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Airing Instruments
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (5 votes) 
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DanielB
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September 3, 2014 - 9:52 am
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Just heading into autumn here, which is one of the times of the year I "air" the instruments I have that spend most of their time in cases.  I usually do it mostly in spring and autumn, when temperatures and humidity aren't too extreme.

Basically keeping them out of their cases for a couple of weeks.

Years ago, when I was first starting out in music, the owner of a small music shop I often went to told me it is good for instruments.  She had a very small shop and nowhere near enough space to have all the guitars and etc out hanging or in stands all the time.  So some of them spent most of their time in cases in her store-room.  So in spring and fall, she'd have cases propped open all over the place, and would also take the opportunity to rotate her stock.

She claimed that long storage in even perfectly clean dry cases could still harm particularly wood instruments.  Said she'd seen some go brittle and fragile with too much time spent in the cases, so she considered it necessary for them to have some airing out time so they stayed in good condition.

Some years I helped her, in exchange for a couple sets of strings or a discount on some instrument or accessory that caught my eye.  It was a very good time to be a customer there, since you would see things you never even knew she had, and often she was in a mood to offer a particularly good price, if you looked interested in something. 

I don't have near as many instruments as a shop, but still enough that I don't have enough stands and etc to keep them all out all the time.  But when temps and humidity even out a bit in spring and fall, I do usually bring the case instruments out to get a couple weeks of air, and also to clean the cases and etc.

I also clean the amps and other gear, wipe down cables and etc. Basically get everything looking as perfect as it can.

I got to thinking about the wood this year, though.  I'd do the twice a year "spit and polish" anyway.. But I've often felt that some of them do sound better after even a day or so in the open air.  I think that it may give them a better chance to adjust to humidity or something. 

I usually also take cases outdoors for an afternoon in the sun before vacuuming them out.  Mostly I've done that to kill off any mold or mildew spores, before they can cause a problem, but I've heard some people take violin cases out into the sun to discourage the bugs that eat bow hair, so there might be even a bit more reason to do it with violin cases.  Anyway, a little sunshine and fresh air sure doesn't hurt how a case smells. LOL

I've done it for decades now, never had any problems from it, so I guess it at least does no harm.  I've also never gotten any sort of mold or mustiness in my cases, unlike some other musicians I've known over the years.  But I figured I'd mention it and see if anyone else here knew anything about it or has any experiences related.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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coolpinkone
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September 3, 2014 - 3:00 pm
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Hi Daniel.  I like your thoughts.

My violins are all out of their cases all the time, it is rather dryish here I think.  Well.. except Gretta, the german "factory" violin, she is in a case.

Spit and shine... is that just what it sounds like?   I would love to "polish" my violins.  I just haven't really done much to any of them.

I LOVE the idea of vacuuming out the cases.  Because of the velvet I feel that It has become a magnet for my Basset Hounds Fur.

Thank you for the tip. Friday.. I will take the cases out and inspect and clean the violins.  Nice warm and breezy weather still here.. but Fall is around the corner.

It is sad that our fall will be less brilliant this year.. drought.. dead leaves are already falling off trees...  

Happy Wednesday Dan and all.

Toni

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Ferret
Byron Bay Australia
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September 3, 2014 - 5:55 pm
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bug-1_gifbug-1_gifbug-1_gif

@DanielB 

My instruments are never in their cases.

Not since I got Bow Bugs a couple of years back.

But there can be a downside to having them out of their cases.

One of my bows got done by a 'Bow Mouse'. roflbug-1_gifbug-1_gif

sp_PlupAttachments Attachments

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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1stimestar
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September 5, 2014 - 3:23 am
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Most of the year mine is out of it's case hanging on my music stand ready for my hit and run practices at a moment's notice.  I have lessons on Thursdays so will put it in the case to go there and normally leave it in the case till the next day.  But in our very severe arctic winters where all moisture in the air freezes, we have so little humidity that I put it in the case with a couple of humidifiers for most of the day. 

 

Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.

 

Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North Country

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Fiddlerman
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September 5, 2014 - 8:48 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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I added that bug gif to the smileys John. :) It's more effective that way.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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DanielB
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September 5, 2014 - 2:26 pm
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@Ferret: Yeah, every time you figure you have a fix worked out, a bigger problem comes along.

My oud case, it tends to get infested with cat.  Any time it's open and the instrument is out, one of our cats will be sitting in it.  Usually the same one as clawed up the goat skin covering and ate a few little bits of it.

Then we hear Toni is having basset hound..

Sooner or later, I reckon somebody will be having troubles with lions and elephants in their cases.  Or maybe some of those sea-going crocodiles!

It's just the way the world works.

@coolpinkone: I do recall actually seeing someone somewhere claim that spit does work for cleaning violins.  To me, it's just a figure of speech, though.  LOL  I mostly wipe it down with a soft cloth (white cotton inspection glove) and then buff with a piece of silk rag until it is shiny.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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coolpinkone
California, the place of my heart
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September 5, 2014 - 7:19 pm
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When I went to play violin with my friend, her kitty claimed my violin case instantly. :)   I felt honored. :)

OH it's Friday and I did not spring clean with the cases.. I got to playing violin..then checking the boards...and thinking of songs.... and practicing Thaxted.

 

OFF TOPIC.. as I tend to be....

I got some good personal tips from Juan Fiddler yesterday on my Thaxted.. some feedback and advice.  I played today and I felt it made a difference.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Schaick
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September 13, 2014 - 9:06 am
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I spit shine mine.  But since I am a lady I don't actually spit on the violin but get a rag a teeny bit wet with saliva.  The rag is just barely damp when I polish the violin.  Or I lick my finger and apply to the violin.  It does really work, but very slowly which I think might actually a good thing.

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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Ferret
Byron Bay Australia
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September 15, 2014 - 9:56 am
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@DanielB Dan

Having mentioned 'Bow Mice', I feel that I should explain that the problem was solved in a non-violent manner. 

The offending mouse was captured alive and relocated.

roflol

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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