Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Summer Violin Maintenance

Summer weather although enjoyable for us, is not perfect for violins. The high temperatures of summer can cause problems for your violin, so during the summer months you should give your instrument a bit more TLC. The wood of the violin expands and contracts due to heat and humidity. Excessive heat can cause permanent warping and damage to the wood and bow hairs. It can also cause a change in sound. The varnish can soften in heat causing it to blister or stick to your case. On the other hand, air conditioning can dry out your violin and cause cracks in the wood. Overall, extreme temperature and humidity changes are not good for a violin.

There are a few things you can do to keep your violin in good shape during the summer months. 
  • Check your violin out every few weeks, especially if you are not playing it.  Visually check it to make sure there are no signs of warping and check for open seams every place there is a joint on the instrument. Also, listen for any changes in the sound of the violin.
  • Keep your violin out of direct sunlight or enclosed areas. Specifically, don't store your violin in a hot car.
  • If in extreme temperatures, allow the instrument to come back to room temperature slowly.  The stress put on your violin by sudden temperature changes can be catastrophic.  In short, slow, gentle changes in the environment are much easier for any wood instrument to handle.
  • Clean any rosin debris off your violin right away.  Rosin can become stickier in the heat and leftover pieces can end up sticking to the varnish permanently! 
If damage should occur, have your violin repaired immediately by a luthier to prevent even more damage for happening.

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