Stringed Instrument Care and Maintenance for violins, violas, cello and upright bass. Learn how to take care of your stringed instrument
There are many things you can
do to keep your instrument playing properly.
First, try to keep your instrument clean. This sounds simple enough, yet many people do not perform this routine maintenance step. Rosin dust and fingerprints
will be your main problem. You should rub your instrument down
with a lint-free cloth after each playing session. About once
a month you should polish your instrument to remove oil and other
dirt. Only use string instrument polish, never furniture polish
or polish for non-wooden instruments.
Next, keep your instrument in good tune. If your
pegs are constantly slipping and your instrument is always out
of tune you run the risk of breaking the strings from continual
peg tuning. Peg slipping can be remedied by application of "peg
dope" which you can buy at Chris B's Music or
your local strings store. If your pegs stick peg dope may also
help. However, slipping and sticking both mean that your pegs
are improperly fit on your instrument, and you should take it
in to a shop to have it repaired.
About once a week you should unscrew all of you fine tuners (if
you have them) to their top position. Remember to unscrew them
until they are loose and then tighten them one or two turns so
that they do not rattle. After loosening your fine tuners you
will need to tune your instrument with pegs. Don't try to use
your pegs if you don't know how, as it is very easy to break
a string by turning the pegs too far.Occasionally you should
check the angle of your bridge. Look at your bridge from the
side, along the thin edge. The back of the bridge (towards the
tailpiece) should make a right angle with the top of your instrument.
Sometimes, if you use your pegs a lot, your bridge will lean
toward the fingerboard. If this happens, you should reallign
it. If you've never done this before, don't try it! Take it into
a shop or to a teacher and they will do it for you and show you
how to do it. It is extremely easy to break your bridge by moving
Another important preventitive maintenance measure, especially for children:keep your instrument in its case when not playing. An accident can leave your instrument seriously damaged, or even beyond repair.
Lastly, loosen the bow when you are finished playing. Simply turn the screw until the bow is no longer stressed. This easy step can add years to the life of your bow.