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Humidity

 
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GuzhengMom
Plywood


Joined: 23 Aug 2017
Posts: 7
Location: MN

PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:29 pm    Post subject: Humidity Reply with quote

We live in a cold climate where it gets quite dry in the winter. I have been trying to keep up the humidity of my daughters guzheng and have been doing some experiments.

I don’t really want to humidify the entire room because this can cause issues with mold and mildew. Instead I decided to do what string players do and humidify the case.

For background we are currently using one of the old green plywood cases that came with the instrument my daughters teacher loaned us.

First i purchased a Bluetooth hygrometer so I could monitor what was actually going on inside the case without having to open the case to see the readings. This turned out to be a good move. I pusrchased the Blustream hygrometer, though I found out later the D’addario Bluetooth hygrometer is manufactured by the same company.

I then started experimenting with different in-case humidifiers and have learned that the guzheng and it’s wood case need a lot more humidufication than a guitar or cello. After watching the humidity drop with BOTH two Oasis guitar humidifiers and a stretto cello humidifier I contacted the Boveda company that manufactures a two way system that claims to both humidify and dehumidify with special large packs (same technology is used for cigar humidors)

Their recommendation is to first season the case with a couple of 75% packs for 14 days and then to use two of their guitar starter kits with 8 packs total to see if this would hold the humidity at the recommended 50%

Note that you need to keep the case closed even while practicing and return the zither to the case when done. The packs need to remain in the case at all times and be replaced when dry.

This solution seems to be working.

I wanted to share so others can avoid the trial and error and keep their precious instrument safe from cracking.

We are about to buy my daughter her own guzheng with a fiberglass case, and the company mentioned that it will likely be easier to maintain humidity in an impermeable case like that.

Note that the above method requires a hard case. It will not work with a soft case, you will need a room humidifier.
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jbpho
Plywood


Joined: 16 Aug 2017
Posts: 19
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey GuzhengMom, thanks for the tip! Do you have a target humidity you are trying to reach?
It makes sense that the fiberglass would be easier to keep at the right humidity. The plywood of the case would be sucking up all the moisture meant for the instrument, and likely be losing it to the outside world as well, even if only slowly.
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GuzhengMom
Plywood


Joined: 23 Aug 2017
Posts: 7
Location: MN

PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, i am using the recommendation for guitars and other stringed instruments of 45 - 50%.

If you keep the humidity constant you will find you tune it much less.
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GuzhengMom
Plywood


Joined: 23 Aug 2017
Posts: 7
Location: MN

PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some further updates. We now have a Dunhuang fiberglass purchased from Sounds of China in a sparkly fuscia color (which doesn't relate to humidity, but my is it beautiful) that we store our Scarlet Bird in. The Scarlet Bird is wider than a Dunhuang and the fit is tight, but each day it seems that it is a little easier to get the case to close without finagling as much with the sides. The foam padding seems to be compacting and conforming to the Scarlet Bird.

The humidification system works quite well in this case. It is much more even that it was in the old green wooden case. There are several accessory pouches that come with the case that attach to a strip of Velcro. I have attached the bluestream hygrometer to this Velcro strip and it seems to stay in place and transmit through the case just fine.

One more note is that the humidity packs do dry out- with the bluestream hygrometer you can see the humidity begin to drop. It could be quite expensive to replace them, but as it turns out, you can recharge them by filling a large sealable container with hot water, and floating another container within the first one. The packs ride in the second container like in a boat and after sitting in this humid environment for a few hours, they are ready to go again.

I also want to note that while people talk about Scarlet Bird's being resistant to low humidity, their care and warranty information lists an acceptable humidity range of 40-70%. Currently in our northern climate the indoor humidity at my house is 28%.

Hope this helps!
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