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Emergency Humidification
Here's how I fixed the toll the dry winter weather took on my fiddle.
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February 23, 2015 - 9:24 pm
Member Since: March 14, 2012
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The very dry winter weather here has taken a toll on my fiddle...more so this year than the previous two winters that I've had my violin. In the past few weeks, the pegs have been slipping terribly, to the point where I could not keep it in tune.

So, I decided that it needed an emergency humidification if I were to be able to play it any time soon. I know that you can buy humidifiers to put in your case, but it would take time to get one and I figured it would take time for it to take effect in the case since some of the moisture would be absorbed by the material in the case.

I wanted faster results, so here's what I came up with. I wet a sponge and put it in a Ziploc bag in which I punched holes all over. Then I put that and my fiddle in a 13 gallon trash bag for a couple of days. So far, the pegs have held, more or less, requiring only some fine tuning.

Here are a couple of pix of my humidification set-up:

fiddle_humidification_bag_500px.jpgImage Enlargerfiddle_humidification_sponge_500px.jpg

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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February 23, 2015 - 9:44 pm
Member Since: January 23, 2012
Forum Posts: 73
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I noticed that here in Nebraska a few weeks ago.  My first thought was to take it into my small bathroom and turn on the shower to steam up the place.  As it turned out I didn't have to because my pegs started holding ok.  But that's probably what I'd do, unless someone here says "OMG you're an idiot don't ever do that!"


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February 23, 2015 - 9:49 pm
Member Since: January 19, 2014
Forum Posts: 973
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Yes, with winter air and the furnace there's no humidity at all.   I've had pegs slipping a lot. I'm just hoping my sound post doesn't shrink and flop over. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

Vermont, Massachusetts or somewhere in between

February 23, 2015 - 10:15 pm
Member Since: November 2, 2014
Forum Posts: 546
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I gotta add a streamer pot to the wood stove. I find it odd that only when the viola is at the far end of the house, furthest away from the wood stove do the pins shrink... 


I like you retouch with the "CAUTION" Note. Around here I run the risk of my wife throwing the bag away in the trash... 


February 24, 2015 - 2:31 am
Member Since: August 28, 2013
Forum Posts: 993
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Up here we are considered an arctic desert due to the low amount of precipitation we get.  Also, all the humidity is in frozen form so our air is very dry.  Here's what I use.

11021277_10155196938670697_7206926618206501230_n.jpgImage Enlarger


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


Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North Country

Fort Lauderdale
February 24, 2015 - 5:28 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16063

1stimestar's suggestion is perfect for the case but when your instrument is out, consider getting a snake such as the Dampit. Just remember to keep it moist. Soak it every day.

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


February 24, 2015 - 7:19 am
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
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For general violin case humidity, I use something similar to 1stimestar.  Mine is made out of a pill bottle with holes drilled in the cap and filled with "water marbles".  I also cut a hole in the side to the accessory compartment so it has a permanent place in the case.


000_0001_1.JPGImage Enlarger The water marbles seem to be a much slower release than a sponge (which I used to use), which would make them maybe not the best choice for emergency humidification. 

The marbles have done a good job over the past couple of years for keeping the humidity inside the case fairly constant in the harsher part of winter.  But that is acting as maintenance, not emergency measures.  Weather like this, where house humidity is sometimes dipping down to around 25%, that crude little rig keeps humidity in the case around 40 to 50%.  But I keep the case closed except when I'm taking out the violin or putting it back, and I resoak the water marbles every day while I practice.

I haven't noticed any problems with my pegs.. BUT... Out of habit, when I tune up before practice, I take each peg down a notch and then bring it up to pitch.  I was taught years ago to do that with guitars to equalize out some of the changes in stress due to temp and humidity before playing. so the tuning stays more stable.  So they may not get enough time between sessions for humidity to have as much of an effect on if they slip or stick, I don't know.

But I do like KindaScratchy's approach for emergencies, and 1stimestar's film canister is a close cousin to what I use for just maintaining a more steady humidity in the case. 

I've been meaning to make a silk bag for my acoustic violin.  Among it's unusual properties, silk does act as a moderator for humidity.  I've got the silk for it, I've just never actually gotten around to cutting and stitching it up.

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"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

February 24, 2015 - 7:43 am
Member Since: February 15, 2015
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Fiddlerman said
1stimestar's suggestion is perfect for the case but when your instrument is out, consider getting a snake such as the Dampit. Just remember to keep it moist. Soak it every day.


Got a Dampit with my Master.  Love it.  I only take it out to soak, you can play with it installed.  It's working great in this woodstove-heated house!


February 24, 2015 - 8:22 am
Member Since: October 18, 2012
Forum Posts: 303
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I got a dampit not long after i bought my acoustic, love it!  I noticed the difference to the violin in the first few days using it, i just have to remember to soak it.

California, the place of my heart
February 24, 2015 - 3:16 pm
Member Since: January 11, 2012
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Great thread.  You had to pull out all emergency stops for your performance on Street Jelly and I was happy to see you there.

Hoping for better weather for all my violin buds. 


Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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