Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Deserted Ouds

A customer recently made a visit to Las Vegas, Nevada with his oud. He was concerned with humidity levels adversely affecting his oud. Typical levels during the summer months range in the 10%-30-% level. That's a potentially dangerous environment for any instrument, but especially so for ouds constructed around the 50% humidity level. So with some advise I received from oudist Mavrothis Kontanis (see link at right), I fit one of my Khalaf Oud soft cases with the Planet Waves Small Instrument Humidifier for this customer.

The small unit fits perfectly in the area of the case where the neck joins the pegbox, and attaches via a curved pin through the case lining. There are also a couple self-adhesive velcro tabs to hold the humidifier in place, although the pin works best in the soft case. I also recommend that a soft cloth be wrapped around the neck-pegbox area and held in place with a loose strap (I used a velcro tie-wrap designed for bundling wires) to protect the back of the neck and pegbox from scratches, although the humidifier is quite smooth and low-profile. The absorbent material in the humidifier is excellent. I filled it with two complete syringes (the humidifier comes with one to fill it) of water and it completely absorbed the water. There was no trace of water on the outside of the device, and even after shaking the device vigorously I could not detect and trace of leakage. In fact, I shook the humidifier while wrapped in a paper towel, and the towel remained bone dry. I'm really impressed with the product.

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