate the humidity in the room.

    I suggest staying away from the spring type hygrometers. they are not acurate and or reliable.


    P.S. - I also reset my digital hygrometer at least twice a day to insure it is acurate.
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    While we're on the subject of Hygrometers and humidity, is there a consensus on what the healthiest humidity percentage is for basses? I live in Louisville (which is in the Ohio valley along the river), and most of the time I have to constantly DEhumidify...I try to keep the room between 45-65%, but the biggest part if the chore so far is trying to keep it below 65%.

    Also, I'm using a spring hygrometer, so I'll have to take your advice on the digital ones...where can they be found, and how much are they (ballpark)?
  11. Barrie Kolstein told me to keep the humidity around 50 percent in the winter which can be daunting task here in the frozen north when the outside temperatures can go way below zero. I do not know of a recommended maximum upper level of humidity.

    As far as cost of a digital hygrometer, I can't help you there either. A friend gave me mine. It was a corporate gift give away.

  12. Quick question seeing that we are on the subject of weather. On rockabillybass.com some guys were talking about shipping a bass in the summer. They said it was a bad idea because you never know how hot it would get on the shipping truck.
    My question is about the winter.
    I can see how a bass could crack and split in the hot truck but what effects would the cold have on a DB.
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    This is interesting, and I owe you some thanks here (I think...). After reading this, I went by Radio Shack and purchased a digital hygrometer so that I could check the accuracy of the spring unit. To my surprise, I found that while my spring hygrometer shows of reading of 49% in the music room, the digital one is reading in the neighborhood of 39%, which according to Jeff is getting into the danger zone for my bass (not to mention the grand piano).

    So I guess the next step is to shop for a room humidifier to supplement the one on my central heat. Does anyone have any recommendations? My music room is roughly 15' x15' with 10' ceilings, having 2 exterior (very thick brick) walls, one of which has 2 windows. What are some good humidifiers to look at for such a space?
  14. Klimbim


    Mar 3, 2001
    Hi Chris,
    which model hygrometer did you get, and how much did it set you back by?

  15. Chris,
    I'll post the model when I get home.
    I'm not buying the natural superiority of a digital hygrometer, whatever that is. Every thermostat and hygrometer I know of is based on the behavior of a metal (bi-metal?) spring. The base value assigned to a position might be off, but relative to all other positions, I accept the spring. How does a digital know what number to show?

    P.S. I have friends who "water" their piano. You know about this?
  16. Chris,

    I just use a small Sears humidifier. It has a one gallon capacity. They also have a two gallon model. I usually have to refill it once a day when I use the furnace humidifier.


    A ten inch split up the front of my bass convinced me not to trust any single hygrometer. I also have a new spring model that is usually within 5 percent of the digital one.

  17. crosscut:
    They're cheap enough that I keep 3 in different parts of the room.
  18. How close are they in their readings?

    My original spring one was off over twenty percent. I had owned it forever so I assume age had something to do with it.
  19. A virtual match. I put all 3 in one spot to 'calibrate' them, then tried them in different spots
  20. The best of three that I've tried is by Holmes, called an Ultrasonic Humidifier; mine is model HM485.
    Price is comparable, performance is superior. It's the quietest, and most covenient to fill. One unit does up to 650 square feet, but that's pushing it. It should be fine for you. No matter what you buy, order two or three filters to keep on hand. With Holmes, you can get them over the 'net. I run it full blast, so I fill it every 12 hours.

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