When it comes to storing instruments for the long-term, you need to ensure that the place you choose is secure and has a favourable environment that does not diminish the value of your instrument. Long-term storage can deteriorate many items and depreciate their value if not properly prepared prior to storage.
Whether you’re storing your electronic audio gear, family heirlooms, or antique instruments, here are a few simple steps to help you prepare and ensure the safety and well-being of your equipment and gear.
When choosing the right storage, you should bear in mind that some musical instruments are sensitive to environmental factors such as extreme cold and hot temperatures, dust, and humidity. Heat and cold can cause brass instruments such as slide trombones, French horns, cymbals, and tubas to expand and contract continuously, resulting in damage.
Humidity, on the other hand, can warp and dry out wood instruments such as pianos, clarinets, and acoustic guitars, while dust can penetrate amplifiers, electric keyboards, electric guitars, and electric sound mixer boards. The heavy buildup of dust within these sensitive items can damage their ability to function properly.
Keeping your musical instruments in a container that isn’t kept in harsh environmental changes is the first step in preserving your instruments during long-term storage. Unfortunately in places like Canada that experiences seasonal weather changes, this isn’t always easy. So to best protect your instruments from the elements, ensure that you wrap all pieces in a protective layer (like with padded foam sheets) before putting them in your container. This will ensure that even if your container is exposed to the elements, your instruments remain safe.
Preparation of each instrument
Different musical instruments require different kinds of preparation processes prior to storage depending on the materials used to make them. Instruments made from a single material such as cymbals, brass trumpets, tubas, slide trombones, and French horns, among others are the easiest to prepare by using the steps below:
- Brass instruments that may dull in appearance should be thoroughly polished before storage
- Wood instruments should be cleaned and conditioned with a specially formulated rub that has a non-alcoholic and non-oil wax paste
- All strings in stringed instruments should be relaxed and the strings covered with a clean white cotton cloth inside their cases
- Leather drums should be oiled to keep the skin from drying out, shrinking, and cracking
Those made from multiple composite materials make prepping them for storage more challenging as the materials they are made from may not be compatible with one another.
For general care of instruments:
- Store each instrument in its dedicated case
- Ensure that the cases are clean and in good condition
- Cases showing visible signs of wear like powdering or fraying should be lines with a buffered and acid-free paper
- The cases should be placed off the floor, preferably on shelves on top of wooden pallets, and away from doorways
- Insure the contents of your storage container so they’re protected from burglary, fire, vandalism, and natural disasters
Lastly, when taking your musical instrument out of long-term storage, always give it a tune up before playing it again. For more information on how to best store your instruments in your container, contact the Secure Container team today!