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Moisture, the guitar and the guitarist

The relative moisture affects the structure of the guitar, but also the interpretation of the guitarist

It is often highlighted the importance of the relative moisture on the guitar, a parameter that has to be between 40% and 60% to be adequate, but what are the consequences if the instrument gets extreme values?

Well, both high moisture and dryness cause significant problems, and some of them are difficult to solve.

Extreme dryness causes wood to "shrink", a fact that is detected on the fingerboard, outputting the metal on the sides and leaving them sharp, we can also observe a decrease in the action of the cords when contracting the wood, in the area under the bridge, where a small curvature is generated due to cord tension, it tends to be less accentuated and as a consequence, the bridge gets lower and therefore so does the cord action. Due to the contraction of the wood, we can also find cracks or cuts.

Summer or the use of heating during winter may favour high dryness, a situation that can be regulated by placing containers with water, so that the evaporation of water content can regulate the interior.

The opposite situation, high moisture, can also produce negative effects on the instrument. In this case, by dilating the timber, the curvature of the lower bridge in the lid increases, which could cause lisps and sound abatement. Over 70% could cause different parts of the guitar to peel off.

Of course, some abrupt changes may enhance the effects described above. The guitarist can minimize this situation, by wrapping the instrument with silk in the same case to keep the adequate moisture on the guitar, a way to further isolate the instrument from abroad.

You can find more tips on guitar maintenance on the section of cares from Alhambra Guitars. Tips that every guitarist should know.

But these situations not only affect the instrument, some not as extreme values can also affect the guitarist directly. Moisture can make you sweat more so that playing the instrument is more complicated. This sensation makes the guitarist’s fingers stick to the instrument, an aggravated situation when you have to play in public.

In case this happens, there are some useful tricks to keep in mind. First, it is important to always have chamois to dry more frequently the guitar, the fingerboard and the cords, as well as one’s hands, so that they are as dry as possible.

There are also some guitarists who use a very small quantity of vaseline otherwise it can affect the instrument, or talcum powder.

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