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Old 05-07-2016, 12:26   #1
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Guitar on Board

Any suggestions for a guitar on board a sailboat? Environmental conditions range from really damp to really dry, temperatures all over the place.

I have a nice Taylor that would probably be a pretzel if brought on board.

Carbon fiber?
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Old 05-07-2016, 13:08   #2
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Re: Guitar on Board

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Originally Posted by redsky49 View Post
Any suggestions for a guitar on board a sailboat? Environmental conditions range from really damp to really dry, temperatures all over the place.

I have a nice Taylor that would probably be a pretzel if brought on board.

Carbon fiber?
Carbon Fiber is probably your best bet. If your Taylor is a 300 series or higher, then there are no laminated pieces. I was talking to a guy in St. Thomas after his set who was using a carbon fiber accoustic. He said the humidity was hell on his guitars and the carbon fiber was his best option.

I took my GS mini out for an 18 day trip last year and the humidity was tough on the action.
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Old 05-07-2016, 13:23   #3
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Re: Guitar on Board

Been threads on this before. My wood acoustic (Morgan 6 string) is on board whenever we're cruising. It stays in a hard shell case in the shade when I'm not playing it, no problems.
You will learn to love coated strings though.

One of the things that has been discussed before is that quick changes of environment are probably worse than any particular constant environment. We've been in air conditioning for a couple of months so I will soon start getting the guitar used to higher temps and humidity, playing it out on the porch, storing it in its case in warmer area until we take off.
In Florida it's more important to keep it humidified in the ac than worrying about too much humidity on the boat. I keep a humidifier in the sound hole a lot of the time when in the house.
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Old 05-07-2016, 13:23   #4
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Re: Guitar on Board

Yes the humidity and temps could be rough on a good guitar. I have friends that carried an Ovation which I think had a fiberglass body but spruce top for the sound.

I knew a guy that sold antique and collector guitars that sold an all mahogany Martin to Jimmy Buffet for a boat guitar. Supposedly the mahogany is less moisture sensitive.
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Old 05-07-2016, 13:34   #5
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Re: Guitar on Board

I would leave the Taylor at home. I took my old Ovation with the plastic back. it worked out well. I sold it down island just before I came back as they are hard to get down there. They are reasonable and might be a good option.
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Old 05-07-2016, 13:35   #6
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Re: Guitar on Board

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Been threads on this before.
Yes, do a simple search on guitar and read for a loong time. There was one recently that had answers all over the place. Good luck, happy strummin' & pickin'.
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Old 05-07-2016, 13:45   #7
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Re: Guitar on Board

Don't over think it. World renowned orchestras go on tour to various climates and altitudes around the world. Many instruments are 500 years old and worth millions of dollars each. Plenty of orchestras are at sea level and on the coast. If it is really a concern buy a cheaper guitar and replace it every five years. This will probably be your cheapest boat expense. lol.
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Old 05-07-2016, 13:51   #8
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Re: Guitar on Board

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Don't over think it. World renowned orchestras go on tour to various climates and altitudes around the world. Many instruments are 500 years old and worth millions of dollars each. If it is really a concern buy a cheaper guitar and replace it every five years. This will probably be your cheapest boat expense. lol.

For those that travel and spend extended periods in very wet or very dry climates have luthiers set-up their instruments. Those centuries old instruments are not every day players and are stored in temperature and humidity controlled environments.
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Old 05-07-2016, 14:50   #9
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Re: Guitar on Board

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For those that travel and spend extended periods in very wet or very dry climates have luthiers set-up their instruments. Those centuries old instruments are not every day players and are stored in temperature and humidity controlled environments.
These highly trained musicians play on the same instrument till they retire. You don't go on tour on an unfamiliar instrument. These musicians even take the instruments home.

Stradivarius Found 3 Days After Theft, Police Say - latimes
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Old 05-07-2016, 15:35   #10
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Re: Guitar on Board

Jim bought himself a Martin (all traditional timbers) back in the mid-sixties. It has lived on our boats since 1983. It has suffered no damage from the environment as far as I know*, though he moved to gold plated strings a while back. It went to the Sea of Cortez, and then through various places in French Polynesia, mainly tropical and subtropical, including the Solomons, more nearly equatorial. The Sollies were the hottest and humidest, and Tasmania, the coldest, with snow on the surrounding hills, but not below freezing. imho, bring your instrument, you'll miss it if you don't.

* he did have the bridge off it, about 20 yrs. ago, covered under guarantee.

Finally, a friend who kept her violin with her, had it re-glued every year, I guess they're a lot more fragile.

Incidentally, a friend who played for the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra always brought her violin home, took it on tour, etc. Don't know about it's maintenance, though.

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Old 05-07-2016, 18:45   #11
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Re: Guitar on Board

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These highly trained musicians play on the same instrument till they retire. You don't go on tour on an unfamiliar instrument. These musicians even take the instruments home.

Stradivarius Found 3 Days After Theft, Police Say - latimes
My understanding is that the instrument cases frequently (even for "decent" nonprofessional instruments) contain humidifiers and hygrometers.
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Old 05-07-2016, 19:36   #12
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Re: Guitar on Board

I have a plain vanilla Spanish classic guitar. Keep it in a hard case with some silica beads in small bags. Never any issues due to environ factors. I think the hard case helps.

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Old 06-07-2016, 10:06   #13
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Re: Guitar on Board

When I was living ashore, I always used a gadget inside the case that would add a little moisture during the winter heating season. It went inside the sound hole, and every few days you would recharge it (moisten it) and stick it back in.

Here in a marina, the indoor conditions can stay relatively consistent. I have though noted though that the interior wood in my boat has dried out considerably, showing gaps at joints in the cabinetry that previously were tight. This a result of running the air conditioner continuously.

But away from the marina, at anchor, every day can be different. It seems to be more of a challenge. I wonder if a tight-fitting plastic or fiberglass (essentially air-tight) case would be a good solution?

These guys - Emerald Guitars in Ireland - also look interesting, though I can't see myself buying another guitar:

Homepage

Appreciate all the comments.
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:40   #14
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Guitar on Board

Our guitar, which has indian rosewood sides and back has been great and has not shown any signs of warping or distortion, after over two years, between dry and humid countries. Im a collector of vintage and rare guitars and don't believe all guitars will behave the same. My advise is if you can, purchase a guitar from a humid location where the guitar has 'adapted/ climatised'. Strings, whatever brand, dont last as long as at home so bring a few sets with you and that seems to be a factor of the moisture in your fingers which is more prevalent in humid countries.
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:18   #15
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Re: Guitar on Board

It's always hard to tell what will happen. I know many of my guitar playing acquaintances back east, talk about "fret sprout" every year on their guitars due to climate. I don't see it out west here.
I have a 1937 Martin that was built without a truss rod in the neck. It's over 75 years old and still straight as an arrow. The wood for those old guitars was carefully selected and aged properly a long time. Not so today.
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