How long can a violin be stored without opening it's case?
So I was studying abroad and went back home a few weeks for the holidays. Little did I know that the outbreak of CoVID-19 would prevent my school from letting me return. I stored it in my closet. Loosened the strings. Put foam under the tail piece and around the bridge so that in case it collapses it wouldn't damage the varnish.
I stored the bow in the long plastic bag thing it came in and tightly shut the end. And also of course loosened the hair. The place I went to study is very cold in the winter and just warm in the summer. My instrument has survived being stored for 3-4 weeks in the same way because I didn't have time to practice. So I know it can survive weeks. But what about months? Its been almost 2 months since I left. How long can it survive?
I should also mention that there are no luthiers there. I tried searching for them.
The important issue is what is the environment temperature and humidity range where your instrument is stored. Also be sure their are no wood or hair-eating bugs or mold in the case.
Barring bugs, mold, or floods, I would think careful storage like that could go for several hundred years, or at least a lot longer than if you played the thing.
So pretty long.
Somehow a couple hundred Strads have survived for generations, sometimes in dingy attics or damp cellars, and through two world wars.
Actually, the thing to worry about is the foam. Many plastics have chemicals in them thay soften varnish. You were OK to that point.
Cotton, you probably have no idea of the extensive repairs that have been performed on most of these instruments.
I'm almost exclusively a violist and rarely play violin. From February 2011 until January 2018, my violin case was only opened twice in the summer of 2013. From 2007 until this week it was never opened more than three times in a calendar year. Except for bow bugs in 2013 (subsequently remedied by keeping the violin on top of a tall bookcase), no ill effects.
Having watched some repair videos, I see the extent to which they basically have to be rebuilt from nothing. But they're played on anyways, huh?
Sure. But these are not the Strads and Guarneris which fetch prices like 18 million bucks. Just about anything can be repaired. What is suffered from the damage and the repair is a reduction in value.
It’ll last a long time... UNLESS YOU USE A BAM CASE!
If we are talking less then a year, the way you stored it will be fine. I'd remove the foam as Michael Darnton stated. You may be a little concerned about bow bugs (carpet beetle larvae) depending on your environment. The most they will do over a short period of time is nibble on the hair. If a few hairs look like they have been chewed you you'll want to take care of it. I'm actually putting a short article together on bow bugs for my blog this month. Check it out at www.adbowslllc.com/blog in the coming weeks for more info.
How long can it survive to what?
And if you have gear pegs it'll probably still be in reasonable tune.
If you have a valuable instrument and are not playing on it, I would heed David Burgesse's comments. He is a very well known conservator and maker. We are fortunate to have him on this particular forum.
When my daughter stopped violin lessons I stored her violin pretty much the same way you described except without the foam. Last week she wanted to start playing again so I got it out for her ; it had been stored for 11 years and was still absolutely perfect.
Thank you so much everyone for the replies. Also, I should clarify that when I said foam I didn't mean the kind that's a bit hard. There's a soft spongy material in my country and we call it foam. I'm a little bit of a paranoid person when it comes to my violin so that's why I used something soft. There's nothing I can do about it now but perhaps next time I'll listen to your advice and experiences and not use it.