by Claire Givens
Survive the cold: 5 winter care tips for protecting your string instrument
Winter brings a drastic decrease in humidity in the northern states, requiring extra winter care for our instruments. Splits along the grain, as well as open bouts are common damage seen during the winter months.
There are many ways to protect your instrument and prevent costly repairs:
- Keep your instrument in a closed case. Your case is the first line of defense and the best way to maintain a consistent climate. Therefore, purchasing a high-quality, hard case with a hygrometer/thermometer is important. Learn more here.
- Humidify. Case humidifiers are an inexpensive way to keep a normal level of humidity in the case (35-50%). Consider acquiring the Boveda Kit which is the easiest humidification system to use. Additionally, keep a room humidifier in your practice studio or space where you usually store your instrument. You will want to minimize exposure to sudden changes in climate. This will also ensure a safe environment when your instrument is out of the case.
- Purchase a silk bag. A silk instrument bag will help to lock-in humidity around your instrument, keeping it stable.
- If your case with instrument & bow is cold. Plan on being at your performance or rehearsal venue far in advance to allow time for your instrument to warm up to room temperature and adjust to the new climate. Your instrument will likely go out of tune several times before it adapts and becomes stable. If your instrument/bow has been shipped, allow the box to come to room temperature before opening and don’t play your instrument /bow if it is cold to the touch.
- Avoid heat sources. Don’t set your case down beside any radiators or space heaters. The effects of direct heat on your instrument can be disastrous.
Send us a message if we can help any further.
Best wishes and happy playing.