22 Dec 2014

Tips for Storing Big Band Music Instruments

The only problem with Big Band instruments is right in the name: “Big.” These bulky but beloved objects can cramp living space, especially if you collect a lot of them. Many people benefit from putting some instruments into storage, but they have to take great care to store them correctly.

Big Band Music Instruments Storage Tips

  1. Use a Climate Controlled Facility
  2. This step is so important, we’re repeating it twice.

  3. Use a Climate Controlled Facility
  4. Climate control is an absolute necessity for storing instruments. Ontario gets alternatively very hot and humid and very cold and dry, and this can wreak all kinds of havoc on your instruments. The expansion of alternating heat and cold cracks wood faster than you would believe. Any micro fissures will soon become giant cracks. Even metal instruments suffer, since the different metal components expand and contract at different rates, putting strain on all the joints.

    Additionally, the humidity in the summer can seep into the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies of your instrument. Over time, this leads to rust, corrosion, and mildew. Mildew can be very difficult to remove without damaging the instrument.

    You can prevent these problems by paying slightly more for a climate controlled unit.

  5. Clean Before and After
  6. Even with climate control, your instrument can still accumulate dust or minor rust. These minor issues can become severe if you try to play an instrument without cleaning it first. Playing a dirty string instrument affects the sound and can lead to damage, while playing a dirty saxophone or woodwind can even lead to a lung infection called “Saxophone lung.”

    Cleaning and preparing your instruments before storage is also important to keep them in peak condition. String instruments should have their strings loosened to prevent strain, while the keys of brass instruments should be cleaned thoroughly to prevent corrosion.

  7. Use Cases and/or Covers
  8. To keep dust and moisture off your instrument, keep it in its case. If you don’t have a fitting case, use a vinyl cover instead. Cases are a cheap one-time investment that increases the lifespan of your instrument.

  9. Visit Occasionally
  10. Visit at least once a year to polish brass, oil leather, and ensure that mildew is not growing. A quick visit every now and then can save you money in the long term.

  11. Use a Pallet or Platform
  12. Placing your instruments on an elevated platform insulates them from the cold temperatures of some concrete floors.

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