To get the best out of your instrument you need to make sure you care for it properly. To help you look after your instrument we have put together this basic violin care guide.
1. Rosin - Not Too Much, Not Too Little
When applying rosin to your bow pay attention to how much you use. A bow with not enough rosin will slip on the strings and not produce an even sound. If you have applied too much rosin the bow will feel sticky on the strings, produce an uneven sound, and leave rosin dust on the body and strings of the violin. When you are using your bow try to avoid touching the hair as it can absorb oils from your skin which over time can dirty the bow and stop the rosin from sticking to the hair and allowing it to play properly.
2. Hold It Carefully
Always take your violin out of the case carefully. Hold your violin safely by the neck and chinrest. Where possible try to avoid touching the varnish on the body of the violin as the oils from your fingers can cause damage to the varnish over time. When you take a break from playing either put your violin away or use a violin stand to keep it safe from being knocked into.
3. Keep It Clean
After you have played your violin take some time to care for it before putting it away. When you have finished playing use a soft, clean, lint-free cloth to wipe the rosin dust from the strings and body of the violin. Taking time to do this is an important step as rosin dust can actually damage the finish of the violin over time and dampen the sound from the strings. When cleaning the violin also take some time to clean rosin dust from the bow.
4. Put It Away
When you are not playing your violin always ensure you put it away in a good quality, durable violin case to keep it safe. When putting the violin away make sure it is stored bridge side up to avoid any strain on the bridge, then make sure the violin is securely 'restrained' in the case - using the neck strap to keep it in place. Place all accessories, such as rosin, in separate compartments of the case to avoid them from bumping into the violin during travel. Before putting it away loosen the adjustment screw of the bow to relieve the tension of the bow hair, this will help to avoid the bow from warping. Making sure that your violin has been put away properly is one of the best steps you can take to maintaining your violin.
5. Check the Temperature and the Humidity
Violins are very sensitive to temperature and humidity, so correct storage is important for caring for your violin. Ideally you should store your violin in its case, in a room with stable temperature and humidity. Try to avoid storing your violin in an area of excessive heat or cold (such as in a car overnight in winter) as this can cause the wood to warp or crack.
You also want to keep an eye on the humidity. The ideal humidity for a violin is around 50%. Use a hygrometer to check the humidity - a lot of violin cases come with one installed, if yours doesn't it may be an idea to look into getting one. If the air is too dry for your violin you can look into using a humidifier to stop your violin from drying out and alternatively if the air is too humid you can get a de-humidifier.
6. Time For a Refresh
Over time it is likely that there will be a build-up of rosin on the strings that you may not be able to remove with just a clean cloth. If this happens you will need to use a solvent to help remove the rosin from the strings, make sure to avoid getting this on the varnish. The body of the violin may also become sticky or dirty over time. Do not use polish or cleaning products to deal with this, instead only use cloths or cleaners made specifically for the violin. If you are not confident in taking these steps take your violin to a luthier or a music shop and they will be able to help.
It is likely that the bow hair and the strings will gradually wear with use and need to be replaced. When this happens take your violin to a luthier and they can change these for you.
7. Get It Fixed
If you have any cracks or damage to your violin, take it to a luthier as soon as possible to get it repaired. Don't be tempted to try and fix cracks yourself as you may cause more damage further down the line. If ever you are concerned that your violin is damaged or not playing properly rather than guess or use home remedies take it to a luthier to be inspected.
For peace of mind in the long term look to get your violin insured against any damage that could occur.
- Hold the violin carefully by the neck and avoid touching the varnish
- Wipe down the violin, strings, and bow with a soft clean cloth after playing
- Don't apply too much rosin
- Store securely in the case when not in use
- Store in a room with a stable temperature and humidity
- If in doubt take it to a luthier
- Insure your violin
If you have any questions or need any help let us know if the comments!
Don't forget we have a great range of violins available on our rent to buy plans, click here to find out more!