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While some musical equipment is more durable than others, all instruments and their accompanying gear must be stored with certain measures in mind, or else you will find yourself having to deal with expensive repairs or even replacing your instruments. So, before you lock away your gear, keep these tips in mind.
Invest for the long term.
While tempting, discount storage solutions may seem like a deal at first, but the cost-to-savings ratio can quickly reverse. As mentioned above, improperly stored equipment can bleed your wallet dry. All it takes is one day of extreme weather to cause expensive damages.
Your best bet is to invest in a climate-controlled storage unit which can guarantee certain storage conditions. Climate controlled units also tend to be insulated from the weather, making water and mold damage less likely. Not all units offer humidity control, and temperature guarantees can vary, so make sure you know what you’re getting. Also, keep in mind that while friends or family have the best intentions in mind, they are not professionals, and accidental damage can occur, likely to leave you with no recourse for compensation.
Storing electronic musical equipment.
Because they are generally made up of a combination of plastic, adhesives, and fine metals, electronics are especially fragile. Heat, cold, moisture, or even arid conditions can damage components in a device. Make sure your storage space meets the following specifications to avoid damage.
- Temperature must remain between 50 and 80 degrees to prevent the cracking, melting, or warping of components and adhesives.
- Keep humidity levels between 15 and 80 percent to prevent dry, cracked softer plastics, or damaged current conductivity from overly humid conditions.
Storing brass, woodwind, and acoustic instruments.
Store the instrument in a hard bodied water-proof case, designed for that instrument, if possible. Add a polyethylene bag as extra protection against humidity damage for instruments with key pads, and a Dampit, or other instrument humidifier, for wooden instruments. Larger instruments, like a piano, should be draped in a tarp to guard against dust and water damage.
Most brass and woodwind instruments are relatively durable, and can deal with temperatures that a person can. Humidity should be watched with woodwinds, as leather pads can dry out and crack, and cloth pads can mold, so keep them out of either extreme. Any instruments with a wooden body should be stored with the following specifications in mind:
- Wooden instruments are especially susceptible to heat and water damage and should be kept in the same temperature and humidity conditions as outlined for electronic equipment.
- Instrument bows must be stored separately from the instrument as Dermestid beetles often infect cases, and will eat the bow hair and glue.