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Question about transporting very old violin..
Transporting from SC to AZ
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brego93
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September 7, 2020 - 4:14 pm
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I have a violin built in the late 1700’s (maker unknown) that I bought whilst living in South Carolina.  In a few months I will be moving to Arizona and am looking for some advice on if there’s anything special I need to do for transport.  The violin has several professionally repaired cracks on the body and I’m worried about How the change in sea level and humidity might affect it.  It’s in a temp controlled room at all times and has a case to go with it.  Any advice besides loosening the strings?  

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stringy
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September 7, 2020 - 4:19 pm
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Not sure about loosening the strings, I would be careful of the sound post falling over. Unless you just mean by a few cents or so, I know there are humidifiers sold for placing in violin cases, don’t know if they work though, ever used one as it’s always cold in the north of England, even in summer, and it never stops raining.

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cid
September 7, 2020 - 4:24 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
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Make sure NOT to leave it in your car. The heat will soften the glue or something like that. When I travelled with mine, I brought it in every place we stopped at.

Putting it in a shaded area of the car, or leaving a crack, will not do. Heat builds up in cars, as we all know. 

Viola Time! 

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cid
September 7, 2020 - 4:27 pm
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From what I know, you don't want to loosen the strings or the sound post will tip over. It needs the pressure on the top of the instrument to keep it erect. The strings across the bridge do that. When we get violins from Fiddlershop, or anywhere else, the violin strings are not loosened. As a matter of fact, Fiddlershop's are pretty much in tune right out of the box.

Viola Time! 

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stringy
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September 7, 2020 - 4:54 pm
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brego93 said
I have a violin built in the late 1700’s (maker unknown) that I bought whilst living in South Carolina.  In a few months I will be moving to Arizona and am looking for some advice on if there’s anything special I need to do for transport.  The violin has several professionally repaired cracks on the body and I’m worried about How the change in sea level and humidity might affect it.  It’s in a temp controlled room at all times and has a case to go with it.  Any advice besides loosening the strings?  

  

I am not bigging up any other forums and don’t know if I am breaking any rules for telling you this, but if I am I apologise and will remove this post. If you publish your question on maestronet with images of your instrument the luthiers on there will tell you exactly when your instrument was made, who by and the very best way to transport it, if it was made in the 17 century it will probably be extremely valuable, and  I do mean EXTREMELY, and shouldn’t be moved around without some thought

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Irv
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September 11, 2020 - 8:17 pm
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@brego93 .  I do not attest to having any valuable instruments.  In thinking about your problem, we might achieve a solution based on first principles.  

Fiddlerman has a YouTube video showing a simple cardboard fixture he constructs which cradles the bridge to prevent dislodgement during transport.  I would also place a soft cloth (micro fabric or similar) between the belly wood and the tail piece.

D’addario markets a humidity pak which has the ability to maintain a constant humidity within an enclosure.  They are not very expensive.

An English instrument auction company uses an innovative cardboard container which sandwiches the violin between two plastic membranes which forms an elastic suspension system (picture attached).  We can do this, but a case is likely adequate.

Enclosing the case in a styrofoam cooler would tend to moderate temperature swings.  Placing the whole apparatus in a big zip lock bag (think vacuum space saver bag) would conserve contained moisture. 14130C46-F263-4817-84B3-544D16825442.jpegImage Enlarger

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

It is unpleasant to be thought so uncleverly unclean and capable of poisoning a whole city.—Sir Walter Scott

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 23, 2020 - 2:02 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Honestly, unless the instrument was poorly repaired, you need not worry. I suggest that you use decent case, better if it's well insolated, and just do as others have said by not leaving it in the car or in the direct sunlight during your trip. Your car is actually tempered as well. Your new home will most likely be tempered too.

Old instruments are quite stable, only more prone to cracks if the air is too dry. If you worry about cracks, purchase a "snake" and make sure it is moist on a daily basis.

I would not loosen the strings. I never have. The violin is designed for the pressure of the strings pressing down on he bridge, and it's possible as others have said for the sound-post to fall if you have bad luck.

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

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Gordon Shumway
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September 24, 2020 - 3:50 am
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And you can always wrap the violin case in a duvet.

Andrew

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