Winter is coming, and even in sunny Los Angeles, winter conditions can wreak havoc on your instrument. Luckily, we’ve been at this a long time, and when it comes to keeping your instrument sounding fabulous in the winter, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves. Here’s how to keep your instrument in tune and sounding great all winter long.
Guitars, violins, cellos, and other stringed instruments need special care during the winter months. They constantly expand, shrink, and change based on the humidity cycles. So what can you do to protect them? Here are a few tips from our experts:
- Try not to expose your instrument to extreme changes in temperature.
- As the temperature cools down, the weather often becomes dry. One of the best things you can do for instrument is to invest in a hygrometer for your case. A cheaper option is to use a damp sponge, stored in a plastic container full of holes.
- To further slow down the effects of humidity, keep your instrument in a sleeve made of silk or tightly woven cotton.
- When dealing with temperature extremes, be sure to give your instrument plenty of time to acclimate before playing it.
Brass and Woodwind
Flutes, clarinets, oboes, trumpets, tubas, trombones, and saxophones need special care in the winter too. Cold weather and humidity can cause valves, cork, and pads to crack, stick, or stop working altogether. Protect your instrument with these tips.
- If your instrument is exposed to cold weather, leave it in the case so it can slowly acclimate to warmer temps before you start playing. Do not blow warm air into a cold instrument.
- Minimize condensation by swabbing the inside of your instrument after playing it. This is especially important for flutes and saxophones.
- Use extra slide grease and valve oil during cold, dry weather to keep things from getting sticky.
- Clean your brass instruments more often in the winter to protect yourself and others from germs. In between cleanings, a product like Spitballs will help keep the gunk out of your instrument.
You can always hope for a sunny, mild winter, but you can also make sure you’re prepared with these great tips for keeping your instrument in top form when the weather won’t cooperate.