From Gary Foote
Posted August 23, 2005 at 05:39 PM
Just another perspective.
True, it would be ideal if it can stay in that humidity every single minute, but living in southwest there will always be times your instrument will be exposed to heat and most importantly, dryness. I.E.: when you take the violin out to practice(unless you have humidifier on in your practice room all the time), going outside house to play in orchestra rehearsal/auditions or what not, and when the humidity fluctuates so much (40%~60% in the case, 10% and lower outside) the wood just cannot take it very well, and will expand, contract, warp, crack or split... or yes, all of the above.
This has happened to me quite a few times with my 80 year old violin, and after some point(I've been living in Phoenix with my violin for 6 years) I stopped to even bother with hygrometer/humidifier and it's been actually giving me less grief this way.
My assumption is that because I don't keep a humidifier in my house nor in the rehearsal room at my local community orchestra where I usually play for 2~3 plus hours about three days a week, it's just better for him(i mean, my violin) to keep it all the same.
If you have had your violin for more than couple months or so, by this time the wood should be adjusted to the humidity of where you live.
If you or your violin have just moved from humid area it would be a good idea to get a humidifier, start using it immediately and then slowly come down(blot the water to max, i guess) to local humidity for the wood to have time to slowly contract(adjust).
Use digital hygrometer to check the humidity at least everyday.. remember, if it fluctuates, it's worse than just being dry all the time.
(In case you have old violin, start seeing a good local luthier regularly if you don't already. New violins usually just don't seem to have much cracking problems.. my 12 year old which is always kept in a exceedingly crappy case without a humidifier has had not one single problem since i moved here)
My luthier who i believe is very competant, however, does recommend me to use humidifier from D'addario. I'm thinking of getting it once I get a humidifier for my home, because I don't like the feel of my instrument super dry all the time(not so pleasant to the touch..) and it also produces less rich sound..
Another thing to note is never, ever use dampits of any kind straight inside the instrument under any circumstances. It's just bad, bad, bad for the wood.
(I'm no expert, but in the similar sense, I would suggest you get a nice commercial humidifier and follow instructions carefully unless your trustworthy luthier instructs otherwise..)
Good luck! (for all of us in the southwest..)
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