Instruments are expensive, especially percussion instruments such as drum sets, marimbas, cymbals, and the like. To ensure that they will live a long and sturdy life, it is imperative to take deliberate care of them and clean them appropriately. When preparing to put away your instruments for a long period of time, or for the foreseeable future, proper maintenance and storage is vital to protect them. Storing them improperly can be damaging, as dust, light, and damp atmosphere can have an extremely detrimental effect on the quality of your instruments.
Before storage, it is crucial to clean your percussion instruments properly. This will prevent any damage from previously acquired dust or other unforeseeable elements, preserving the quality for the next intended use. Most instruments only require a cloth and mild all-purpose cleaner, but cymbals usually require a specified formula (available at cymbal retail stores) to be wiped on with a cloth, and then wiped away.
Drums come in multiple sizes and corresponding cases are available depending on your storage needs. Cases come available in hard-shell plastic or soft-shell plastic. These cases will keep the sunlight off of your instrument during storage (depending on storage location), which will prevent it from damaging the finish, as well as prevent dust from caking it. These cases are also an extremely important storage component because damp weather and moisture in the air can cause premature rotting in the wood components, or cracking and separation. Of course, hard-shell is the way to go for a long-term solution. Fabric coverings are also available, but are not appropriate for long-term storage, unless there are no alternatives for the instrument in question.
It is important to consider atmosphere during long-term storage. Choose a place that is cool and dry if at all possible. This will prevent mildew and molding of your instruments, as well as premature rot. It is crucial to pick a storage are away from large amounts of activity to prevent damage and scuffing. There are also lockable percussion storage cabinets available through multiple retailers, and these should be considered if it fits within the instrument-holder’s budget.
Don’t let your precious and expensive instruments go to waste just because they need to be kept out of the way for a while. Follow all of these guidelines and (if handled properly) your instruments will come out looking and sounding just the way they did on the day of storage.