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I searched around in the forum a bit and didn't find a similar topic, so sorry if this is dupe, but anyhow...
We're soon off to the wilderness for a week A bunch of families camping near a lake, with tents, trailers, s'mores, etc.
One of the guys is bringing his guitar and I've been asked if I'm bringing my violin. There's the whole part about being quite new to public performance and so on, but does anyone have any thoughts on bringing your instrument into nature and playing around a campsite. A safe distance from the fire of course! (It's a student model violin so just assume I'll do my best to keep it safe from damage and keep it in a locked vehicle overnight, etc.)
But am I not considering something... or just being too worried? Advice?
Sounds like fun! If it's hot out, you won't want to leave it in the car, the heat would damage it. I have a fiddle that I got purposely for playing outside, though I really don't do it often (yet). My teacher told me it was a good idea to have one that I won't worry so much about the weather potentially opening up a seam, etc, so that was what I kept in mind when picking this one out. I don't take my main fiddle to play outside.
I personally would feel ok just keeping my outdoor fiddle in the tent (I have done that with my expensive camera gear, but there was almost always someone at the campsite... it was always large groups renting a few sites together so none of us worried about our stuff) and I make sure my cases are light weight with comfy straps in case I'm hiking and need to carry it with me (I do this often after a fiddle lesson, can't leave it in the car, so throw it on my back and go for my hike in the woods).
World's Okayest Fiddler
Violins don't like rapid or large changes in either temperature or humidity. The absolute temperature or humidity matters less than how rapidly it changes. My teacher recommends not taking a violin out when it's going to be over 35C, though. It can cause the glue to loosen. That's not catastrophic (a luthier can fix it easily), but with a student instrument, the cost of the luthier's time to do it might be more than the cost of the instrument.
Usually, the best plan is to leave the violin in the case while it's in a new environment and let it come to the new conditions gradually that way. Don't leave it in the interior of a car, though, as the greenhouse effect of the car will shoot the temperatures up enough to cause the glue to start melting. It can also melt the rosin on the strings (or in the case), which isn't harmful, but is fairly messy. I'd keep it in its case in the shade when you're not playing it. (The shade of a tree, by preference. Tents are a lot warmer. Watch out for how the shade shifts, though.) Overnight, I'd keep it in a trailer as a first choice, tent second.
Don't play too near the fire (changes of tempeature) or the lake (humidity). Most of all, remember it's a student violin and therefore didn't cost a ton of money, so don't fret about it too much. Just have fun with it.
Don't leave it in the car during the heat of the day or laying exposed in the sunlight and you should be fine. Violins have been around a lot longer than air conditioned houses.
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright
I do appreciate the "just enjoy it" type comments. I've never been one of those kinda people who puts plastic on my furniture to keep it clean or leaves the fine china in a box to maintain it's value, if you know what I mean. Stuff is meant to be used, loved, enjoyed.. but cared for. I guess I just need some validation that I'm not being too reckless hauling a maybe-delicate instrument into a uncertain environment.
PS. Your fiddlershop instruments warranty is void if you keep it outdoors.
Just kidding, LOL.
, oh boy did my heart sink when I first read that...
Some of my best playing is done outside either at the fire or down by the river. I find the acoustics are better with some form of theater around you. My 1/2 acre lot surrounded by tall hemlock trees and the river valley sound a whole lot better than when I'm down on the edge of the lake.
I agree with the above statements on temperature changes and to avoid extremes. I wonder if there is a (safe) package of desiccant you can throw in your case to help reduce humidity issues later in the evening?
Oh and don't forget to post some videos....
So, update: It all worked out pretty well. Over four days, I probably got in a solid 3 hours of jamming around the campfire. My wife took a bit of video, but the sound didn't pick up very well and it's all very shaky and pretty much unwatchable, so I grabbed a frame from that for the picture below.
My buddy with the guitar has only been playing for a couple years and doesn't read music, so I had bought a simple guitar book with tabs and I played the vocal line. Simple songs like "on top of spaghetti" and "kum ba ya" A half dozen kids balanced between singing along and being completely embarrassed that their dads/"uncles" were playing in the campsite. A few random folks walked by and stopped to watch, but it was all very well received. And I don't think the sound carried nearly as far as I was imagining it did.
It took me about half an hour to get over my outside stage fright, but all in all I think we've got a new camp tradition in the making.
Thanks for all the insights: it was put to good use and all my equipment made it back home in one piece.
Awesome!! Glad you had a good time I know some people who play instruments, but they all play rock, nothing along the lines of what I do, so I'm stuck playing by myself, lol. It always seems like it would be fun play with someone else, especially around a campfire
World's Okayest Fiddler