What with everything else going on, don’t forget to protect your instrument from low humidity. Here in the UK, people are not so aware of the problem as our winters are generally not dry. But if we get a spell of cold dry weather, as we have over the last few days, it can cause problems for instruments. An early sign can be that pegs slip so your strings suddenly loosen, but there’s also a risk of seams opening or even new cracks appearing, so be safe!
We try to keep our storage room between about 48% to 60%. At present the outside humidity is down to 43% so we are relying heavily on a professional humidifier, which has used about 5 litres of water in the past 36 hours!
If you don’t have a humidity monitor and want to check today’s levels, you can find it on the BBC weather page. Just click on the ‘rain’ icon and additional information will appear. Also, be aware that if your hands, lips or sinuses are feeling dry that’s an indicator of dry air – your instrument is probably suffering too.
Humidity issues are a bit counter-intuitive, but if you are worried that humidity is low keep your instrument in a naturally cool place and try to increase the humidity of the room (even hanging up some damp towels to dry out will help). Don’t move it to a warmer room as the relative humidity will be even lower there.
In the summer our problem is with air-conditioning when we travel – oh those pre-Covid-19 days! We used to take a cheap portable humidifier to use in hotel rooms where there is a risk of dry air due to air-conditioning. The one we use is available here.