There are some Violins that were made in the 17th century, and they are still played on, they still sound the same as they sounded 400 years ago. On the other hand, some Violins that were made 10 years ago are already unplayable. Wooden string instruments, especially bowed ones, are extremely fragile and vulnerable. Any string player has to be aware of things that can hurt their beloved Violin or other instruments of the family. Here we are going to talk about looking after and protecting your instrument.
1. The Violin loves to be clean!
Look at your Violin and see if it is clean. If not, clean it right now and try playing. You will see how much better it will sing! Rosin residues, greasy hand stains, natural dust, all these dampen the vibration of the Violin parts, thus affecting the sound. Not only will your Violin sound better, but you yourself will play better on the Violin that is clean and shiny.
Most rosin accumulates in the area between the bridge and the fingerboard, which make sense, because this is where the bow, abundantly rosined, makes contact with the violin. The rosin dust, if not removed after each practice session or performance, melts and then solidifies, turning into a kind of glue that is very hard to remove. Clean out the rosin regularly and do it properly. Some professional players use alcohol to clean the strings and the fingerboard. This method is very effective, but not recommended. Even a drop of alcohol on the lacquered surface of the violin will instantly provoke a chemical reaction with the varnish, as a result of which the violin will get an ugly stain that cannot be removed. On some cheap instruments, fingerboards are made not from ebony or rosewood, but hardwood covered with black paint. Alcohol will easily dissolve the paint and the violin will take on a shabby look.
We recommend using an alcohol-free dissolvent to clean the strings.
Royal Oak String Cleaner,
designed by Larsen, one of the main string manufacturers.
It is absolutely safe for your instrument and helps to remove rosin nice and easy. Use it sparingly, but regularly.
For the lacquered parts of the Violin, you will need another cleaner. Here are some brands that we would recommend.
Hill 2 in 1 Varnish Cleaner & Polish
works perfectly with any varnished instruments. It cleans, removes stains and polishes without making the surface "oily".
When used regularly, even one drop is enough to clean the violin or viola.
Hidersol 2 in 1 Cleaner & Polish
Hidersine Hidersol was first developed in 1912 and has been a staple in violin workshops ever since. It is recommended for the cleaning and reviving of traditional stringed instrument varnish. 25ml per bottle.
Peter Dawson's Violin Cleaner-Polish
2. Keep the pegs in a working shape.
- Unwind the string, and take the peg out.
- Clean it thoroughly. Alcohol can be used for that with pegs made from ebony, rosewood or boxwood, i.e. from the wood that has natural colour and is not painted. Don't use any oily substance.
- Apply peg paste or peg drops to the peg, enough to make it turn smoothly, but not too much.
Hill Peg Composition
The original blend of: Graphite Powder, Petroleum Jelly, China Clay, Talc and Red Iron Oxide.
Perfect for pegs which ceased to turn smoothly.
Pirastro Peg Compound
will help to make tuning the strings simple and easy. Coat the surface of the pegs once or twice with peg-compound where they come into contact with the peg box.
Ardsley Peg Drops
The best way to stop slipping pegs
1/2 Oz. bottle is enough for multiple use.
3. Dry air is the worst enemy!
String instruments are made from wood. It is spruce for the face and maple for the sides and the back. Unlike metal, or carbon fibre, wood is highly susceptible to environmental influences, especially to humidity change. Dry air during winter makes the Violin sound harsh. It can even destroy the instrument causing open seams and cracks. That is why using a humidifier is highly recommended.
DAMPIT Violin Humidifier
The Dampit has been used for over 40 years by some of the world's greatest musicians to keep their musical instruments safe from dryness.
1. Immerse Dampit in water
2. Squeeze Dampit to remove excess water. Gently wipe the outer tube dry. Place inside the instrument through one of the f-hole lobes.
Stretto Violin/Viola Humidifier
Instrument case humidifier for violin, viola, mandolin, and other smaller cases. Long lasting and effective, easy to use.
3. Anobium punctatum or woodboring beetle
In the larval stage it bores in wood and feeds upon it. This little worm eats any kind of wood, while being a great connoisseur of bowed instruments, finding them especially tasty. The unexpectedly formed neat hole on the body of your violin might not be a very pleasant surprise. There is an excellent remedy for this pest that does not cost a penny: PRACTICE MORE! Fortunately, our gourmet hates the sound of the violin.
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