Care And Maintenance

Some hints on the care and maintenance of your violin

The Bridge

Do not allow the bridge to become tipped forward at the top ( especially when fitting new strings ), until someday it unexpectedly falls down and breaks, and at times splits the belly of the instrument. This is a very common, but inexcusable accident. If the back of the bridge is not at 90 to the belly, is necessary to straighten it by pinching the top of the bridge back until it is at 90. Careful attention to this step must be maintained, if you want the bridge to remain servicable. If you are unsure of this proceedure your teacher should be able to instruct you.

When changing strings, run a lead pencil in the grooves of the bridge and the fingerboard nut, this lubricates the string at these points, and helps to over come them jambing and chattering in their grooves. Do not ever change more than 2 strings at a time when replacing the whole set ( as the sound post may fall over ), change the E and G then the A and D. It is best to change one string at a time, bringing it slowly up to pitch, before moving onto the next string. Pay particular attention to, and correct the bridge leaning forward when bringing the strings up to pitch, and over the next few days, or so as the strings stretches.

The Pegs

If the pegs start to jamb, a smear of soap applied to where it contacts the peg box will free it up. Do not use too much, if the peg starts to slip, it will have worn and will have to be re-fitted.

The Fingerboard

With use, the fingerboard becomes grooved and uneven, due to acidic action of sweat from the fingers, and abrasive action of the strings vibrating against it. All of the grooves etc. must be smoothed off. This procedure is called " shooting the board " and involves the use of a plane, a scraper and sand paper. This shaping of the board is highly critical, and governs the height of the action.

Tailpiece and Gut

Check the tailgut monthly, if the distance between the saddle and tailpiece exceeds 5mm, the tailgut has stretched, and must be shortened or replaced. The E string adjuster. If it becomes a little stiff, undo the adjusting screw and apply a little vaseline, and replace in the body of the adjuster. Do not keep turning the screw until it runs out of adjustment, or the tail touches the belly. get into the habit of backing the screw off until the screw has no contact with the lever, tune the strings up with the peg until it is just under pitch, now turn the screw until the string is in tune.

Cleaning and Daily Maintenance

Get into the habit of cleaning the instrument every time you finish playing it. I do not recommend the use of any propriety cleaners! A soft dry cloth is best. If any dry spots appear, a slightly damp cloth should clean it off. Also check that the bridge is straight.

Study the appearance of the instument when you first get it back from us. Learn to recognize when something ais amiss. Do not leave any disorder for long before getting it attended to.

The Bow

At the commencement of playing for the day, and you have decided that you need to apply more rosin, do not over rosin te hair, as it will only shed what it doesn't need , and a cloud of rosin will be seen as you play ( making a mess over your violin ). ONLY APPLY ROSIN IF YOU FEEL THE BOW IS SLIPPING ON THE STRINGS, OR THE INSTRUMENT FAILS TO SPEAK PROPERLY.

When tightening the hair prior to playing, only tighten the hair until the stick does not contact the strings when playing. Do not over tighten as this places undue pressure on the head of the bow. This is the weakest part of the bow, so exercise caution and try not to drop the bow on the head/tip of the stick.

When tightening the hair and the screw suddenly jambs hard, DO NOT FORCE. As this symptom usually indicates that the hair has stretched, and the brass eyelet in the frog has come into contact with the end of the mortise in the stick. DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE TO CUT AWAY THE STICK TO GIVE MORE ADJUSTMENTS!! Have the hair shortened or the bow re-haired.

When you have finished playing for the day ALWAYS loosen the tension on the hair, and wipe the stick clean removing all traces of moisture from the frog, and the butt area. Make certain when you put the bow in the case that its secured properly in the case, and the case also is shut properly.

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