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Instruments and Humidity

Q: I’ve read where acoustic, hollowbody, and semi-hollowbody guitars can dry out and crack if the humidity is too low. Does this also apply to other instruments, such as digital pianos in wood enclosures, acoustic pianos, and other wooden instruments?

A: Absolutely! Any instrument that contains wood may be subject to cracking if the humidity is too low, including pianos, woodwinds, organs, violins, cellos, upright basses, and more. The degree to which dry air is a problem depends on the instrument, how it is made, the type of wood, whether the wood is solid or laminate, and more.

To keep any wooden instrument in good shape, maintain the room humidity around the 40-50% range — the same humidity range where humans are comfortable. Also, try to keep wooden instruments away from heat sources in the winter. For example, don’t place a piano directly over a radiator or heat vent.

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