Suggestions to protect the violin from cracking or getting damaged due to the cold climate of winter?
How do I protect my violin from winter climate? I came from the Phils going to Melbourne,Australia by July.Thxtheater seating
A stringed instrument should always be kept in a moderate environment of about 60鈥?0掳F with 50 percent humidity. A few of us are fortunate enough to live in a region with these constant conditions, but most of us do not. In much of the United States, winters are very cold鈥攚ith heated homes driving the humidity down to 10 or 15 percent鈥攁nd the summers are often hot and humid. If you live in the American Southwest, where it's hot and dry a good deal of the time, you need to take extra measures to stabilize the conditions inside the instrument case. In addition to physical damage, stringed instruments suffer tonally from humidity changes. A dry climate will often cause the tone to become hard, edgy, and dry. Conversely, excess humidity causes instruments to sound dull, thick, and unresponsive.
So how do you maintain the correct temperature and humidity around your instrument? The two basic approaches to consider are managing the humidity within the instrument itself and addressing the climate in the instrument's storage area, that is, in the case. There are many commercial products avail-able, and some home-grown solutions, that take one or the other approach. Here are a few options:
Some players prefer to use a humidifier that goes in the instrument rather than in the case; others decry this practice, fearing that it could expose the wood to direct contact with water. The best-known product of this type is the Dampit, sold in many stores. Models for violin range from $7.50 to $10 each. (Similar products include the Humitron, distributed by RDM Enterprises.) The concept is simple: The Dampit is a flexible, perforated green tube with a sponge inside it. After moistening the sponge, you insert the Dampit into one of the f-holes and leave it in the instrument when you're not playing it. When the sponge inside the Dampit dries out, you simply remoisten it. The drier the climate, the more frequently you need to check the moisture level (in very dry conditions, two Dampits may be needed鈥攐ne in each f-hole).
However, violin makers and dealers鈥攁nd players鈥攁re split in their acceptance of this type of product. Some say you need to check the Dampit diligently in very dry climates to make sure it is consistently moist. And some claim that the Dampit itself can damage an instrument by introducing too much moisture into the instrument's environment. Despite the differing opinions between makers and dealers, most musicians accept this product due to its simplicity.
In the Case
If you want to control the climate in the case, you have several ways to go. A good place to start is to look for a padded case cover, much like the ones made by Bobelock ( 862-3468) and Mooradian (www.mooradian.com). (Note that Mooradian also manufactures covers that other companies sell under their own labels.) These bags offer insulation to protect against both hot and cold weather. And there are other alternatives, though there's no consensus on their value.
You might also consider adding a hygrometer and a humidifier to your case, or buying a case that's equipped with these accessories. A hygrometer measures the level of humidity, while a humidifier can correct dryness. An in-case humidifier often comes in the form of a small tube filled with water-saturated material that releases moisture at a controlled rate.
Many violin and viola cases include a built-in hygrometer and a vaporizer bottle. I find that the little vaporizer bottles don't provide enough humidity in very dry conditions, but they do work in more moderate situations. In its more expensive cases, Musafia (www.musafianorthamerica.com) includes a humidifier that looks like a short string tube. It is perforated and filled with a sponge, and mounted inside the lid of the case鈥揳 rather clever idea. San Francisco Symphony assistant concertmaster Jeremy Constant reportedly purchased a Musafia case partly for its humidifier. "When you're touring in the winter, it's a godsend," he explains, "because everything is so horrifically dry. [Sponge-like humidifiers] are a losing effort unless you are willing to have one in each f-hole."
For the do-it-yourselfer, Radio Shack sells a small combination digital thermometer and hygrometer that you can keep in your case. It costs about $25. For a home-made humidifier, some musicians I know use a plastic 35mm-film canister, perforated with several holes and with a sponge inside (moistened as needed). This is mounted inside the case with Velcro. One musician I know uses a travel soap container, also perforated and with a sponge inside.
A more elaborate and reportedly efficient in-case approach is the Stretto system, distributed by Shar Products (www.sharmusic.com). It includes a hygrometer and thermometer to monitor the climate, and several perforated pouches that you moisten as needed to maintain the appropriate humidity level. The system costs about $79, the humidifier alone costs $44.
PLAY IT SAFE
Even if you use one of the humidification systems mentioned in this article, you should take additional steps to protect your violin, viola, cello, or double bass. I strongly recommend the following:
Avoid extremes in temperature or humidity.
Never leave your instrument in a closed car. Besides the possibility of theft, on a hot, sunny day the temperature in the passenger compartment can quickly rise to 120掳F or more.
Never put your instrument in the trunk of your car, especially when it is hot or cold.
Don't store your instrument near a heater or air conditioner.
Unless your home is well insulated, don't store your instrument near an outside wall.
How do I protect my violin from winter climate? I came from the Phils going to Melbourne,Australia by July.Thxlyric opera opera theater
well...I live in Texas...where it can get really hot and can also hurt my violin...but I just always make sure to keep it at a mild temperated area. I would put extra cloths on it just in case and also just try to keep it anywhere with some sort of warmth...good luck!
I live where it gets really cold, and my violin doesn't usually do anything, just go out of tune a lot...get one of those humidity things and put on a humidifer if it gets too dry