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How To Properly Store Musical Instruments

30 May 2016
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Properly Store Musical Instruments

Properly storing musical instruments is important, not only because most high quality instruments come with a high price tag to match, but because they are incredibly delicate and the purity of the sound depends primarily on how you store and take care of them when they are not being played. Below are some tips for storing a variety of musical instruments.

Guitars

You cannot leave a guitar on the rack for months and then pick it up expecting it to sound amazing. Guitars should be stored in cases or gig bags in order to avoid dust and other airborne contaminants clogging up the instrument’s vitals. A solid case or gig bag will also help protect a guitar against any structural damage that might occur during transportation, or if it receives an accidental knock. Even if your guitar is securely stored in a case for months, it is a good idea to check on it periodically to make sure that no weather related damage has occurred.

Saxophones

After playing a saxophone, the horns should be put away in their cases and the mouthpiece and reeds thoroughly disinfected and dried out before being stored. It is paramount that the horns be stored in their cases. You will notice a marked difference in appearance over the long term between horns that are kept encased and those that are left out.

Violins

One of the most important violin storage tips is to loosen the strings, both on the bow and the violin itself, while they are in storage. The violin strings should be loosened about an octave (not so much that the sound post falls out) and the bowstrings as well so that the bow does not warp or break. Leaving violin strings fully tightened while in storage can result in the tail block seams spreading, pulling the tail piece forward and warping the wood on the sides, distorting the sound.

Trombones

Responsibly storing a trombone means disassembling it. Trombones are bulky and leaving the entire thing, or parts of it, fully assembled during storage can lead to permanent damage. A good trombone storage case will have an insert for every single piece of the instrument. Leaving loose parts inside the case, even something as harmless as the mouthpiece, can lead to structural and aesthetic damage elsewhere on the instrument if the loose piece moves around while in storage.

Pianos

There is a checklist that should be followed whenever you are storing a piano. The piano should first be thoroughly cleaned and polished. Cover the keys with a cloth and close the lid to keep the dust out and put blankets over the piano to protect it from dust and the elements. An additional protective cover should be placed over the blankets for added security, especially if you are going to be moving the piano into storage.

People who are serious about musical instruments understand that, in addition to protecting the monetary value of the instruments, certain storage protocol is necessary to ensure consistent sound quality during the course of the instrument’s life. Little things like covering a piano’s keys and loosening the strings on a violin go a long way in both prolonging life and protecting sound quality. Follow the above advice when storing your musical instruments and be sure that you are protecting both your investment and your passion.

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