Advice for Snowbird
So the holidays are over and my wife and I are heading to our Florida home for the winter. With this arctic weather in the northeast, we can't leave too soon. My #1 fiddle is headed south with me, but #2 fiddle is staying home for the winter.
We leave the house thermostats set at 55 degrees F. with no humidification possible when we are not here. The question is do I leave #2 fiddle in the house (where the air is heated), or put it in the basement which isn't heated but stays in the range of 50 to 60 degrees from being below grade, and generally seems to be more humid from contact with the soil. Any thoughts on this?
If those are your two choices, I'd probably leave it in the basement...but honestly I would go for option "C" which is take both violins with you. Or option "D" which is take your second violin over to the home of someone you trust who is staying in town for the winter.
I agree with Mary Ellen, but of the two options, I would choose keeping it in the house where there's heat. The humidity should be okay as long as you're not leaving it near a heat source. Hopefully you have a good case.
My reasoning on choosing the basement is that there isn't a huge difference between 50 and 55 degrees--both are bad--but some humidity is better than none. But I wouldn't do either one.
Just bring both.
Violins were invented, stored, played and spent their lives in places without central heating or humidity control. If you are certain your basement remains above 50° or so I would put it's case, wrapped in plastic down there and not worry about it.
"Violins were invented, stored, played and spent their lives in places without central heating or humidity control."
@Andrew Victor: Violins were invented in northern Italy and for most of their history, most of them have been kept in Western Europe.
Thanks for all of the responses - I'll leave the violin in the basement, which my nose/sinuses tell me is a more friendly environment than the heated house in winter. I suppose that my ultimate option is to liquidate fiddle #1 and #2, upgrading to fiddle #3 and keep that one with me at all times!
Have to agree with the Burgess on this one. Violins weren't invented to keep well in a particular environment; they were invented to produce a particular sound. And just like human beings once lived in huts and lived 30 years on average, but now live in houses with medical care and better nutrition, violins will last longer and be preserved better if the harsh conditions they're exposed to are limited.
Not a lot of experience with violins and dry weather, but I have had for years an expensive cigar collection.
Do you have a luthier who normally services your violins? If so, why not ask to leave the violin with them in their likely climate controlled space for the winter? Offer to pay for the accommodation, of course.