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Live in the Northeast? Watch those hygrometers!

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by drurb, Apr 30, 2006.

  1. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Well, spring has sprung. Most of us in the northeast worry about humidity in the dead of winter. This time of year, however, can be deadly in terms of humidity. With our heating/humidifying systems not running much and with the windows open, humidity percentages can plummet into the low 30s. I find I need to run the humidifier now more than ever.

    Just thought I'd pass this along.
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Run both a Humidifier and dehumidifier all year long. If the humidity is over 60% and then drops to 20%, this is where the trouble starts. With a de-humidifier you can take out moisture and maintain it at maybe 45% tops and the humidifier set at maybe 35%. With doors and windows opening and closing, your Bass is in no way protected by a bubble. I wouldn't try to pamper it too much because when you take the Bass out to play, ALL bets are off!
  3. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Yeah, you are one funny guy. Sure, operate a humidifier and a de-humidifier at the same time. Just in case you were not kidding, here's the plan I actually follow and I've become quite expert at this. During the winter and spring, I run an evaporative humidifier in the room where the bass lives. During the winter, this is supplemented by a central heating, whole-house humidifier. I am able to maintain the humidity in the mid-40% range quite nicely. There's certainly no need for a de-humidifier in the winter and spring! During the summer, the central A/C in my home does a fine job keeping the humidity just where I want it.

    There is no season or condition or circumstance where I have found it necessary to have a humidifier set to the lower bound and a dehumidifier set at the upper bound simultaneously. In the winter and spring, I'm always trying to add humidity. In the summer, I'm trying to reduce it. In the interim, nature takes care of it.

    With doors opeining and closing, my bass IS protected by a nice bubble, thank you! Even though the room where the bass lives is open to the rest of the house, my evaporative humidifier easily maintains 45+% humidity even during this season where the rest of the house is sitting in the low to mid 30% range.

    As far as "pampering" goes, I have only once had to acclimatize my bass for a gig. That was last summer and I had an outdoor gig. I cracked the windows in the room with the bass and slowly let the humidity rise. All went well.

    Now, in almost all cases when I take the bass out, all bets are NOT off. Putting the bass in my thickly padded case ensures that changes in temperature/humidity are quite gradual. In the dead of winter, I'll occasionally throw in a very well wrung out damp-it (in general I hate them). I've never had a problem. Yes, I realize that had I not done any of this, I may still not have had a problem. Then again, it is cheap insurance and it makes sense to control humidity.
  4. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Ok, sorry, I thought you needed some input. I must have mis-read your post and intention. Sounds like you have it all under control. Sorry I said anything. If you hadn't quoted my Post, I would have just deleted it and went on my way.

    My Basses range from 60 to 200+ years old with the exception of the Shen and Hungarian 5er. I have seen alot with Basses moving and cracking so my advice is from my own personal experience of about 40 years with and without humidifiers.
  5. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    Can't help but recall one of Stephen Wright's observations:

    For my birthday I got a humidifier and a de-humidifier... I put them in the same room and let them fight it out.

    For the source and other great comments:

    I was at this restaurant. The sign said "Breakfast Anytime." So I ordered French Toast in the Renaissance.

    I went to the museum where they had all the heads and arms from the statues that are in all the other museums.

    If one synchronised swimmer drowns, do all the rest have to drown too?

    It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to have to paint it.
  6. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004

    Bravo! I love Steven Wright. Oops are we off topic? :)
  7. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I haven't lived in a house with forced air heating for like 20 years, so I don't worry about humidity and don't bother with dampits. I haven't had any problems, and I've owned many old basses. I have always been curious about Dampits though. Do they really help? I've seen a lot of students that seem to be really crazy for them. I knew one guy who kept four Dampits in his plywood bass even in summer. I used to use them, but I figured that since they dry out rather quickly in dry weather, unless you wet them constantly and never let them get dry, you might be actually harming your bass, since you are exposing it to frequent changes in humidity. Wouldn't it be better to just let the bass get dry and stay dry over the whole winter?


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