Whether you're putting a grand piano or a trombone into storage, you'll need to think carefully about the instrument's needs before you choose a storage type and facility and start packing it up. Here are two essentials you'll need to keep in mind for best results.

1. Temperature

Although both climate-controlled storage and non-climate-controlled storage units have air conditioning, non-climate-controlled units have a wider range of acceptable temperatures. Musical instruments are very susceptible to damage by temperature extremes and temperature fluctuation, meaning that if you store your musical instrument in a non-climate-controlled unit, you're more likely to see wear and tear or even significant damage develop over time. Some types of musical instruments that are vulnerable to temperature include:

  • String instruments, which can crack or have strings snap if temperatures fluctuate too much
  • Brass instruments, which have cork in their valves that can suffer damage from heat
  • Wind instruments such as flutes, which have carefully fitted pads operated by springs that can be easily damaged
  • Pianos, which are made of wood and thus are very vulnerable to cracking

2. Humidity

In addition to temperature fluctuations, the humidity levels in non-climate-controlled units are also quite liable to fluctuation. This puts musical instruments at risk. Some are more susceptible to damage in high humidity than others, but any musical instrument that has wood or cork components (like pianos, strings, brass, winds, and percussion) are likely to be damaged if you store them in high humidity. In addition, very high humidity can encourage corrosion on metal components. Types of instruments that have metal components include string instruments (which have metal strings and sometimes metal tuning pins), pianos (which have metal strings and metal soundboards), brass instruments, and wind or reed instruments (even winds made of wood, such as clarinets, have metal components like springs and screws). As you can see, storing any musical instrument in a location that may have high humidity is unlikely to be a good idea.

These two points demonstrate how essential it is to keep your musical instruments in an area with livable temperatures and controlled humidity. (Usually "climate-controlled" storage units are the best because they have the most tightly controlled humidity and temperature.) For additional protection, it may be a good idea to keep small dehumidifiers (such as silica gel packets) inside the instrument case. Some instruments, such as pianos, don't have cases; to protect pianos, you can get a special humidity controller that attaches to the piano and monitors the humidity in the room to keep it at a safe level. For more information, visit a site like http://www.extremepianomoving.com.