Silica gel in guitar?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
neo

Silica gel in guitar?

Post by neo » Thu Sep 28, 2006 11:23 am

I find there is lot of moisture inside my guitar. Can I drop some silica gel inside? Is there any potential damage?

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Vesuvio
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Location: Northern England

Post by Vesuvio » Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:10 pm

Most of us worry about our instruments drying out. With moisture actually forming inside your guitar I would be concerned about the possibility of fungal damage—this might be a question for you to ask some of the luthiers on the forum. You might experiment with silica gel, but I think you should get a humidity meter to keep in your guitar case so that you can monitor what's going on. You don't really want to reduce the humidity inside the instrument below around 40% or so and you don't want to reduce it too fast. Is the air generally humid in Mumbai? Are you badly affected by seasonal changes? Best wishes, V.

Azalais

Post by Azalais » Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:08 pm

Neo, you have my sympathies... your climate is only slightly hotter and more humid than mine!

The answer to your question really depends on the conditions of your living living space... If you run central air conditioning 24/7 or not, if the guitar leaves the house with you and goes from hot to hotter and back again...

As I'm sure you know, the bigest problem is condensation... and rapid temperature fluctuations. When warm humid air is suddenly subjected to cooler air temperatures, (for example when you turn the air conditioning on) the humidity condenses out of the warm air and can actually form droplets on cool surfaces... (like the mirror when you take a shower) It is almost impossible to maintain a space (a room or a guitar case) at a drier Relative Humidity than your living space... so the next best thing is to provide adequate ventilation... so that airborne mildew spores do not start growing in the droplets of moisture. You would almost be better off keeping the guitar on a stand (away from the windows) and hope that there is enough air movement to evaporate any condensation.

neo

Post by neo » Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:42 pm

Hmm ok. So I am going to describe the conditions my guitar is kept in.

The air is humid in mumbai. Very humid. My guitar hangs on my wall. I have a thick plastic guitar cover for it while it is hanging. the plastic is thick something like a dinner table cover. In design its like a dress. It cover the guitar from top, sides, front, back, but from bottom its open. I think my guitar is very moist because I get some weird smell. Somewhat like somethings moist. Thats y I asked about any potential damage because I have seen silica gel sachets in some guitars in shops. I switch on the Air Conditioning only in the night for a few hours. There is ventilation in the day. But during all of this my guitar is covered in that plastic.

I find measuring the humiity very troublesome. There is no apparent way I can get a humidity meter. The air is generally humid around the year, but it varies.

Pepe Vergara

Post by Pepe Vergara » Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:48 pm

Silica gel did not work for me. Or, better, it does not work for large amount of humdidity.

Azalais

Post by Azalais » Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:50 pm

You would be much safer with a light cotton cover that would let the guitar breath... When you turn on the air conditioning at night, the plastic gets cold very quickly... the moisture in the air will collect on the plastic... and may even drip onto the guitar... a soft cotton cover or a bed sheet will protect it from dust, etc... but will allow the humidity to escape and evaporate.

ljerams

Post by ljerams » Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:14 pm

If it was me I would never keep a guitar in a plastic cover where there is high humidity. Dampness is bound to condense on to the instrument.

Better to leave it uncovered if you have nothing else.

I live in Thailand where the humidity is also very high. I keep my guitar in a proper but inexpensive guitar case and have never had any problems in almost twenty years.

Derry

Post by Derry » Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:30 pm

Neo, have to agree with the last two post,, PITCH the plastic cover in the trash,, it prevents air from circulating and can actually help hold moisture in the instrument,,

would let it hang in the open air for a couple weeks and see if the aroma changes,, even placing a fan on it to assure air is circulating inside,,

with the high humidity in your area you have no fear for it drying out but you do need to keep it from getting too much RH,,

if you only run the airconditioning in the evening try leaving it out over night and place in a case (recommend buying one) during the day time when the RH goes high and your not playing,,

dj2066

Post by dj2066 » Wed Oct 04, 2006 5:57 pm

Derry wrote:Neo, have to agree with the last two post,, PITCH the plastic cover in the trash,, it prevents air from circulating and can actually help hold moisture in the instrument,,

would let it hang in the open air for a couple weeks and see if the aroma changes,, even placing a fan on it to assure air is circulating inside,,

with the high humidity in your area you have no fear for it drying out but you do need to keep it from getting too much RH,,

if you only run the airconditioning in the evening try leaving it out over night and place in a case (recommend buying one) during the day time when the RH goes high and your not playing,,
Plastic guitar cover?

As with the previous posts, I would strongly discourage doing this for the very obvious reason of poor air circulation and condensation.

You may also consider a dehumidifier (if you do not have A/C) that you can run locally in a room. Do not set it too low as it will then run all the time - also try to keep doors/windows closed. A setting of 60% may help buffer the problem.

Once you have the humidity under control, I would suggest keeping the guitar in a case as it will act as a buffer to any rapid changes in climate.

I live in Canada and my guitars can, potentially, be exposed to a temperature range of -25 deg. C to 35 deg. C. That's an overall range of 60 deg. C! I have learned to always warm up my car in the winter before putting my guitar case inside so I do not risk damaging the guitar. Also, I always wait 1/2 hour before opening my case to allow the guitar to adjust to a temperature change (IE: going from a cold car to warm house). The point of this is to underline how the guitar case is a great thermal buffer.

Hope this helps.

Doug

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