Guitars and Singapore’s Climate


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Most Singaporeans will describe the local climate as wet and humid in general. However, we are not conscious of the figures that are relevant to the well being of our guitars. A quick check at the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) website (, one can obtain weather statistics of 75 years. It wasn’t in my expectation that the lowest temperature recorded was at 19.4°C. Lots of surprises I must say.

In the case of guitars, we are concerned with temperature and relative humidity (RH). Since there is abundance in temperature and RH data, some filtering is required. In this article, I will employ the mean data to generate an awareness of the levels of moisture our guitars are exposed to most of the time. After filtering the unwanted data, the presented information in the table below should be relevant in predicting local guitars’ conditions in relation to Wood Moisture Content (WMC) or Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC).

For every measure of temperature, we can obtain its corresponding RH level too. By these two measurements, we can obtain the respective EMC of any given woods. I achieved through a website that allows user to input temperature and RH data to obtain the EMC level. The link is:

At this point, some readers may be confused by terms like WMC, EMC, etc. You can read about them in greater detail at my blogsite; there is a page dedicated to guitar care. Here is the link:

Here is the mentioned table. The temperature and RH data of any particular month is a result of 75 years of accumulation of data. E.g. the temperature data of Jan means over 75 years of records, this is the mean of the 24hr mean, i.e. 25.9°C. The corresponding RH was also captured in NEA’s website. With the pair of matching data, it was possible to work out the mean EMC for each month.

What does it mean to our guitars? To put it simply, most guitars in Singapore are carrying elevated moisture content within them. Unless you have possessed a containment that is fully climatic controlled to 40 to 50% RH and 25 to 28°C. While it is doable it is not easily accessible to the masses. For those who don’t possess a climatic controlled facility, there is no hiding from RH. Chances are the moment our guitars left their factories and flew to Singapore; they will probably never experience an EMC of 8.5% within them anymore. This accounts for the changes to their physical dimensions, which commonly known as swelling top plate locally. Base on the data in the above table, your guitars might be carrying an EMC level close to those figures if left not dehumidified.

In subsequent parts (at my blogsite), I will attempt to establish certain benchmark WMC levels for Singapore guitars. These benchmarks should help us to determine the well being of our guitars, like “just right” or “elevated moisture.” Another interesting question might be the effects of dehumidifying; “How much moisture can be extracted from regular dehumidification?”