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PHOTO: Mike Duffy

Asked and Answered: Do I Need a Humidifier for My Acoustic Guitar?

A little care can save your instrument from fret buzz, top sinking, warping and cracking.

One—of many—common questions that new acoustic guitar owners ask is, “Do I need a humidifier to keep my guitar safe?”

Basically, the answer is yes, you do. If you live in an area with little humidity year-round, then there is a little wiggle room, but it’s still a good idea to cover your bases by spending a few bucks on a humidifier.

Why?

Well, good acoustic guitars are made of wood, which “breathes” as it reacts to changes in temperature and humidity. That can not only occur if you’re moving from a hot car to a cold room, but also in the friendly confines of your house, as the climate adjusts with the seasons.

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As those levels rise and fall, the guitar’s neck and body can fluctuate in size, potentially resulting in fret sprout, fret buzz, a loose bridge, bad action, top sinking, warping, cracking, etc.

“For all-solid woods, if you dry them out too quickly, they crack,” explained Fender Vice President of Category Management for Acoustics Billy Martinez. “If you over-humidify them, the tops swell up. The bridge will pop and you’ll destroy the guitar.

“So it’s key to monitor the humidity and temperature if you want to take care of your guitar.”

Surely, you do. After all, not only is a guitar a partner in creativity, it’s also an investment.

According to Martinez, the optimal level of humidity if between 35 and 50 percent, in roughly 70- to 75-degree weather.

There are several types of humidifiers. Guitar case humidifiers sit in the actual guitar case to keep the case regulated. Room humidifiers are good for those that have multiple guitars to safeguard. And soundhole humidifiers either cover the soundhole or are composed of a rubber tube that sits between the strings and runs down into the guitar. Both types of the latter are basically an enclosed saturated sponge that moisturizes the wood without dripping water on it (you only need to re-wet these every week or two).

All Fender Paramount acoustic guitars come with a soundhole humidifier—the rubber hose type. But if you don’t have a Paramount or a humidifier, for that matter, you should definitely get one.

Your acoustic guitar will thank you.