Q&A: Hot, dry weather = Bad for stringed instruments?

Question by alejandro.devincenzi: Hot, dry weather = Bad for stringed instruments?
Well I live in San Diego and we’ve been getting a lot of hot dry weather like we usually do but it just gets hotter every year (literally). I’ve just bought a beautiful Violin for 00 with a sound and tone worthy of a 00 instrument (both in my opinion and the opinion of my friends and teachers), and a pretty good bow for about 0. I’d like to think that when I buy new instruments, im making an investment both financially and for the happiness of my musician life, what are some good steps to keep my Violin safe from extreme fluctuations and temperatures of weather? Especially dryness, I go to a summer music camp for orchestral musicians up in the mountains and next year will be the first with my new Violin and it is EXTREMELY dry up there, what are some good steps to ensure the well being of my Violin and bow? How can I maintain the great tone and sound that it still has now thats its new, for the longest time possible? Also, what are some good techniques to keep my wonderful strings in good-as-new condition? all answers are extremely appreciated :D

Best answer:

Answer by Kab
Wipe your strings free of rosin after playing. Wipe the entire instrument with a violin cleaning cloth.
wipe the rosin off the bow stick after playing.
Learn to rosin you bow so that you have enough for a good sound, but not enough to create a cloud, when the stick is slapped across your palm.
Strings will have to be replaced every 12 – 24 months.
Go to the violin shop for the cloth and cleaners.
Get a hydrometer from the shop and have them explain how to use it, or buy a case with one built in.
Keep your violin in the case, when not in use.

What do you think? Answer below!

2 Responses to “Q&A: Hot, dry weather = Bad for stringed instruments?”

  • gwen r says:

    I’ve always heard that dry is better than humid. Humidity warps wood at any temperature.

    The heat is bad and the temperature fluctuations are worse. A good case is a basic. You want good insulation in the case. I do hope you aren’t using those lightweight foam jobs. After that, I pay attention to where I put it. Shade is a wonderful thing and I put them in the most temperature moderate place I can find.

  • Bob T says:

    I’m a pianist, so don’t know much about how to keep a violin protected.
    It’s not so much the heat–if a human can handle it, so can the instrument, as it is the humidity or lack of it.
    Too much, the wood swells, the strings go out of tune and the body of the instrument’s crown is changed, which changes the tone.
    Too little and the wood shrinks, strings go flat, joints get loose, pegs fall out, wood cracks.
    I think violinist carry something in the case to keep the moisture from getting too high (silica gel)–and maybe, but I doubt it, from getting too low.
    Don’t overstress the instrument.
    If the wood was well-curred it should be able to handle dry conditions. What you have to worry about the most is too much humidity.
    With a violin, you just have to expect the wood body to react and you have to tune it–even during a recital.
    The heat from your hands as well as the stage lights can cause a need for a retune–if the wood is sensitive enough.
    I think your strings should be fine.
    The bow will have problems, just tighten loosen as humidity dictates the tension and only use the tension needed for what you are playing.
    Again, during performance this may have to be changed. Do what you need to do, during a break to fix things.
    Don’t worry about it. And enjoy the music.
    (I live at 5,000 ft btw.) My piano comes from the sea coast off Finland. It’s a $50K instrument. I try to keep the humidity in the house between 40-50%. When it gets dry in the summer, I run a humidifier to boost the humidity from 20% to 37%(that’s as high as I could get it). But when seasoning the wood they take it down to something like 14%.
    So don’t fiddle around with worry, keep things tight, and then loose, and you’ll be okay, and love the mountains.

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