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Humidity re-re-redux: the next step

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I was living in Houston, TX (~85% humidity) when I bought my Hayden duet in 2008.  In the winters, such as they were, the house humidity would drop to about 45% and a couple of reeds would start to squawk.  I solved this by putting wet paper towels in a small open yogurt container in my case.


I now live in Boise, ID (~45% humidity).  Many more reeds complain much more squawkily.  The small humidifier in the case solution no longer works.  I put my concertina in a  standard cooler chest with a open beaker of water.  Humidity climbed to 83%, and there was discernible improvement, but not nearly enough to have a playable instrument.  Problems are usually worse on the draw than the pull.  I have given the instrument at least 2 weeks to adjust to the closed 83% environment.


I have read the many humidity threads, but I think I may have come to the end of personal solutions.  What sort of internal modifications are likely to be needed to restore order?  Does something need to be done to the reed pans? (I haven't come across my Dave Elliot repair book since the move.)

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Perhaps humidifying the room or area where you do your most playing would help.  My pet theory is that if we play our concertinas in low humidity environments then in effect we are drying them from the inside out as we pump dry(er) air through them.  Probably doesn't hurt the concertina player's skin and well being to get a bit of winter humidification as well.?


In my personal case I use a small room humidifier in a 12x12 office where I do much of my playing and practicing.  (For much of the year it takes concerted effort to keep the basement workshop below 80% relative humidity!?)


General consensus seems to be that wood loses humidity faster than it takes it up so it may take awhile for noticeable improvement.  My recommendation to clients is to try and keep the relative humidity in the 50-60% range.


One caution would be to make sure the concertina and its reeds are in the same temperature range as the room to prevent any condensation inside the instrument. 



Edited by Greg Jowaisas
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Where I live we have very cold, dry winters and comparably humid summers, so there's a constant battle. In addition to the constant humidifier in the winter and dehumidifier in the summer, the Oasis humidifiers seem to work well. 


Usually if a reed starts to act up from a change in humidity, I've found that simply sliding it out of its slot and then putting it back in place will alleviate the issue. You might want to try that with your Hayden.

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