21 Nov 2017
Selling ice to the Eskimos. An article about guitar relative humidity
For the past 30 years there's been so many guitar accessory created/innovated to help musicians in achieving/enhancing their tone and gears.Take the the guitar pick for example.Compare the selection between 30 years ago and today,you'll know what I mean.Some of us newbie guitarist won't agree with this and thinks that the 300 pick compartment box have always been in that music store since 1957.Well now,try bringing a veteran player along and he'll tell you 30 years ago he'd never seen 90% of those picks in there before.
Some invention became necessity like the string winder.Some died or relegated to be niche oriented.I'm not a guitar accessory fanatic person(not much money) hence my experiences was based during past job in a music store.I remember a gadget that reduces audio speed.I can't remember the brand but it was aim for guitarist who want to nail guitar solos especially.It had only 5 second or so of playback memory,you could slow it down 1/2 or 3/4 speed or so but the tone was extremely horrible that its hard to make out what was where not to mention the hook/power/input/output connector it came with and you need a source e.g. cassette/CD player.Quiet tedious so I'm glad I didn't help sell any and double glad it died.Today with some audio bits or bite you can slow down audio/licks with media software,apps and even youtube has built in speed trainer.
I also remember trying the Aspri reverb box.You attach it on a the acoustic/classical guitar top and ting! you guitar has reverb.Not so much though but its a discrete invention nonetheless .Come to think of it now,I got better reverb playing my guitar in the toilet/bathroom but hey if one is on the go but can't bring the toilet then one need to bring along this TROG(Toilet Reverb On the GO) box to have a reverbing time all the time.lol.....okay on with the main write up we go.
I've always curious about other consumer guitar products on the market.I'm no luthier/physicist nor biologist so I'm going to touch this with large magnitude of common sense and less scientific care.Take the guitar humidifier sold here in this country.Reading through prominent guitar makers sites informed us that the suggested the ideal RH(Relative Humidity) for guitar is 45 to 50%.It does make sense and I'm fine with 50/50.Not too much nor too little of water or anything in life.
To begin,let's relearn some forgotten Tawarikh/Ilmu Alam/Geography facts.First of all according to my secondary school teacher Mrs. Ng in 1987 our country is HOT and HUMID all year round.She migrated to Australia in December of that year.I hope she's well to this day. Its 2017 and she's still right about it.Secondly she said this applies to all countries near the Equator.She's right about that too.Thirdly HUMID means there's WATER particle or atom in the surrounding air.Next is for us to gauge it,understand it and how to deal with it.
Gauging it requires information from people with limitless funds that has hygro antenna/bucket setup all around this country.Who are these people with money and do they play guitars too? They are part of the government known as Malaysia Meteorological Department but I'm unsure whether they play guitars too.However the humidity level displayed on the site are too general to apply for everything or everyone but at least its there and official.Okay I know some of you yelling "the gov can't be trusted" there for I would agree they can't fulfil the RH info of our mancave/bedroom/basement/kitchen/bathroom/attic so needing that would require us guitarist to buy a temperature with hygrometer built in thingy.Those are fairly cheap but good for indoor/outdoor gauging.
The average daytime humidity here in Petaling Jaya at the time of this blogpost is rough 70%.It goes as high as 90% in the morning and gradually decreases towards the afternoon.I'm guessing it goes back to 90% come night time?
So how do we deal with it or more appropriately how do I deal with the sale pitch of these bullcrap from these shops. Dejavu may occur.
Dear Mr salesman.Bro,you've obviously forgotten what you had learn in school.You see bro here's the thing.My workplace Temp and RH is 31C/75% .With the AC on I would expect a decrease in temp and increase in RH. Cool air has water in it.Kapish! Normally I set the AC to between 29 to 30C which is about comfortable to work/move.The RH would creep up to 80%.Am I and the guitars I'm working fine with it? Yes,because I'm the alpha Temp/RH meter. It's common sense.My brain,bare body with this shirt tells me if its comfy or not every time. There's no way I'm putting that sponge with water in any guitars.
By the way Bro,your showroom AC feels max out.Let me guess 16C? The RH in here must be 99% now and come rain outside it'll be 190%. Feels like the north pole bro if you ask me.lol. You must think I'm an idiot but the fact is it's you. Bro,the solution is to take away some of the humidity if not all,not adding it more. Bro,honestly speaking the humidity pack/box/kit what ever its shape hanging there is a load of bullshit scam,at least in this part of the world. Why should I pay for humidity when it's already around me for FREE. Do I look like the previous fucking Eskimo in need of ice from you? Bro,Stop lecturing me about RH,stop being the Eskimo that bought ice from the manufacturer,get the fuck out of my face and stop selling this shit here! Go sell this in the desert or where it's hot and dry.Let me tell you what we need here.We need DE-humidifier.Bro,have you heard about charcoal,silica gel? Your showroom definitely need it by the tons.Bro you're hilarious and I'm GTFO. Good luck and Goodbye.
My fellow guitarist who is near the equator. Remember, you do not need a humidifier kit.
Selling ice to the Eskimos is an idiom come true for some.
Hot and Humid