Heat, Humidity, and Rain Damage 

Heat, humidity, and water can have a negative impact on string instruments. Heat and moisture can soften the glue holding them together, creating weakened joints and affecting the overall structure. The glue used in string instruments is water soluble, which exacerbates these issues.  

Damage to the body and neck of the instrument is also of concern. It is not uncommon for increased heat and humidity to cause wood to expand, developing open seams and cracks in the instrument due to the excessive moisture. The necks can become dislodged and given that string instruments are typically made from wood, they naturally soak up the moisture in the air which affects the sound produced, making it less resonant. When the wood expands the tuning pegs can become very difficult to adjust. In addition to these possibilities, the risk of mold growth increases substantially when an instrument is wet; and mold is nearly impossible to remove from the inside of an instrument. The combination of weak glue joints and softened wood can permanently deform the instrument. 

Our Belin musicians have separate instruments for performing outdoors, but these instruments are not immune to the damage caused by weather. On extremely hot days and days when rain is likely, we have to make the difficult decision to move the concert indoors. That way the instruments (and our audience!) are guaranteed to stay dry. 


Things you can do to protect your instrument from moisture damage

Don’t play in the rain: Summer is the perfect time for an outdoor performance, but be sure to check the weather beforehand. While you can take cover under a tent or umbrella, if the weather is looking particularly daunting it is better to move indoors or reschedule the event.  

Keep a small dehumidifier in the instrument’s case: Small hand-held packs of dehumidifiers can be very convenient and space conscious. Keeping one of these in your instrument’s case is a very efficient way to ensure the inside of the case stays dry, especially if your instrument is kept in a more humid environment. If you have any silica gel packets lying around, putting a few of these in the case can also help control moisture.  

Put a rain cover over the case: Even something as simple as a trash bag over the case can protect your instrument from water getting in from the outside. Even when walking from one place to another, rain can easily get in the small crevices of the case which can cause damage to the instrument.  

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