In high humidity: Violin hanging or in the case?
I remember there was some consensus in v.com to always put back the violin in the case, and not to hang it, even for the convenience to take it and practice. However now in the humid season in Asia, I am receiving the advice to hang it instead of putting it back to the case, if possible, to "let it breathe". It is true that I see that the case is regularly more humid than the room, more so with the air conditioning drying effects. If the room is at 50-55%, the case, in the same room, stays at 65% (I guess there's humidity in the inner lining that it's released slowly...). I would like to listen opinions and advice from the hardware experts...
Keeping it in its case will serve to decrease the *rate* of humidity *changes* that your instrument experiences in your home.
A few things:
Thank you for your answer, Erik. I would control the humidity of the violin to that 45% if I would be able to use it in controlled environments, but not being the case I decided to not go that path (unless luthiers advice me otherwise).
This is interesting--I'd never thought of this. Where I live the relative humidity averages 80% and right now is around 60%. I've always left out our (admittedly student level) violins and didn't know it was a problem.
40-60% is safe.
Currently the daytime temperature where I live in England is a clement 32-34 (night-time is about 22-24), and relative humidity is around 30%, which is unusually low for us on this side of the Pond. The current spell of hot, dry weather has now been with us for over a week and is expected to last a few more weeks, hopefully punctuated by the occasional violent thunderstorm.
Further to my previous post, I have Beethoven 9 coming up next week at Clifton Cathedral in Bristol, England. The weather forecast is that there is no forecastable end to the current high temperatures. Not wanting to risk instrument tuning problems on the day with the Beethoven - or anything else for that matter - I've therefore replaced the gut strings with steel (Spirocores) and installed fine tuners so as to avoid peg tuning entirely. I'm happy to report that the violin retains its tuning, tone and playability, although its sound is obviously no longer that of the gut strung. I'll probably look into the possibility of geared pegs later on so that I can revert to gut whenever I want.
I use Eudoxa in all strings, and geared pegs without finetuners. The truth is that without those pegs I would reconsider my choice of Eudoxas for all the tune-up tune down with temperature. But with the geared pegs, the process takes less than 15 seconds and that minimizes for me the only problem of gut.
It is not humidity per se, but sudden and significant changes in humidity. There are ways to keep the inside of the case relatively dry using hydro-absorbent silica gel, or humid using a good humidifier (or the method described above). The problem is if you spend a few hours using your violin in the opposite environment: extremely dry or extremely humid. My luthier told me no to strive to keep an ideal level of humidity, but to gradually adjust my instrument to seasonal changes, trying to curb them if possible.