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Jingle, Jingle...*SNAP*
By Joanie Mercy
12/3/2010 8:26:00 AM


I should really know better after how many decades of violin playing – but I must admit… I forgot to use my Dampit – and paid the price.

My concert violin is an older instrument, so it has seen its share of repairs.  I normally look after it like an only child, but for the past four years, I haven’t been as diligent.  Because four years ago I actually brought my only child (a beautiful girl) into the world. 

As performers and teachers, we musicians stay pretty busy.  And our instruments are like our left arm, constantly attached.  But life brings us marriages, kids, commitments, and those things have a way of rearranging our priorities.

But I digress… back to the Dampit…

Here I was last week, putting up the Christmas Tree with my husband and daughter (well, my daughter was dis-assembling the tree and we were trying to stay one step ahead of her).   My daughter was in a musical mood, and so was I, so I took out my violin, singing to myself, “Jingle Bells, Jingle…” *SNAP!*

That didn’t sound good.  I winced and looked at the bottom edge of my violin.  The seam had come apart.  Bah, Humbug.

I hung my head.  I hadn’t filled my Dampit in weeks.  My busy life just carried me away with it.  I tilted the violin to get a better look at the gaping hole in the side and heard *PLINK* - Great.  The sound post inside fell over.  *THUNK* - down went my bridge.

This wasn’t the end of the world, it’s a simple repair for a luthier even to glue and clamp the open seam, but it was still embarrassing.  I should have known better.

The moral of my story is this:  In the Fall and Winter, as soon as it starts getting colder and drier outside:  Use – Your – Dampit – Every – Day.  Water it once a week, keep it in your case or in the f-hole of the violin/viola/cello/bass/guitar, and you’re good.  And don’t leave your instrument in hot or cold areas, or in the car in extremes of temperature – not ever

My daiughter will always be #1 with me.  But I truly need to find time for my poor neglected violin.  Otherwise, I’ll be singing Christmas carols for the family this year… and believe me, they don’t want that.

Tags: string instrument care, string instrument maintenance, Dampit
Categories: Band & Orchestra
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