Why Every Musician Needs a Humidifier
A humidifier and a grand piano may not seem to have much in common, but where you find one, you're more likely to find the other than you might think. Pianos and other instruments made of wood, such as acoustic guitars and violins, need to be carefully maintained to produce the best sound, and part of that maintenance is ensuring that they're kept in an environment with the right level of humidity.
Why Does Humidity Matter?
Wood instruments' need for humidity is a lot like the human body's. People and trees both need lots of moisture to survive. Just like you couldn't thrive for long in a harsh, arid environment, neither could a tree. When a tree is cut to provide wood for an instrument, it rapidly loses moisture and the wood made from it can begin to crack if that loss isn't controlled. Woodcutters and instrument makers have ways of decreasing this moisture loss, but you can't let them do all the work if you want to keep your instrument in peak condition.
The Right Environment
Anyone who plays a wood instrument knows the frustration of leaving a perfectly tuned piano, mandolin or guitar after a practice session one day only to find it entirely out of balance the next. That could be a sign of moisture loss. Is your guitar being left in a musty basement? Is your piano sitting over a heating vent?
Those are obvious cases when humidity could be to blame, but even in less extreme situations, small fluctuations in the amount of moisture in the air can wreak havoc on tuning.
Fixing Dry Conditions
Pianos should be kept in a room with 40 to 50 percent humidity, and other instruments have similar ranges. Depending on where you live and what time of year it is, it may be impossible to reach that target without some assistance. A device known as a hygrometer can measure the relative humidity of the air, but that won't help if it's not at the right level.
Fortunately, some humidifiers, such as the Holmes® Cool Mist Humidifier, can be adjusted to reach a particular humidity so that you'll know your instrument is being kept in the right environment. It even has a built-in water filter and antimicrobial coating to help keep the air in your home cleaner.