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Storing musical instruments

Whether pianos, woodwinds, brass, percussion or strings, storing instruments must be done the right way to preserve them well.

Most important is temperature and humidity control. High temperatures, drastic temperature changes, and above-normal humidity can cause brass instruments to expand and shrink, strings and wood to warp, drum skins to dry, and mildew to grow.

Many self-storage facilities offer climate control. This uses central air and heat to maintain a temperature of 10-26 degrees Celsius and reduce humidity. Some facilities have a dehumidifier as well.

Store musical instruments correctly

5 tips for storing musical instruments

  1. Properly prepare instruments for storage, cleaning and conditioning them with paste wax for wood, resin, etc. Never use an oil-based polish or alcohol on wood instruments.
  2. Disassemble parts, remove reeds, mouthpieces, mutes and straps, and relax strings
  3. Store instruments in their cases, which should be in good condition: clean, with no fraying or powdering. If a case is not in great condition, line it with buffered acid-free paper.
  4. For string instruments, drape a clean cloth over strings before putting in the case.
  5. For additional protection against humidity, place the closed case in a polyethylene bag.

Storing pianos

The best place to store your piano is in an inhabited home, preferably with someone who will play it and care for it.

If it must go into storage, it must be kept dry. Humidity can rust wires and pins. If it is dry, it does not matter if is cold in storage.

It should also be protected from attack by moths and carpet beetle larva who will enjoy the piano as a perpetual lunch.

To deter insects, before you store the piano, drop some moth balls in the bottom, and cover it to trap the fumes.

Storage conditions for oil paintings suit pianos - a stable 21 degrees Celsius and 45% humidity, and away from direct sunlight.

The best way to store a grand is on its legs so that the action is at rest in a normal position. If you store it on its side, you may warp the action, which will need fixing later.

Don't use a grand piano as a table to hold a load of books and other items. The lid is not very thick, and you could crack it.

Do not wrap a piano only in plastic sheeting. Plastic can cling and eventually bond to the finish. When the plastic is removed, it may take off much of the surface.

Clean the piano thoroughly, then wrap in old sheets or blankets, before covering with plastic.

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