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How to Store Musical Instruments

instrument storageWhether you’re a student, amateur, professional musician, or just play as a hobby you’ll want to ensure you instruments stay in the best shape possible. Musical instruments can hold sentimental and monetary value and should be stored the right way.  The wrong storage conditions can cause instruments to stop working properly. Here are few tips to follow when placing clarinets, flutes, violins, guitars, or other instruments in self storage.

First, consider having your instrument appraised and insured if it particularly valuable. As a general precaution, you should always keep a record of items you place in storage, including a photo and description.

Preparing Musical Instruments for Storage

  • Clean, polish, and inspect it as needed
  • Be sure to remove any accessories and mouthpieces and loosen any strings
  • Place tissue paper in any openings to keep out dirt and insects.
  • Find the proper case and/or cover

If you are storing this instrument for a family member, it’s best to have them complete this step. It’s easy to damage an instrument when cleaning if you don’t have adequate knowledge of how it works. If you need to store a large instrument such as a piano or harp, it is recommended to consult with a professional.

Once you’ve found the original case or purchased a new one specifically designed for the instrument, make sure it’s in good condition. For an added layer of protection, you can also cover string instruments with a cloth inside the case. Other instruments can be placed inside a polyethylene bag as a barrier to humidity. Large instruments should be covered with sheet or tarp to keep off dust.

Proper Storage Conditions for Musical Instruments

  • Climate controlled indoor storage
  • Steady temperature and humidity
  • Store away from windows, doorways, and off the floor
  • Avoid placing anything on top
  • Take precautions against dust

All musical instruments are sensitive to environmental factors such as extreme hot and cold temperatures, dust, or too much humidity. Brass instruments will expand and contract excessively when exposed to frequently changing temperatures.  Wood instruments can be warped and dried out by too much humidity. Electric instruments are negatively affected by dust.

Climate controlled indoor storage is recommended for musical instruments because these tend to be valuable and easily damaged. Even when storing at home, it’s best to keep these away from windows and open vents. Always keep small instruments off the floor and refrain from placing anything on top of large ones.

When removing your musical instrument from self storage, remember to clean and tune it.

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