There are a few basic things that every player can do on a regular basis to care for their instrument and bow.
The first is to wipe the rosin from the belly of your instrument after each time you play. This is best done with a soft, dry, clean cloth so that the varnish isn’t damaged during the process. If the rosin is left to build up, it can be cleaned with specific violin polishes however we recommend that a violin maker clean it for you once it gets to this stage.
Second is to make sure that you release the tension in your bow before you put it away. If the tension is left in the bow, the hair will require replacing sooner than necessary and there is also a possibility of warping the bow stick.
Check your strings regularly. Strings that have been in use for some time will lose their tonal quality and the windings can become loose or thin. To maintain your instrument’s optimum sound, be aware of the age and condition of the strings. If there is excess rosin build up on the strings, this can be cleaned but we recommend you contact us for advice, simply because if it isn’t done carefully, the varnish of the belly can be damaged. When replacing strings, make sure you only change one at a time to preserve the bridge position.
Appropriate storage of your instrument will also help to preserve its condition. Whether in the case or on a stand, the general rule is that it is kept in an environment that you would be comfortable in. Check that it isn’t too close to radiators or that it won’t be sitting in direct sunlight for long periods.
If the instrument isn’t being played, make sure it isn’t left in the loft where it will be too hot in summer and too cold in winter or in a cellar where excess moisture can also cause problems.
Travelling with your instrument poses many problems, particularly with the restrictions of hand luggage. Your choice of case will be the best way to protect your instrument and there are many available for all the orchestral stringed instruments specifically designed for this purpose – however they can be expensive.
Bridge and Soundpost
Never allow anyone to knock down the soundpost without releasing the tension in the strings or vice versa. The bridge and soundpost counterbalance each other, and to avoid damage to the body of your instrument it is important to either have both in place or neither of them. If you prefer to have both taken away for travelling, we suggest that a violin maker does this for you as they will make note of their position and be able to replace them precisely.
For aeroplane travel and also if your home environment is particularly dry, it is important to maintain an appropriate level of humidity through the use of a humidifier. There is an inexpensive solution where a damp tube (the humidifier) is draped into the f-hole.
For further details or advice for any aspect of caring for your instrument, please don’t hesitate to contact us as we are happy to help.