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#2843251 04/28/19 03:13 PM
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I try to keep the room that my piano is in at 42% humidity all year long. I’m pretty successful at that with fluctuations of +/-3%. How much fluctuation will start to make a piano to go out of tune?

Thank you,

Mike


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I doubt you would notice intonation changes over 6% range.


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Thank you. I believe you’re correct. The piano (Yamaha S400B) keeps its tuning quite well.


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Sounds like you have the ideal climate control for your instrument.

Pwg


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Just a question ...
How reliable is your source of information? What kind of device are you using to measure RH?
If you spent less than $100 on your hygrometer, it could well be lying to you.

Things out of the ordinary are definitely possible and I'm glad if that is your experience. But your results for our region of the US are certainly extraordinary.


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Well, I have three hygrometers in the room, two of which can be calibrated and I calibrate them using Boveda calibration kits. However, they are not $100+

That brings up another question. Where can I get an accurate hygrometer in the price range you’re talking about? The ones I have I think do an ok job but I’d love a really good hygrometer.

Thanks,
Mike


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Originally Posted by Gesualdo
Well, I have three hygrometers in the room, two of which can be calibrated and I calibrate them using Boveda calibration kits. However, they are not $100+

That brings up another question. Where can I get an accurate hygrometer in the price range you’re talking about? The ones I have I think do an ok job but I’d love a really good hygrometer.

Thanks,
Mike



Why is there a need for a calibration kit? A bottle cap full of salt, slightly wetted, and sealed in plastic bag with the hygrometer should yield 75% humidity. I tested my German made Abbeon HTAB-176 hygrometer and it was dead on. This hygrometer can be calibrated.

Last edited by LarryK; 04/29/19 07:49 PM.
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Glad you have good results with that. I like the Boveda kits myself. The method you mentioned didn’t work for me and the Boveda packs did.

Mike

Last edited by Gesualdo; 04/29/19 10:06 PM.

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LarryK, what hygrometer do you recommend?

Thanks,
Mike

Last edited by Gesualdo; 04/29/19 10:11 PM.

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I posted this question to the wrong person.I meant it for “kpembrook.”

What hygrometer do you suggest?

Thanks,
Mike


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Originally Posted by Gesualdo
Glad you have good results with that. I like the Boveda kits myself. The method you mentioned didn’t work for me and the Boveda packs did.

Mike


Why a bottle of plain salt in a sealed bag method did not work for you?

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Edit:
A bottle cap I meant.

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Originally Posted by Gesualdo
I posted this question to the wrong person.I meant it for “kpembrook.”

What hygrometer do you suggest?

Thanks,
Mike


I like the Abbeon hygrometers

https://www.abbeon.com/Abbeon-Instruments

but they are over $200, new.

The one I have has served me well to protect my classical guitars. I have found it to be very sensitive. The salt test moved the needle quickly but I still waited a while to make sure it was stable.

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I've stated this a number of times on the forum. Caliber IV for the hygrometer, they are noted for being accurate out of the box. Alternately look up Burgess violins and he sells one that he calibrates himself.
Common table salt is not the best for calibrating our hygrometers because it's at the wrong RH - circa 75%. Potassium carbonate is much closer to the average RH at 43%. It's available pretty cheap off the usual auction site.

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Originally Posted by Michael P Walsh
I've stated this a number of times on the forum. Caliber IV for the hygrometer, they are noted for being accurate out of the box. Alternately look up Burgess violins and he sells one that he calibrates himself.
Common table salt is not the best for calibrating our hygrometers because it's at the wrong RH - circa 75%. Potassium carbonate is much closer to the average RH at 43%. It's available pretty cheap off the usual auction site.


That Caliber IV gets some pretty awful reviews on Amazon. Someone said theirs was off by 15%. I’m not trusting my expensive guitars to a $25 hygrometer that needs batteries.

Are you affiliated with the company?

I tested a violin hygrometer I had, and it was off by a lot. I had a violin from 1900. It had survived all kinds of humidity. Violins are easily popped open and cracks re-glued, that’s not so for classical guitars which have a binding and so the cracks must be cleated. Classical guitar tops are less than 3mm thick, on expensive guitars, at least.

How thick are piano soundboards?

Last edited by LarryK; 04/30/19 09:28 AM.
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Affiliated? Don't be silly.
What exactly is a violin hygrometer? violin shaped? does it have a special hygrometer soundpost?
The caliber IV can be calibrated. The Burgess hygrometer is calibrated by a multi award winning violin maker. Believe me, you don't get to that level by being a hack. He doesn't make the hygrometer but he does supply them to his customers and whoever wants a pre calibrated accurate hygrometer. The hygrometer is just a sideline of his.
All hygrometers drift over time, even the very expensive ones. Ideally they should be checked every 6 months, which is what I do in my workshop.
Oh and believe me LarryK. There's absolutely nothing that you can tell me about guitar or violin construction. Nothing.

Last edited by Michael P Walsh; 04/30/19 11:10 AM.
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Originally Posted by Michael P Walsh
Affiliated? Don't be silly.
What exactly is a violin hygrometer? violin shaped? does it have a special hygrometer soundpost?
The caliber IV can be calibrated. The Burgess hygrometer is calibrated by a multi award winning violin maker. Believe me, you don't get to that level by being a hack. He doesn't make the hygrometer but he does supply them to his customers and whoever wants a pre calibrated accurate hygrometer. The hygrometer is just a sideline of his.
All hygrometers drift over time, even the very expensive ones. Ideally they should be checked every 6 months, which is what I do in my workshop.
Oh and believe me LarryK. There's absolutely nothing that you can tell me about guitar or violin construction. Nothing.


You wrote:

“Common table salt is not the best for calibrating our hygrometers”

which made it sound like you were somehow affiliated with the construction of that crappy hygrometer.

I read that the Caliber IV can only be adjusted by 6% and many of them were off by far more than that out of the box. Trust the Germans, buy from Abbeon, they care about quality. Quality costs more, of course.

A violin hygrometer is one of the little ones that fits in violin case. I threw mine away, it was junk.

I have to laugh at the thought of an award winning violin maker hand calibrating hygrometers. He doesn’t build hygrometers, does he?

Are you always so arrogant? I know a PhD organologist who is a specialist in guitar construction and he has told me a few things but I won’t waste my time telling you anything, after all, you already know everything.

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Let's get some facts right. Salt isn't the best for calibrating hygrometers because it's more suited to cigar humidors. It gives 75% RH. Potassium carbonate results in 43% RH, much nearer to the average RH conditions that musical instruments are constructed in.
David Burgess offers the pre calibrated hygrometers. A quick google will soon establish his considerable reputation in terms of being a violin maker. He doesn't offer the hygrometers because they are unsuitable. That would be somewhat silly given his reputation. I guess he knows that they are both reliable and accurate. Of course if you think that is poor advice you can always email him. I'm pretty sure he will set the record straight.
Not only that but there are methods to check the accuracy. The salt (Pot. carbonate) test is one. I also have a hair hygrometer and a sling psychrometer. I don't rely on the digital or the hair hygrometer because they are known to drift over time. That is why it is best to test any hygrometer irrespective of it's cost.

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Originally Posted by Michael P Walsh
Let's get some facts right. Salt isn't the best for calibrating hygrometers because it's more suited to cigar humidors. It gives 75% RH. Potassium carbonate results in 43% RH, much nearer to the average RH conditions that musical instruments are constructed in.
David Burgess offers the pre calibrated hygrometers. A quick google will soon establish his considerable reputation in terms of being a violin maker. He doesn't offer the hygrometers because they are unsuitable. That would be somewhat silly given his reputation. I guess he knows that they are both reliable and accurate. Of course if you think that is poor advice you can always email him. I'm pretty sure he will set the record straight.
Not only that but there are methods to check the accuracy. The salt (Pot. carbonate) test is one. I also have a hair hygrometer and a sling psychrometer. I don't rely on the digital or the hair hygrometer because they are known to drift over time. That is why it is best to test any hygrometer irrespective of it's cost.


Why in the world do I need to buy a hygrometer from an award winning violin maker when I can test and calibrate any hygrometer at home using readily available substances?

I guess I would tell the violin maker that violins are crudely made instruments compared to classical guitars but that would just make him mad, lol.

I don’t use case hygrometers, I monitor my room humidity, where my guitars live most of the time. I don’t leave them out of their cases all the time, however, I think that invites accidents. I haven’t had any cracks but I did get rid of the guitars built with Brazilian rosewood. I think the inherent vice of Brazilian rosewood is that it cracks. Indian rosewood is less prone to cracks and straighter grained. Oh, I use a Venta humidifier.

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You don't have to do or buy anything. You have your Abbeon. Those on the piano forum who want to buy a relatively cheap, calibrated hygrometer from someone who clearly knows what they are doing can do so. Alternately they can buy the caliber IV and check/calibrate it themselves using potassium carbonate. If they wish they can buy the Abbeon. Just don't tell me that the Burgess is not up to the job.

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