Depending to what the strings are made of (stainless steel would kind
of make this a moot discussion, right?), one factor would be just how
humid this is, & some other factors. Is it misty enough for water to
actually start condensing on the strings? Is the shade protection
adequately waterproofed, or is rain on it going to generate water
misting down under it? And is it large enough that a little breeze
won't blow rain under it?
But I'm with Ted that expansion of the wood due to humidity is the big
problem, given that we're talking about one specific day. If there's
serious danger of actual liquid water landing on the instrument (see
previous paragraph), I'd surely think twice about playing; but tuning
issues can be a problem just with high humidity.
I'll add that in a festival, I've jammed in situations where it was
misty (humidity right at 100%, in other words), and also under a
pavilion that wasn't quite adequate to keep the water out. (The side
screening was broadcasting misty droplets inward, I think. We moved
inward & then eventually gave up.) These were jams, & tuning problems
were something we were ready to live with, some anyway, under the
circumstances. No noticeable permanent damage to the instrument on
brief exposure in the latter case, nor from several hours in the
former case. But I suppose you could develop cracks, especially if
the change is pretty sudden.
No matter what, if the instrument actually gets wet, I'd suggest
getting it wiped dry ASAP--both strings & wood.
-- Dave Lovelace
davelovelace at gmail dot com
On Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 5:47 PM, Ted Yoder <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Hi Peter,
> I've played out side in the rain and yes, your tuning will be affected. I
> would worry more about your wood getting too wet and not so much about your
> strings. I had my D650 for 4 years and I played outside most of those years
> on a regular basis. It was just this last January that I changed my full
> set of stings on that thing. I'm no chemist so I can't say that the weather
> didn't affect my strings but if it did, then it took four years of gigging
> to do it. ;-) Even with what I said about the wood, it's all protected
> except that little sound hole where water could get inside the HD where
> it's not finished. And that would take a significant amount of concentrated
> rain to get in there in any amount.
> Be careful if you start to re-tune one string at a time during your set
> because sometimes that can just make it worse as more than likely the whole
> HD will be going out fairly evenly. I usually find that it's my higher
> notes that are affect quicker than the bass notes. There's not as much
> tension on the lower notes I think.
> Good luck and don't worry too much. To compromise your strings, your HD
> would have to sit outside for more than one gig. More likely 24hours or
> something like that.
> Ted Yoder
> National Hammer Dulcimer Champion
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