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  • bozobreak 4:40AM

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Problems with the sound of my Altamira

in Welcome Posts: 8
Hi guys,

Perhaps a weird question but I am having trouble with my Altamira MO1-D that I am normally very fond of. I don't know if anyone can help me but here goes:

Lately my guitar has started to sound a bit 'dead' - like it is not singing the way it normally does. It started out with being only the notes c and b especially on the bass string but after spending some time in a cottage in the countryside the entire fretboard seems dead. The tone is really bad. I don't know whats happened but perhaps the higher humidity in the summer months in Northern Europe may explain the problem. I haven't seen a significant change in string height though. It has been set up by a luthier who altered the bridge and set it to 3 mm at the Bass E 12th fret with string gauges 11's but I am wondering whether it would improve the tone to buy a new and lower bridge untill the drier winter months are once again arriving. Have any of you had a similar problem?

I have tried to change the string gauges to 10's but it only worsened the tone. One final question if I change the bridge how do I know which size to buy? I am very confused by the different sizes.

I really hope someone can help me!


  • John418John418
    Posts: 10
    Sounds like you might need a slight truss rod loosening. I'd loosen it 1/8 to 1/4 of one turn.

    Some people think that truss rod adjustments should be done only as a last resort. Others think it is the best adjustment to do first. I have found that a *small* adjustment helps restore tone and playability immensely when dealing with humidity changes. People have pretty strong opinions on this.
  • canvascanvas GermanyNew Jürgen Volkert, Geronimo Mateos Audrey
    Posts: 19
    I know your problem. I live in Germany near Cologne. Here it rains very often. And from time to time my guitares are sounding quite dead. But in every case the problem resolves without any modifications.
  • NejcNejc Slovenia✭✭ Altamira M01
    Posts: 98
    I think that the best thing is just to wait and see what happens.. wait for the humidity to go down, wait a couple of days and then if the guitar still sounds dead take it to a good guitar tech.
  • AlbO99AlbO99
    edited September 2015 Posts: 8
    thanks for all your comments! The problem though is just that I need it to play good now, haha, as I need it for a gig. And no real good acoustic guitar techs in the area.
  • pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
    Posts: 936

    Sounds like a humidity issue..

    Most Selmac issues are Dryness related however MONITOR and Stay around 50% relative Humidity

    I recommend you get ...

    The AcuRite 00613A1 Indoor Humidity Monitor is what I use.
    can be gotten from Amazon, last one I got was from Lowes in the Garden Center with the weather instruments. There about $10.00.

    Not sure about where to find in Europe

    If your cottage has relatively high Humidity, same as Corpus Christi Tx. You may keep an eye out for a DeHumidifier. I keep mine set at 50% and dump the collected water as needed.

    Might see if you can get...

    Boveda 2-Way Humidity Control for Guitars, 49% ( maintains 49% Humidty )

    Please excuse U S LINKS

  • AlbO99AlbO99
    Posts: 8
    thanks pickitjohn - a great response. I have returned from the cottage and it seems the playability and tone is improving. I think I will invest in a demidifier nonetheless as it will give me more control especially during the hot, wet summers.
  • anthon_74anthon_74 Marin county, CA✭✭✭✭ Alta Mira M 01
    Posts: 561
    Hey man . I have an alta mira as well, and I had the same problem a few years ago. What I discovered is that the wood had shifted slightly and my action lowered on it's own. Try getting your hands on a few ultra thin "shims" of wood, and put them underneath your bridge.

  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    edited September 2015 Posts: 1,252
    Guitars hate significant changes in humidity in either direction as the guys have said. I live in Oregon where we have the same problem you do. I just keep them in cases during the really rainy months - that helps a lot. There are great de-humidification products, and I run two room-dehumidifiers much of the year, but my case de-humidification solution is very low-tech. I just keep a couple of desiccant packs in the case when the humidity hits the "ridiculous" stage. I don't know how difficult or easy they are to get, because I get them in the box packing-material when I order tools, tuners, tailpieces, pickups, cases & etc. so I can usually find a few when I need them.

    Several years ago I took a guitar on vacation to Kaui and put it out on the covered front porch of the log cabin that we rented... overnight... in an area that is considered a "rainforest". (lol) I don't recommend that you ever do this or anything remotely like it. I only abuse guitar prototypes - and I only do so because I need to know when & how guitars break so I can try to make them more durable without overbuilding them. Anyway... next morning it was covered with dew and the action was about 1mm higher than normal. It sounded dead and played... oddly... springy. It recovered its tone and action as it dried out, but it absolutely hated the drastic humidity change. My recommendation is to get it back into a healthy humidity range ASAP and keep it in a case between gigs till your weather returns to normal. Adjusting it to play well in extreme humidity won't solve the 'deadness' part of the problem, and it will require re-adjustment when you get it back to a healthy humidity. When in doubt, case it.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • AlbO99AlbO99
    Posts: 8
    @anthon_74 thanks for your post but as I haven't seen a real change in string height - only that it has been raising very little as is normal in more humid conditions I don't think a further raising will solve the problem. I was more wondering whether to lower the string action by adjusting or buying a new bridge, but after seeing the posts on the forum I am prob gonna wait and see before I do anything :)

    @Bob Holo - I really appreciate your long and very informative post. I will follow your advices and get it back into a healthy humidity. Thanks again
  • AlbO99AlbO99
    Posts: 8
    As some of you have already mentioned some in case remedies such as desiccant packs or Boveda one would be good. But I have trouble finding these in my area. What about the PlanetWaves Humidifier thing? Have anyone had any success with that one?
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