Violins, violas, cellos and basses are delicate musical instruments and it is important that they are properly maintained for them to last.
A well-made and properly maintained instrument should last a lifetime. There are violins dating back to the Master Luthiers of the early 1500’s that are still in use today!
Regular attention to the points outlined below will help players keep their instruments in the best possible playing condition.
Protect Your Instrument
Always keep your instrument and bow in its case or on its stand when it’s not in use. Refrain from leaving your instrument on chairs, couches, floors, beds, tables and in high traffic areas. Always pick up your instrument from the neck without touching the varnished areas.
Rosin dust should be removed after each playing. A soft cloth, like cheesecloth, can be used to clean the body and strings. Do not use any cleaners on your violin, viola, cello or bass.
Good strings make an instrument sound wonderful. Old strings make it difficult for students to produce good sound. Over time, strings stretch out and eventually will not hold their tune. If strings are worn out or frayed, they should be replaced as soon as possible to avoid breaking while playing. Put strings on one at a time and check the bridge during the process.
The feet of the bridge should always be aligned with the inner notches cut in the F-holes and must be kept in a perpendicular position.
Check its position frequently. If neglected, the bridge may warp and even break.
If it requires adjusting, grasp the bridge at both upper corners while holding the instrument firmly. Gently move the top of the bridge to a perpendicular position.
Bow hair should only be tightened when playing and loosened when stored in its case. It is important to not over-tighten your bow hair. This can eventually cause the bow hair to not tighten enough as a result of over stretching.
Avoid touching your bow hair. Oils in your skin can eventually cause your bow hair to fray, discolor and not hold rosin.
Rosin your bow regularly by applying every time you play.
It is important to clean the rosin off your instrument and bow stick to prevent the rosin from damaging the varnish.
It is also very important to wipe the rosin off of your strings. Rosin build up can eventually affect your sound.
Violins, violas, cellos and basses are sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. Extreme temperatures can cause these wood instruments to go out of tune and in some cases even crack. It is important to keep your instrument at a moderate temperature and humidity to maintain their adjustments and integrity. Never leave your instrument in the car or in direct sunlight.