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How Temperature Changes Can Affect Your Instruments

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By Author: joseph white
Total Articles: 47
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As a musician, playing in extreme weather conditions can be rather challenging. Regardless of what musical instrument you are playing — heat, cold, rain, and even high humidity can all make you feel uncomfortable and impact your performance. You won’t play the same if the cold wind is whipping your face and your fingers are freezing, or conversely, if you can’t stop sweating or feel like you can’t breathe because of high humidity.

While bad for your performance, bad weather can also affect your musical instruments, affecting each instrument in unique ways.
While all musical instruments may face damage due to temperature and weather changes, string instruments, woodwind instruments, drums, and pianos will all react differently.Continue reading to discover helpful tips on how to prepare for seasonal changes and better protect your instruments.

String Instruments

In the case of string instruments like guitars, violins, and cellos, heat and cold can cause the strings to expand and contract. Simultaneously, these conditions can also cause the wood to warp or even crack, and the glue that holds the instrument together may start to dry and detach. In the best-case scenario, these will affect your sound quality, and in the worst-case scenario, the damage will be irreparable. To prevent this, string instruments should be stored in a weatherproof case in a temperature range between 72-77°F with humidity levels of around 45-55%.

Woodwind Instruments

Woodwind instruments like flutes, clarinets, oboes, and bassoons are subject to various forms of wear, such as shrinking, expanding, drying out, and cracking. While avoiding excessive temperature swings is vital, managing humidity is also essential. The recommended level of humidity your woodwind instruments should be exposed to is no more than 40-55%. As far as temperature levels go, try to avoid playing your instrument if it feels cold to the touch. Allow it to gradually warm up by holding it under your jacket for about half an hour before playing.

Brass Instruments

Brass instruments are less susceptible to damage from heat and humidity than other instruments, but there are still some tips to keep in mind. For instruments like trumpets, saxophones, tubas, and trombones, corrosion and bacteria growth are common in hot and humid environments. Therefore, you should make sure you always keep them clean, oiled and stored correctly in a weatherproof case when not in use. Avoid temperatures higher than 78℉ and humidity levels greater than 50%.

Drums

Drums can be a bit finicky as opposed to other instrument types. High levels of humidity can damage the wood in your drums and cause your drumheads to warp, while low levels of humidity can make them dry out and crack. Simultaneously, low temperatures can cause the wood to contract, making the drumheads tighter and resulting in a higher pitch. Try to keep the drums in a thermostable environment and avoid exposure to direct sunlight if possible.

Keys

As proper conditions produce better sound, how you take care of your instruments is vital to their performance. This type of musical instrument is also subject to the harmful effects of high temperature and humidity. In a piano, excess moisture and heat can cause the bushings to swell. As a result, the time between when you hit a key and when the hammer hits the string will increase, causing the keys to feel sluggish. To prevent this, ensure adequate ventilation and humidity levels of around 40-45% for prolonged performance.

Do’s and Don’ts

Although the recommended storage temperatures, humidity levels, and care process for each musical instrument may vary, there are some universal dos and don’ts to abide by when it comes to protecting your musical instruments.

● DO store your musical instrument in a protective weatherproof case when not in use. Always make sure the case is secured and closed correctly.
● DON’T expose your instruments to extreme temperature changes.
● DON’T expose them to extreme humidity, as this will be detrimental to its performance.
● DO regulate the temperature where your instruments are stored.
● DO invest in a hygrometer, as well as a humidifier or dehumidifier, if needed. The first will help you measure the humidity level in the air, while the latter will help you manage and adjust it.


Get Full Instrument Protection

Sometimes, doing your best to protect your musical instrument during the seasonal changes may not be enough. Therefore, getting full protection with a specialized musical instrument insurance policy is something you should consider.At Clarion Associates, we create customizable musical instrument insurance policies to meet your needs. We offer worldwide coverage, as well as an array of other benefits you won’t find anywhere else. Contact us for a quote today and see for yourself why we are trusted by thousands of musicians and musical instrument owners the world over.

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