We make Elly guitars from thin pieces of solid wood, then join them together with glue. As a result, our guitars react to changes in temperature and humidity. Some climates have extremes in temperature and humidity. In these extreme climates, special attention is necessary to ensure the proper care of your instrument.
Elly guitars come to life in a climate controlled environment. Our workshops vary between 38% and 45% humidity and at a constant 70°F/21°C. Keeping your guitar’s humidity within this range will ensure optimal performance, playability, and durability.
Your new guitar will adjust to any changes in humidity and temperature during the first several months of its life. Small changes can take place to the action and neck profile while your guitar is settling into its new environment. By monitoring the place you keep your guitar with a hygrometer, you will keep your guitar playing and sounding it’s best.
Effects of climate on a guitar
Temperature has a direct effect on the moisture content in the air.
In warmer weather, the air can absorb more moisture. This results in higher relative humidity, causing the wood to swell.
In the winter months, the air holds less moisture, lowering the relative humidity and causing the wood to shrink. Other factors such as central heating will dry the air even further.
Rapid changes in temperature and humidity are the most dangerous for your instrument. To avoid damage it is best to keep your guitar insulated in its case. Should you expose your guitar to extreme cold, let it warm up to room temperature before opening its case. This is the best way to lower the risk of damage.
Symptoms of a dry guitar
The consequences of low humidity are more severe than those of high humidity. It is important to be aware and mindful of the symptoms to look out for. In dry conditions (less than 35% Relative Humidity) wood will shrink.
The following are signs that you need to immediately address:
The soundboard starts to droop, lowering the action and causing the strings to buzz against the frets.
The fingerboard shrinks, leaving the fret ends feeling sharp and protruding from the edge of the fingerboard.
Lacquer checks can begin to appear where the wood is joined. This is a warning sign that your guitar is suffering from environmental stress. In more severe cases, cracks in the wood itself may appear.
The bridge begins to separate from the soundboard. In a severely dried out guitar, the Bridge may lift off completely.
While these are repairable situations, they are best avoided through proper care.
Symptoms of a wet guitar
High humidity (above 75%) can be more difficult to control. Thankfully the consequences are less severe. In high humidity, your instrument will absorb excessive moisture, swell and expand.
These are signs that you need to immediately address:
Your instrument may begin to sound soggy with less bass and volume.
The soundboard can swell, raising the action, making it unwieldy or even unplayable.
The Bracing may become noticeable where the top is glued to the internal structure of the instrument.
The glue can weaken and the bridge and/or bindings can lift and separate.
Again, while these are repairable situations, they are best avoided through proper care.