Few musicians want to be away from their instruments for extended periods of time, but sometimes it can’t be avoided. Proper storage of your instrument and bow will ensure that they are still in good condition when you return to them.
Prep your instrument
Getting your instrument ready for long-term storage isn’t complicated. Wipe excess rosin off the stick of your bow with a soft cloth, then loosen it. Wipe down the body of your violin with a soft cloth to remove dust and rosin residue. Loosening the strings is unnecessary, but you should place a soft piece of fabric under the tailpiece. This will prevent the top of your instrument from getting scratched by the tailpiece should the bridge collapse. Finally, place your violin in its case and close it securely.
Storing the case
The best place for your instrument case is somewhere the temperature and humidity will stay fairly constant. Don’t keep the case near an exterior wall or anywhere the sun could shine on it. Often a closet on an interior wall and without a vent is a good place.
You may already have experience with “bow bugs”, small beetles that eat bow hair. If they infest your case, you’ll notice lots of broken or very loose hairs when you remove your bow. Sometimes an infestation necessitates a bow rehair. Since these bugs don’t like light, they prefer to target rarely-opened cases. To prevent your bow hair from being a beetle’s lunch, it’s best to store it out in the open, if you have a safe place to put it.
Waking up your instrument
When you return to your instrument, give it a quick visual inspection for cracks or opened seams. If you find any, or if the bridge has fallen down, you’ll need to take it to a luthier. If your instrument is no worse for its long nap, tell it how much you missed it, tune it up gently and you’re good to go!
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