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Tips for the Care of Your String Instrument
By Dan Jacobi
3/2/2013 10:33:00 AM

Caring for your string instrument is not difficult if you understand a few basics. Remember that it is made of wood and can easily be damaged if not handled with care. Bumping the instrument against another object may damage the wood, cause the bridge to slide out of alignment or cause the sound post inside to fall down. Bridges and sound posts are not glued in place, but are held in place by the pressure of the strings, which allows them to be replaced and adjusted as needed. If an accident should occur, bring your instrument to a West Music Repair Shop for repair.

The Wood

Wood may expand in humid weather and contract as it dries which can affect how your instrument functions.

Do not leave your instrument in a car during extreme hot or cold weather as this can damage the instrument and the finish.

The Pegs

Pegs may stick in humid weather and not hold well in dry conditions.

Pegs that will not hold may need to be pushed in gently while tuning to the proper pitch. Pegs may slightly back out and loosen if turned without applying this gentle inward pressure.

Too much pressure could break the peg, damage the peg box or cause the holes in the peg box to enlarge and wear out prematurely.

Be careful when using some fine tuners so they do not push against and damage the top.

The Strings

Every time you play and sometimes during practices and performances your instrument may need to be tuned. As the instrument warms up while playing the tuning may be slightly altered.

Over time the strings will stretch, wear out and sometimes break.

Strings have a limited lifespan and need to be replaced when they get frayed, damaged, corroded or have become old and lost their tone.

Keeping your hands clean before and during use will help the strings last longer.

The Bow

Rosin should be applied to the bow to create drag on the strings. This is what makes the strings vibrate.

The bow hair should not be touched because rosin will not stick if oils from your skin get on it.

Not having enough rosin on the bow will result in faint and squeaky sounds.

If too much rosin is used it will come off the bow and stick to the instrument.

Wipe excess rosin off the instrument with a soft cloth.

When putting the bow away, loosen the hair a little so it is not as tight as when you are playing. Leave slight tension to help keep the hair from getting caught on something, but not warp the bow.

Keeping your hands clean before and after use will help the bow hair last longer.

The Case

Do not force the case lid shut.

Most instrument cases are only large enough to hold the instrument, bow, rosin, and small accessories such as a mute or pitch pipe.

Objects such as pens and pencils will damage the instrument when the case is closed.

Shoulder rests are best carried separately unless there is ample room in the case or the case has a compartment to hold it.

Papers or music stored in the case may squeeze against the instrument causing the bridge to break or the instrument to crack.

If you should notice a problem with your instrument, bring it to a West Music string repair technician as soon as possible to be serviced. Repairs to string instruments can take just a few minutes, several hours or sometimes several weeks, so don’t wait until it is too late to get it repaired.


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Tags: String Guide, String Care, String Maintenace, String Care Guide, String Maintenace Guide, Instrument Care, Instrument Guide, Instrument Care Guide, String Care Guide, Instrument Maintenace Guide, Stringed Instruments
Categories: Band & Orchestra
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