How to Care For Your Instrument In The Cold

As musicians, one of our biggest necessities is to ensure our instrument is fit for battle, and by battle, we mean the performing arena. There’s nothing worse than preparing to perform, to be met with a stuck valve, or cracked body, maybe even some whistling sounds from an instrument that definitely should not be whistling. Well, extreme weather conditions can account for these faults, especially if we aren’t protecting our instruments from them. There are numerous effects the cold can have, but there are also ways to protect against them. So, we’ve searched the depths of the internet to find out the top tips you need to know to keep your instrument safe.



Issues To Watch Out For Include:

  • Your instrument being more commonly out of tune
  • Pegs on stringed instruments becoming lose when the wood shrinks
  • Seam separations appearing between wooden parts
  • Warping and cracking of the instrument body
  • Frozen valves

    Tips To Protect Your Instrument

    • A well-insulated case, insulated cover & silk covers prevent moisture loss
    • Do not leave your case by drafty doors, windows or cold basements or next to heaters and hot objects
    • Do NOT leave in a vehicle overnight (both due to cold temperatures and theft)
    • When driving, warm your vehicle before putting your instrument in, and if it fits keep it in the main part of the car with you rather than a cold boot
    • When an instrument has been in the cold allow to warm up before playing
    • It's recommended to use a case humidifier
    • Reed case with humidifying control system can increase the reed lifespan
    • You can use a room humidifier to take care of your room when practicing
    • Synthetic valve oil & lubricant do not evaporate like petroleum-based oils and therefore protect valves for longer
    • Have your instrument professionally serviced when the seasons change or at least once a year

    A common note is that it’s the wooden instruments that tend to be the most affected by the change in weather, this is because wood absorbs and releases moisture to maintain a humidity balance, therefore known as a hygroscopic material. When moving the instruments between locations the wood can expand or contract depending on humidity. In cold temperatures, there is minimal space to hold water so heat dictates how much moisture can be held. Note however that instruments tend to be made up of a combination of different woods with differing absorption properties; the direction of the grain in a wood also affect this. The larger the instrument the larger the effect and the more noticeable the change. Instruments, however, are designed to prevent this, through glues and covers, therefore the tell-tale signs for this would be any seam separations between wooden parts.
    We offer a repairs service for guitars, our qualified team member has been tasked with numerous repairs and works hard to deliver the outcome you desire. Think it's time to have your guitar checked, or is something broken? Any queries at all contact us by calling 020 8896 1200 or have a look here.
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