Cello – Humidity and Weather Control
Even relatively mild heat can actually melt the varnish on top of the instrument, or even the glue holding the instrument together. Similarly, too much humidity, or a sudden absence of humidity, can cause either similar disassembly or parts of the cello to crack.
And not to mention a wooden instrument carved thin is already delicate!
In order to elevate these issues, we have some important steps in caring for your cello that should help you avoid any disasters.
First, the most basic maintenance is to regularly wipe down your cello and bow for fallen rosin finger oils, both of which can damage the instrument if left on.
Finger oils can mix with the varnish or erode any exposed piece of wood, and can lead to irreparable damage if left unattended. Remember how varnish can melt easily?
If it does, it will mix with any substances on top of it and permanently ingrain rosin or finger oils on the instrument. Firstly, this can damage the wood underneath, and secondly, is just gross.
Second, make sure to take care to not put unnecessary knicks or stress on the surface of your cello. Even minor scratches, if left unchecked, can cause the exposed wood to be damaged.
But certainly you want to make sure nothing ever spills or falls on your instrument. If you get a hole in it somewhere, in most cases the cello will likely be totaled, so no good. Make sure to have a good, hard case for it when traveling around.
Never aimlessly carry the cello or run or take stairs with the cello out in the open. Mostly common sense, but just leave it in its case if unattended, and keep away from open containers and food.
Third, some specific tips about avoiding heat. Avoid direct sunlight, as the radiation from the sun can cause the instrument to heat up, even if it’s not otherwise too hot.
Be careful leaving the cello where there are radiators or vents producing heat. If possible, leave the air conditioning for where the instrument is kept at a consistent temperature. This will help in many ways to keep your cello in shape, and even in tune.
Fourth, some people like to use a rubber humidifier device in winter to keep the instrument from getting to dried and cracked. This is a somewhat personal preference, but a lot of people use them and appreciate them.