Thursday, November 15, 2007

Review: Oasis Guitar Humidifiers

Here in Santa Fe we live in the high desert. The altitude is about 7,000 feet and the humidity is generally around 20 percent. If you own an acoustic guitar you'll find it a challenge to keep it sufficiently humidified so as to prevent it from cracking. Guitar builders advise keeping your acoustic guitar in an environment of about 45 percent humidity.

The other day I observed that my 1963 Gibson LG1, an old friend, was showing a hairline crack opening up along the seam in the top of the guitar. I had been using a popular soundhole humidifier, but it failed to do the job. This motivated me to search the internet in a quest for an effective guitar humidifier.

My efforts paid off and I found the website for Oasis Guitar Humidifiers. The website features a new kind of guitar humidifier developed by guitarist Dave Hepple. I read the material on his Oasis website and also Googled the products. I found some satisfied owners recommending Oasis humidifiers in some of the guitar discussion groups on the internet. So I placed an order.

I had a question regarding my order so I called and spoke with Dave. I'm glad that I did because I learned something valuable. In addition to the standard and Plus+ (for dry climates) humidifier, he also makes a Re-Hydrator for professional use. It is for restoring badly dehydrated guitars... just the thing for my Gibson. Dave kindly included one in my order along with the Plus+ humidifiers that I purchased.

I first used the Re-Hydrator to restore the moisture in my Gibson. It took about a week and I had to replenish the moisture in the Re-Hydrator several times during that week. The crack disappeared and the top of the guitar now shows that slight arch or "belly" which is the sign of a healthy acoustic guitar. After restoring the guitar I switched to the Oasis Plus+ humidifier and it is doing an excellent job of maintaining the humidity level in the guitar.

I won't attempt to detail the technology of the Oasis guitar humidifiers here because Dave does a splendid job of that on his website. If you read his info and instructions you will have no problems. The humidifiers are safe to use with any guitar and doubly safeguarded against leakage. They utilize a special membrane which allows water vapor to pass through in such a way that the humidifier shrinks as it dries out. A quick glance will tell you when it needs to be refilled.

I highly recommend the Oasis Guitar humidifiers and also recommend the Oasis Hygrometer which is a miniature humidity gauge that fits nicely inside your guitar case. It's easy to read and accurate. If you are interested in learning more about guitar care and humidification I recommend the excellent instructional videos available free on the Taylor Guitar website.

It's a pleasure to find a product that is so well conceived and constructed with such integrity. I've used every guitar humidifier
on the market today and the Oasis Guitar humidifiers are by far the easiest to use and most effective available.