Humidty Control

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Rudy Mueller
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Humidty Control

Post by Rudy Mueller » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:36 pm

Just a question....

we've spent our last several winters in florida....(tropics, ja ja ja) with no slipping pins. however....

we're now back in wisconsin for the winter, where the usual indoor relative humidity in winter is less than 10 %, (actually, usually less than 6%, forced air heat) and bam...

i've got several slipping pins. are slipping pins an inverse function of relative humidity? hmmm.

would a carefully placed small humidifier in the practice area cure this problem???? or should i move to the basement?

any comments???

rudy

Rudy Mueller
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Re: Slipping tuning peg

Post by Rudy Mueller » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:43 pm

i've noticed that some serious wisconsin players keep a kettle of water simmering on the kitchen stove all winter long....double hmmmm.

rudy

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Dave
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Re: Humidty Control

Post by Dave » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:57 pm

Slipping pins could be a symptom of low humidity. It's especially suspicious that you're noticing this now, soon after moving from a warmer clime.

During the drier months I'll keep a humidifier running in the music room (Air-O-Swiss 7144). When the humidity is low, the unit runs constantly and the water tank must be refilled frequently. It is quiet though, which is a plus. When it starts to warm up and the relative humidity starts creeping above 50%, I'll swap it out for a dehumidifier.

I'll also keep my zither in its case when not being played, so it's not subject to drafts and dust. This, along with a few portable units to control the humidity, seems to be working for me.

Dave
We do not take humor seriously enough. —Konrad Lorenz

Rudy Mueller
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Re: Humidty Control

Post by Rudy Mueller » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:30 pm

Profound!

A room air humidifier (Aldi's, generic) was placed in the same room as my zither, and run twice per day for ~ 4 hours, for two days now. The Aldi's product is very basic, no humidity control: it is either "on" or "off". The effect was profound.

After one day (two 4 hour cycles) ALL strings except the contra bass "went sharp", approximately one half tone, and the slipping of the tuning pegs was eliminated on most strings, except for slight slippage on c# accompaniment and A and G contra.

After two days (four 4 hour cycles) the all strings were in tune compared to day #1, and NONE of the tuning pegs had any slippage, including c#, A and G contra.

The room temperature was constant and the same both days, 68° f (22.5°c).

I'll have to start a search for a humidifier with actual control.

rudy

Rudy Mueller
Posts: 401
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

Re: Humidty Control

Post by Rudy Mueller » Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:14 pm

Running a simple humidifier two times per day for about 4 hours seems to keep the room relative humidity in the range 50-60%, and the remaining heated area of the house at about 50%. The Förg zither seems to tolerate this slightly high humidity; not one slipping pin, however, including the contras.

Severe cold front coming through tonight, we'll see what happens next; perhaps move the humidifier to another room???

Rudy

Rudy Mueller
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Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

Re: Humidty Control

Post by Rudy Mueller » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:31 pm

We are in the depths of winter now, outside morning temperature for the last five days has been between +5 and -10°f, about -18 to -21° celcius, with no relief in sight.

The aldi's humidifier keeps on cranking away.

No loose pins to report, but there may be a new e begleitung in my future.

r

Rudy Mueller
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Re: Humidty Control

Post by Rudy Mueller » Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:43 am

Lesson learned: I moved the Förg to another room where the relative humidity was about 44%, temperature about 68°f. Within one day, 4-6 pins started slipping.

The humidity gauge being used is a simple temperature/humidity purchased from a local hardware store.

Humidifier was subsequently moved to this room.

Rudy

Rudy Mueller
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Re: Humidty Control

Post by Rudy Mueller » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:10 pm

It's winter in Wisconsin again. For several days (10 + ??) all strings "went slightly flat"on a daily basis.

Is the ability to maintain "tune" on a day to day basis over several days a good indication of proper humidity control?

Rudi

kenbloom
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Re: Humidty Control

Post by kenbloom » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:26 am

It certainly is one of the indications. When the humity is higher, the wood swells up, thus the tension goes up and the instrument goes sharp. When the humity drops, the reverse happens. Tuning pins slip when the wood shrinks. No mystery here. In the old days of skin heads, banjo players were always tightening the head in summer when moist conditions made it go slack. You then have to remember to loosen it as the air dries out or you can pop the head. This happened a lot in the days before plastic heads
I have found that lesser zithers, which can be built rather heavily, are less affected by humidity. My Meinel shifts wildly. It is a much more sensitive instrument when it comes to humidity and temperature. If you have Meinel, Wunshe, or similar quality instrument, listen to what it tells you and act accordingly. Your zither will thank you!

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org

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