How bad is it for a violin to store it in a car/tent for a few months?

July 11, 2020, 12:52 PM · Hey guys, I was wondering how bad it actually is for a violin to store it in a car for long periods. I'm a tree planter/pine thinner, and hence live in a tent for a good 5-6 months a year for work, up until now I've never taken my violin for fear of killing it, but I'm in between contracts and I'm thinking of taking it with me for my next few contracts. It's hard to learn the violin when I keep on dropping it for months on end for one reason or the other
1)Will keeping it in my car be enough to protect it?
2)Are there any basic things I can do to increase it's survive-ability?

Or are violins less fragile than I imagine?

My violin is a cheaper beginners violin so if it bites the dust it ain't the end of the world, but I want to try to keep it in as good condition as I can

Replies (14)

July 11, 2020, 12:56 PM · The only thing that could be worse is to keep it outside in the dirt. If you need a durable travel companion, carbon fibre violins may be a good option.
July 11, 2020, 2:38 PM · What is the maximum temperature that will build up in the car without the a/c running? My guess is >90 F at least once, and that will melt the varnish beyond repair.

Useful rule of thumb-- if you wouldn't keep a baby someplace, don't put your violin there.

Edited: July 11, 2020, 2:59 PM · If it’s a cheaper beginner violin as you say, it likely has a spray lacquer finish that would stand up to the temperature and humidity extremes better than a good violin. Even the glue might be better able to stand the conditions than a good violin. And it’s cheap anyway, so just take it. You’ll be able to tell if it’s reacting badly before it’s ruined, then you can just ship it home.

But Cotton’s suggestion for a carbon fiber violin is probably the best idea. Some are quite expensive, but Glasser in New York makes very reasonably priced ones that get good reviews for their functionality and would be just the thing you need. I wouldn’t mind having one myself, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

July 11, 2020, 4:38 PM · Ewwwwww. Farenheit
July 11, 2020, 6:38 PM · The Glasser is the first thing that occurred to me, too. The price is definitely in the right ballpark, and there are a number of reviews on YouTube if you're not already familiar with the model.
July 11, 2020, 6:58 PM · I think it would be fine in the tent. But don't leave it in a hot car!!
July 11, 2020, 7:08 PM · Arnold Steinhardt had a story about leaving his Storioni (if memory serves) in a trunk at a trailhead. when he came back it was soaked with petrol. Amazingly it was restored.
July 11, 2020, 7:09 PM · Second on the Glasser, but the soundpost and bridge are still made of wood.
July 12, 2020, 9:28 PM · I bought a very good case (musafia with extra insulation and waterproofing) for exactly this reason cause my fiddle goes camping regularly. I don't ever leave her in a car, but she's fine in a tent, provided I cover her with all my spare clothes if it's down near 0°C.

Worst that happened was all her pegs popping one cold night, but she was still in a cheap case at that point. New case came after I found her in a puddle when a tent leaked, but the water hadn't got further than making the case very humid and she went straight to the luthier when I returned and all was fine.

In her musafia case she stays in tune even on cold nights, but I do shade or insulate her copiously and take her indoors if it's over 30°C.

The case was expensive but no more than buying an intermmediate violin I'd been content to play at festivals. If you know you're going to buy a good violin at some point (mine belonged a German trade violin that belonged to my great grandmother, so worth the investment), it could be worth getting a good case now.

July 12, 2020, 10:37 PM · Inside a car in the summertime it'll basically come apart. I saw one where every single glue joint let go. Every one.

It would probably be ok up to 100°f/38°c if it's not too humid. I like the baby comment up above.

Get yourself one of those Glasser fiddles for under $1k. They look nice, sound nice, and are super durable.

July 13, 2020, 12:59 AM · I moved from Los Angeles to Sacramento in the summer of 2010, and my violin and viola came in the car with me as it was the safest way I could transport them. It was a full day's drive in about 95°F heat. Although I tried to keep the instruments shaded by other items in the passenger compartment, there were unavoidable periods without air conditioning during stops for breakfast and lunch on the road, and when I was picking up my key and unloading the car at my new apartment.

After the move, I found a local luthier and brought my violin and viola in for a look. Both had open seams.

July 13, 2020, 2:05 AM · Despite my rant on my Glasser viola on the other post, I would highly recommend a Glasser carbon fiber violin in your situation.
Edited: July 13, 2020, 7:53 AM · I've heard of a uke exploding in a hot car due to the string tension pulling everything apart - the hide glue gets humid and melts. A violin wouldn't enjoy the experience, but it might tend to hold together at least and might be more easily repairable. Or it might not. Maybe get a cheap VSO and Araldite the seams?
July 13, 2020, 7:19 PM · Btw the geared pegs don’t ‘pop’

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