Caring for instruments may seem like a daunting task, but with regular care and maintenance, its life will be extended tenfold. Stringed instruments especially are very fragile and picky, requiring a little bit more care than all other instruments. However, just like with anything else, after lots of practice, instrument care will become second nature!
The weather can have a huge effect on stringed instruments. Since they are made of wood, they need to be kept in a relatively stable environment. A few places that the instrument should not be kept are: in the car, next to a window, near a heater/air vent, and in an unfinished basement. Those are all places where the temperature and humidity can change drastically, and can not only put the instrument out of tune, but also damage it as well. Even being kept in a temperature regulated area isn’t always enough. Humidity also has a part to play, and keeping it regulated is just as important as the temperature. A Dampit is a wonderful product made specifically for the string family that is soaked in water and then sits inside the f-hole of the instrument when not in use; it will keep the humidity in the case and make sure the wood body does not dry out.
Also, rosin is another thing that can affect the instrument’s playability and sound. If the rosin dust sits on the body of the instrument for too long, it will eat at the lacquer on it and then eat away at the wood itself. Rosin will also affect the strings of the instrument. To avoid that, the instrument and strings need to be wiped down with a dry, untreated cloth after each time it is played. It will keep the residue from building up and extend the life of the instrument. The Giardinellli Microfiber Polishing Cloth is an excellent choice!
The bow, though often forgotten about, also needs care and maintenance. When not in use, the bow hair should be loosened. If it is kept tight, the bow hair will stretch. When that occurs, the bow will either (A) no longer play properly, or (B) It will be so tight, that it’ll snap. Re-hairing a bow and/or buying a new one can be costly, but loosening the hair before it goes into the case will massively extend the life of the bow.
Your instrument is part of the family; keep it in the best shape possible, and it will reward you with a life of beautiful music! Looking for more instrument care tips and tricks? Interested in taking your playing to the next level with private music lessons? Stop by our store, or visit our Facebook and Instagram pages, and keep in touch with your favorite music store!