Think of a very hot summer day in New York City. Temperatures are soaring past 90 degrees and the humidity is so high, you feel like somebody wrapped a wet blanket around you. Now, ask yourself: if you are so sweaty and uncomfortable that you feel like crawling out of your skin, what about your musical instrument? True, an instrument is an inanimate object and has no feelings, but you should know that heat and humidity – especially big changes in moisture – will ultimately damage the instrument. This applies even more to those constructed from wood – like the guitar, violin, cello, double bass, and others.
Why does this happen? Wood is the kind of material that absorbs moisture, so constant exposure to a humid environment is not good. (By the same token, excessive dryness is also damaging. It could weaken the glue, distort framing, and cause cracks). Clearly, it is important to protect your instrument from extreme changes in temperatures and moisture. Fortunately, the summer is still young so it’s not too late to take action.
A few years ago, in an article he wrote for Premier Guitar magazine, Bob Taylor, co-founder and president of Taylor Guitars, said: “At one time, probably 70% of the repairs performed in our service center could have been avoided if the guitar had not been exposed to humidity extremes.” Let’s look at some ways to ensure that your wood instrument is not having a heat stroke this summer: 1. You wouldn’t even think about leaving a child or a dog in a parked car because the temperatures can rise very quickly. It’s the same with a wooden instrument – it shouldn’t sit / lie / stand / recline in a stationary vehicle in hot weather. 2. When humidity is extremely high, you like to be in an air-conditioned room. So do your guitar, violin, and cello. Basically, when you feel uncomfortable on a hot and humid day, you can be pretty sure that your instrument does too. That’s when you know to place it in a cool and dry (but not too dry) room. 3. If you want to have a precise measurement of humidity in your home, consider purchasing a Hygrometer, an inexpensive device that lets you control moisture levels in your environment. It’s good for everyone – humans, pets, and instruments!
Now that you are forewarned and forearmed about the effects of heat and humidity, let us tell you how we can help keep your instrument away from harmful temps and moisture levels. One way is that our teachers will come to your Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Riverdale home or office, which means you don’t have to take your instrument out of its (and your) air-controlled environment. Additionally, the teacher can also advise you on how to protect your instrument in all kinds of extreme conditions – climatic and other. In all matters pertaining to music or instruments, these folks are fountains of knowledge!