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Thread: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

  1. #1

    Default Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    Hi All,

    So here goes...
    First time poster and new to the world of the mandolin. I'm in Fort Collins, Colorado and it's awfully dry here. Surely you've all figured this out already so... I have a like-new Ibanez M700S (F-style) picked up used for a decent price, and an Ibanez case on the way. Anyone have a recommendation on case humidifiers?

    From what I've read, my Ibanez isn't the best or the worst out there, but a decent starter, which is where I'm at, having never played a stringed instrument in my life and determined to learn. I just loved the look, and without having anything to compare it to, sounded great to me. I have my name in the queue at a local lutherie to do a proper setup but it'll be about a month.

    Any advice and tips you old timers have to offer is much appreciated. It's humbling to start something from 0 and learn as you go, but after years of playing a stringed instrument sorta being my white whale, well... I finally decided to jump in.

    Enjoying getting to know you all.
    Thanks, JBC
    Last edited by jbcrane; Jun-13-2020 at 4:52pm.

  2. #2
    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    I place a plastic pill bottle (With many quarter inch holes drilled into it) with a damp rolled up sponge in it, into the case acc. Compartment, I leave the acc. Compartment cover open
    2019 The Loar Supreme LM700 VS

  3. #3

    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    That's a great idea, thanks J.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    There are lots of variations on J Mangio's suggestion (different containers) but it is a time proven idea. Enjoy your mandolin. If it doesn't come with a good set up, check out Rob Mendum's (SP?) free set up guide. A well set up instrument makes a big difference.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    I use Oasis OH-26 for all of my mandolins and they do a great job here in CO
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00HWM9GRM/

  6. #6

    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    Thanks Nevin. Iím hoping a trip to the Lutherie addresses any set up issues and heís ready for action.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks Stevo, Iíve looked at that one too. Glad to know it works.

  7. #7
    This Kid Needs Practice Bill Clements's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    Stretto makes a fine violin case humidifier that also works well with mandolin cases.
    "Music is the only noise for which one is obliged to pay." ~ Alexander Dumas

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    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    My Ameritage case came with a hygrometer and a humidifier. No idea what the humidifier is - it’s a solid block of something in a round plastic box that you soak in water every two months. Clearly made specifically for Ameritage, it certainly works, it’s small and neat and I’d like to get hold of several more for various other cases.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Clements View Post
    Stretto makes a fine violin case humidifier that also works well with mandolin cases.
    Thank you Bill.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    My Ameritage case came with a hygrometer and a humidifier. No idea what the humidifier is - it’s a solid block of something in a round plastic box that you soak in water every two months. Clearly made specifically for Ameritage, it certainly works, it’s small and neat and I’d like to get hold of several more for various other cases.
    Thank you Ray. My case is coming and I don't yet know what the inside contains... I wish it had something like what you describe, but we'll see...

  10. #10
    Expert on my own opinion Bogle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    Look around for Herco-band case humidifiers. They're very similar to what Ray describes, low maintenance, low cost, and (importantly) do not leak.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    I doubt your new case will come with a humidifier. My Ameritage is the only case I have which did (I didn’t buy the case, I bought the mandolin which came in it!) and Ameritage are pretty up-market - it’s the only case I’ve ever come across which has a serial number and, being the owner of three Caltons, I’ve seen quite a few.

    Thanks Bogle, the one I have is identical to the Herco but branded Ameritage. We don’t usually have a humidity problem in the UK but we’ve had a very dry spring and the RH was down to around 35%. Firing up the humidifier took the case back up to the mid 40s within a day or so.

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    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    Yeah the sponge in a container works great. The caveat is at the point when the sponge becomes drier than the wood it will pull moisture. So keep that sponge moist. BTW I use a 35mm film container in my case. Though In Kentucky I don't have to fill it very often. R/
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  13. #13
    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    I live in an area than can get down to single-digit humidity readings in the summer. I have been using a source of humidity in my cases—Humistat bottles in two and a Guard Father, similar to the Herco mentioned above in one—along with a few Boveda packs. The Bovedas keep the humidity at around 48%, absorbing if it's above that and releasing humidity if it's above. D'Addario sells the packs with fabric covers, good protection on the off-chance one breaks. In a less-severe climate the Boveda packs alone would probably suffice.

  14. #14
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Exclamation Location , repeat 3 X..

    It's raining in June here, the week before the summer solstice, humidification is not a problem..
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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Location , repeat 3 X..

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    It's raining in June here, the week before the summer solstice, humidification is not a problem..
    Isn't it always raining there?

    Which brings up the question of too much humidity. When is it a problem? What does one do about it?

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    Default Re: Location , repeat 3 X..

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    Isn't it always raining there?

    Which brings up the question of too much humidity. When is it a problem? What does one do about it?
    Silica jell.

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    Registered User TheMandoKit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    Here in the upper midwest, by Lake Michigan, it is very humid in the summer and early fall, then extremely dry in the winter (due to heating). In the winter, I humidify the rooms with Venta Airwashers (I have hot water heat, so no ductwork) and when it gets really dry, also with in-case humidifiers. I have pretty much setlled on Oasis humidifiers for guitars and mandolins, including mandocello and octave, with other things for violins (Stretto or Humistat) and dulcimers (Herco or sponge in plastic soap case). The Planet Waves or Nomad case humidifiers with the rigid sponge seem to do pretty good job as well, although they are a little large and hard to find a spot in the case.
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  19. #18
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    So do people in variable climates generally keep a hygrometer in there to know when to humidify/dehumidify?

  20. #19

    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMandoKit View Post
    Here in the upper midwest, by Lake Michigan, it is very humid in the summer and early fall, then extremely dry in the winter (due to heating). In the winter, I humidify the rooms with Venta Airwashers (I have hot water heat, so no ductwork) and when it gets really dry, also with in-case humidifiers. I have pretty much setlled on Oasis humidifiers for guitars and mandolins, including mandocello and octave, with other things for violins (Stretto or Humistat) and dulcimers (Herco or sponge in plastic soap case). The Planet Waves or Nomad case humidifiers with the rigid sponge seem to do pretty good job as well, although they are a little large and hard to find a spot in the case.
    Thanks everyone for chiming in with great thoughts and suggestions. I settled on the Oasis. It's small and therefore seems relatively easy to find a spot on the already snug case. The Oasis comes with a magnetized clip, designed to fit over the lip of the case, which of course doesn't fit the edge profile of my case. Nor does the alternative adhesive-backed, magnetized strip... so finding a spot in the case for the little tube of moist gel-goo-crystals to roll around and not do any harm is the next hurdle. First world problems...

    One thing I'm aware of is an article read from a local (climate-wise) Lutherie describing the temptation for too much humidity in the case and the effects it has. For anyone interested, here's the link: https://www.montanalutherie.com/drea...umidification/.

    Happy trails, JBC

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    Registered User TheMandoKit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    Quote Originally Posted by jbcrane View Post
    . . . The Oasis comes with a magnetized clip, designed to fit over the lip of the case, which of course doesn't fit the edge profile of my case. Nor does the alternative adhesive-backed, magnetized strip... so finding a spot in the case for the little tube of moist gel-goo-crystals to roll around and not do any harm is the next hurdle. First world problems...


    Happy trails, JBC
    For mandolins, I put the little adhesive strip either on the bottom of the accessory compartment (so it rests under the mando's neck/above the heel), on the top of the compartment so it is under the headstock (less desirable since it's farther away from the body) or on top of the lid of the accessory compartment off to the side where the neck doesn't touch it.

    Given the small size of the Oasis, they all seem to work.

    YMMV, as always. Good luck.
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  23. #21
    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    Good points from BW; at 35 - 50% RH, most won't need to increase humidity. Living in the desert, with single digit humidity levels, I monitor my instruments closely.
    2019 The Loar Supreme LM700 VS

  24. #22
    Registered User TheMandoKit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    So do people in variable climates generally keep a hygrometer in there to know when to humidify/dehumidify?
    Yes, absolutely. Have them in three locations around the house, and check accuracy periodically with a sling psychrometer.

    May be overkill, but right now RH is 68%, and it's only June. In winter with the heat on, it can drop to the teens pretty quickly.
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  25. #23
    Registered User Elliot Luber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidifier for Mandolin/Case

    I drilled holes in a soap box and put a small damp sponge in it. You have to change the sponge if it gets moldy and many use distilled water to avoid mold. I only need it in the winter months.
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