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PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:16 pm 
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So yesterday, I finally picked up a loaner chanter and a beginning "orientation session" type of lesson. It was great. We went over bellowsing, bagsing, and playing a scale. Then we talked about humidity.

So I went out and got a humidifier. It's been going since yesterday evening at full blast. And right now, the RH in my instrument room is a whopping 25%. I understand it's a bad idea to push dry air through a reed that is used to more (this one is probably used to about 40%, I imagine.)

Does anyone have any reasonable tips for getting the ambient humidity near a reasonable level, or am I better off waiting for Spring and reasonable conditions before getting started?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:50 pm 
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Can you close off the room? Otherwise, you are trying to humidify the whole house.

When I used to play in a room that couldn't be closed off from the rest of the house, I would put the humidifier close by me on the floor, and point the output nozzle directly at the bellows intake. It was not very satisfactory, but better than nothing - still had to adjust my chanter reed more than I wanted to/should have.

So, I moved my playing into a room that can be completely closed, and bought a better humidifier. The room is about 13'x13', and I have the humidifier up pretty high in one corner. It only takes a few minutes to bring the room up from 30% to 50% humidity. All I have to do is turn it on just before I start strapping on, and all my reeds are much happier and never need adjusting (until I travel to the mountain west of the U.S.).

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 4:01 pm 
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An Draighean wrote:
Can you close off the room? Otherwise, you are trying to humidify the whole house.

When I used to play in a room that couldn't be closed off from the rest of the house, I would put the humidifier close by me on the floor, and point the output nozzle directly at the bellows intake. It was not very satisfactory, but better than nothing - still had to adjust my chanter reed more than I wanted to/should have.

So, I moved my playing into a room that can be completely closed, and bought a better humidifier. The room is about 13'x13', and I have the humidifier up pretty high in one corner. It only takes a few minutes to bring the room up from 30% to 50% humidity. All I have to do is turn it on just before I start strapping on, and all my reeds are much happier and never need adjusting (until I travel to the mountain west of the U.S.).


This may be the best solution through the end of winter. Up here, that means mid-May :/

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:34 am 
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I have recently been experimenting with this sort of thing. I've been leaving a wet paper towel in a little Tupperware bowl in my case with the pipes and that keeps them at about 30-40%. While I play I put a wet strip of paper towel in the connector hose so the air is always picking up some moisture and it seems to work.

I've heard of others putting damp sponges in the bellows (though I think that might damage the wood and leather) or even turning on the shower and pumping some steam through the bag and bellows to get the inside moist (though not with the chanter of course).

Otherwise, the humidifier option seems to be popular, though it never seemed to work for me.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:08 am 
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The best solution is to invest in a humidifier and turn it on a few minutes before you start piping.

My own experience, for what it's worth, is that it is not necessarily low or high humidity (or temperature) that will damage reeds, but rather the change from one to the other. If the change is too sudden (from dry to humid or cold to warm) the shock might be fatal to the reed, or at least, it will not help the reed in the long term.

Another point to note, particularly for those of us in North America (I'm in Quebec): there is a 2 or 3 week transition phase in April when reeds are adjusting to the warmer, more humid weather. In the past, I've ruined reeds by adjusting them too much during this transition phase. I've learned that it's best to let the reed adjust on its own. This might mean my pipes are a little less bright for a few weeks, but it helps preserve the reeds - I've been playing the same chanter reed since 2009.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:05 pm 
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I also play double bass and my main bass is about 80 years old and temperamental about humidity, so I'm somewhat obsessive about it. I keep all my instruments in a small room (about 8'x10') with the door closed and a large (4 gallon) Kenmore evaporative humidifier. It keeps everything around 45-50% easily and I usually only need to fill it once or twice a week. My teacher used a large Essick humidifier that also worked well for him. The key is to keep the door closed and keep everything relatively consistent. I would recommend using a bacteriostat if you have an evaporative humidifier or a de-minieralization cartridge if you ever notice white dust with an ultrasonic one.

I find that as long as I keep my music room humidified, the pipes don't mind going to a gig or a session for a couple of hours that's a little on the dry side. When traveling or playing a gig in the winter where I really need the pipes to be cooperative, I use some closed cell foam cello case humidifiers in my case and have used a small ultrasonic humidifier with the nozzle pointed at my bellows during the show. It helps get me through the gig without having to do too much adjustment (and the audience often thinks the mist is a part of the act . . .)


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:35 pm 
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Newbie here, to the forum and the UPs (GHB piper of many decades though).

Here's a trick: I have a humidifier in my piping room that has a "humidistat" on it, i.e., I set the "humidistat" to 40% and it kicks on and runs till it measures 40% humidity in the room. As long as I keep the fairly large water tanks from going dry (every few days they need to be refilled), the room stays around 40% or greater. I just don't need to worry about it.

You can get humidifiers with these humidistats on them for less than $100 new.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:30 pm 
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CorneliusG wrote:
Newbie here, to the forum and the UPs (GHB piper of many decades though).

Here's a trick: I have a humidifier in my piping room that has a "humidistat" on it, i.e., I set the "humidistat" to 40% and it kicks on and runs till it measures 40% humidity in the room. As long as I keep the fairly large water tanks from going dry (every few days they need to be refilled), the room stays around 40% or greater. I just don't need to worry about it.

You can get humidifiers with these humidistats on them for less than $100 new.


That's pretty much what I ended up doing. We might have one more month of needing it. Then, it's *dehumidifier* season. :/

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