Instrument Care Tips

Proper Storage

First, make sure the bow is secured appropriately with the hair tension relaxed but not so loose that the hairs touch the stick. Do not expose the instrument to rapid changes in temperature or humidity as these changes can crack your instrument and/or cause it to go out of adjustment. Avoid exposing it to the sun or ultraviolet light. When not in use store in a place with moderate humidity away from heat sources, vent registers or windows. Do not leave an instrument in a vehicle during extremely hot or cold weather. Remember that during winter some heating systems can severely reduce the humidity in your living facility - always monitor the humidity in the area where your instrument is kept. To help prevent a mishap always keep your instrument and bow in it's case when not in use. You should strongly consider insuring your instrument to cover fire, theft, and/or damage anywhere the instrument goes. Make sure your policy extends outside your home for school, concerts, and travel.

Cleaning

Regular cleaning is key - wipe it down after and perhaps before each playing session. Rosin dust should always be removed after each playing, and be sure to check the surface of your violin under the strings near the bridge for build-up. Also, take care not to let the rosin contact the frog of your bow as that can cause splintering. The body of the instrument can be cleaned with a soft cloth (untreated soft flannel or a micro-fiber cloth work well). An occasional polishing will help maintain the finish but due to the variance in different maker's varnish formulas use only an instrument-safe polish (ask us for our polish recommendations). Never use alcohol or commercial cleaners as they may act as solvents on the varnish and cause damage. If rosin becomes hardened and won't remove easily with a cloth it means your cleanings weren't frequent enough, hardened rosin should only be removed by a luthier.

Maintenance by the Owner

Keep fresh strings on your instrument! Worn strings sound dull and lifeless - a fine instrument requires the strings to be in top condition to sound it's best. Your instrument will benefit from replacing all four strings "in concert", even though strings under greatest tension are the ones which wear quicker. Replacing strings as a set will afford a richer harmonic tone, and intervals will be more accurate across the strings. With constant or heavy use metal strings should be replaced once or twice a year, gut strings every few months.

Tuning the strings tends to move the bridge forward. Make sure the strings are not over-tightened and that the bridge is perpendicular to the body. The feet of the bridge should always be aligned with the inner notches cut in the F holes. Check the bridge position often.

Frequent and even normal tuning will cause both pegs and peg holes to eventually wear smooth. This causes slipping or sometimes the pegs will stick. If a peg is slipping apply ordinary white chalk to it, if a peg sticks LavaŽ brand soap rubbed dry against the peg shaft works wonders. When pegs become seriously worn see our luthier, do not attempt any "home remedies".

Maintenance and Repairs by a Luthier

Bow Rehairing

Every string player needs to have their bow rehaired from time to time, either because the hairs no longer grip the string (no matter how much rosin is applied) or because too many hairs have fallen out. With use, the hair's ability to grip the strings and extract a beautiful sound is diminished, resulting in a harsher, scratchy sound. Your bow should be rehaired at least twice a year and more often with heavier use.

Fingerboard

Avoid letting grooves develop under the strings - grooving on the fingerboard prohibits free vibration of the strings. Our luthier will assure the board has a sufficient concave dip and will also check the grooves in the nut as they may be worn too deep.

Soundpost

Your instrument's tone will not be accurate unless the soundpost is fitted correctly. If your soundpost was fitted in warmer weather it may be too long for winter use when the top subsides. Conversely, if was fitted during colder weather it might be too short for warm weather use when the top raises. If the soundpost happens to fall or move: loosen the string tension slightly and ask our luthier to restore it's correct position.

Bridge

Like the soundpost, a bridge's correct position is affected by the swelling and subsiding of the top. In some cases a longer or shorter bridge may be needed to make sure the strings are located at the correct height in relation to the fingerboard. The bridge should be kept perpendicular to the top, if neglected it may break or become warped. Bridges should only be replaced by a luthier.

Cracks or Open Seams

Check your instrument regularly to see if the top or back has become unglued from the ribs at any point.

Check your instrument periodically for cracks that may develop.

If either a crack or open seam is found reduce the string tension and contact our luthier for the appropriate repair as soon as possible. It is better (and less expensive) to repair a crack when it is small than to wait until it spreads. Cracks usually develop during colder weather when the humidity is lower, most times they originate in the saddle area. Do not neglect these problems or attempt to repair them yourself. Poor quality repairs and/or substituting adhesives will affect future repairability, appearance, tone quality, and even resale value. Avoid getting any polish or cleaners near cracks or open seams until repaired.