Phoenix Mesa Violin Humidity
At Arizona Fine Violins, we happy to help you with your smallest adjustments to the biggest restorations of your violin, viola, cello or upright bass. This is a very dry valley (in case you haven't noticed!) and the desert is hard on stringed instruments.
There are many obvious precautions to take when transporting or keeping a nice "fiddle". The first one is, not to let the instrument get too dry. The humidity here is low and can get down to below 10% on many days in the winter. The worst months here are actually not December (it is dry!), but it is March and April when we see the most dry weather kinds of issues: Open seams, even rib or top cracks can develop. In March and April, the air is the driest AND the rising temps just compound it.
Try to keep your violin in the case, not always laying out on a table or desk. Keeping a couple of green colored "Dampits" inside the instrument during the driest part of the season will surely help tremendously. Again, nothing can replace just good common sense: Don't leave the instrument in you car....ever! Going to get gas along the way? Ok, but that's it! Get moving again so that the sun will not beat down on the case and heat up your violin. The instrument can crack easily this way, ruin and soften the varnish making it very easy to permanently mark.
If you have the luxury of having a dedicated practice room or area in your house, then you can easily buy a humidifier to keep on in the room. (Look at Sears and do not buy the warm air type.) The perfect humidity, is 50-60%, but since you are then going to the driest places once you leave home, it is not a bad idea to allow your room humidity to be in the 40-50% range. This way, when you go to play in another place or symphony rehearsal, it will not feel too abrupt to the instrument. Always avoid one extreme to another.
Snowbirds....you know who you are! Watch out that your instrument has a nice transition. Bring your instrument in and let us check your soundpost to make sure that it isn't getting to tight in the change in climates. You can also hang out with Steve (the owner) or Mei Lin. Be careful with Mei Lin though, she will surely sell you a new case! We do have the most brand names and best prices of violin, viola and cello cases on the planet, not just in the valley!