Severna Park MD

560-B Ritchie Highway Severna Park, MD 21146-2948
Phone: 410-544-1010
Store Hours:
Mon-Fri: 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Sat: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sun: 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Store Services

String Instrument Care with Libby


String Instrument Care with Libby

So you or your child has started playing the violin, viola, cello, or string bass? That’s fantastic, to get started you will need to learn a couple tips on basic instrument maintenance to maintain that shiny, new string instrument in tip top shape!

  1. The Strings; what creates those beautiful and sweet tones (or maybe not so sweet at first), will first thing first need to be tuned to the correct notes. To tune any of the string instruments you will use one of two things; the small fine tuners located at the bottom of the strings, or the large black pegs at the top of the strings. The fine tuners are used for small adjustments and are turned either to the left (while facing the instrument) to lower the pitch or the right (while facing the instrument) to raise the pitch. The pegs are used for more large adjustments, which you are more likely to need to use in the beginning. To tune with the pegs you will need to push them in while you turn them in order to keep them in place; turn up to raise the pitch and down to lower the pitch. Each instrument will tune its’ strings to different notes, starting from the thickest string;

    1. Violin; G, D, A, E

    2. Viola/Cello; C, G, D, A

    3. Bass; E, A, D, G

IMPORTANT NOTE; when using a tuner be sure it is a chromatic tuner set to 440 Hz or the instrument will be tuned to the wrong frequency!

  1. The Bow; in order to make any noise with the bow you must first use your rosin! Just simply take the cap off of your rosin and rub it all over the hair of your new bow, but be careful not to touch the hair with your fingers. You may choose to “scratch” your rosin before using it the first time to make the process a little quicker by taking a piece of metal such as keys and scratching the surface of the rosin up, though if you choose not to scratch the rosin it will still work perfectly fine. The first time you put rosin on your bow it will likely take about 10 minutes because of the new horse hair, you will know you have enough rosin on the hair if when you barely touch the strings of the instrument while moving the bow you can get a nice sound, after apply more rosin as needed.  Every time after playing you must loosen the hair of the bow or risk damaging the wood of the bow. To loosen the hair simply turn the metal screw at the end to the left until you feel the tension release in the frog (the chunky black part) or the hair is visually loose. To retighten the hair before playing just turn the screw to the right until there is enough space between the underside of the hair and the wood for a pinky finger to fit through snuggly.

  2. Cleaning; there is not much cleaning that needs to be done to string instruments, however, the strings must be wiped clean of rosin with a cleaning cloth after every practice session. Otherwise, the wood of the instrument may be polished with wood polish we have available in our store for sale by putting a small amount on a rag and rubbing it in small circles.

  3. Storing The Instrument; be sure to NEVER leave an instrument in a car! The wood of both the instrument and the bow are very temperature and humidity sensitive and can warp or crack under intense heat or cold. Keep the instrument in the case at all times when not playing and store the case in a dry room at a comfortable temperature. During the winter the use of a dampit, a green noodle looking item, will help prevent cracks from the cold. To use you just simply dip it in water, dry till it is damp, then thread it through the f-hole of the instrument.