If you know a musician, you know how important their gear is not only to their artistic expression, but also their livelihood, in some cases. The financial investment made in purchasing a percussion set, brass, woodwind, or string instrument is no joke. In honor of our net zero energy self-storage facility in Austin, Texas, the live music capital of the world, we wanted to get the best musical instrument storage ideas.
In an area that is known for its musical landscape, you can be sure that taking care of and properly storing musical instruments is a big deal. So we went to the experts, local Austin musician Sarah Glynn and local music shop Strait Music Company, which has been in business since 1963, for their top tips.
Check 1-2, check, check the storage environment
The number one thing music lovers should be concerned with for musical instrument storage is the environment, specifically the temperature and humidity. Clint Strait of Strait Music Company says that when storing your gear, you need to be mindful of the temperature. "Really, just no extreme heat or extreme cold. Also, drastic sudden changes in temperature and/or humidity can be very harmful to wooden instruments [such as pianos]. Steady and moderate temperatures are what you're looking for. Most experts say 40%–50% humidity is ideal for acoustic guitars. There are many humidifying devices that you can purchase for this purpose."
A special tip for piano storage that helps lessen temperature fluctuations is to wrap the piano, bench, legs, pedals, and lid in high-quality heavy padding. If you own an upright piano, be sure to keep it off the concrete floor by storing it on a pallet.
Treat your instruments with R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Respect the fragility of your musical instruments. Most times equipment comes with a covering. Use it. Dirt and dust have adverse effects on the condition of the instrument and quality of sound. When it comes to string instrument storage, for example, guitars, follow Sarah Glynn's advice: "I would recommend putting guitars in hard cases and loosening strings. I would also be sure to put amps in their road cases where they'll be protected from dust and dirt."
She, too, emphasized the importance of temperature and humidity. "It's important everything is stored in an environment where the temperature and humidity are controlled, preferably inside a house or apartment." If a house or apartment isn't an option and you need to put your gear into self-storage, be sure to look for a climate-controlled storage unit, preferably with electricity so you can plug in a humidifier.
Protect yourself before you wreck yourself
Preparing an instrument for storage is all well and good, but in spite of your best efforts, there is the possibility that elements out of your control will cause something negative to happen. "It's also really important to make sure everything valuable is insured," says Sarah. Investing in an instrument and taking extra precautions to ensure it is in great condition when it comes out of storage means that it is worth insuring. This goes double for very expensive equipment or one-of-a-kind instruments.