Stringed Instrument Maintenance Guide
Always keep your instrument and bow in its case or bag when it is not in use. Make sure that the bow hair has been loosened before putting it in the proper protective compartment.
Never expose the instrument to direct sunlight, sudden changes in temperature, or changes in humidity. When it is not in use, store it in a place with moderate humidity, away from radiators or hot air vents. Also, keep the instrument away from doors or areas where there are sudden drafts. Never leave an instrument in a car in extremely hot or cold weather.
Stringed instruments need at least 50% relative humidity to maintain their adjustments and integrity. Use a DAMPIT to insure that sudden changes in humidity do not crack your instrument or cause it to go out of adjustment. The DAMPIT should be remoistened daily whenever the heat is on in your house and especially during the winter months when it is cold and dry.
Rosin dust should be removed after each playing. Always keep a special cleaning cloth to wipe down the strings and the body of your instrument in your case. Periodic polishing with special string instrument polish will help maintain the luster. DO NOT USE ALCOHOL. It is a solvent and can damage the varnish.
Regular attention to the following details will help keep your instrument in the best playing condition.
Even the finest instruments in the world cannot sound their best with old or poor quality strings. Strings will usually go bad long before they ever break. Look for changes in appearance on the surface of the string, such as being able to see under the tightly wrapped top, or “dents” in the textual consistency of the string. Avoid using cheap steel strings when you have a quality stringed instrument for it can seriously compromise the quality of sound the instrument makes.
If your tuner has a lever under the tailpiece, guard against the lever touching the top of the instrument this can seriously bruise the wood under the tailpiece. To reduce the depression of the lever, merely turn the tuner screw to the left (counter clockwise). If you wish to use more then one tuner, consider having us install a WHITTNER tailpiece with the built-in tuners for ease of tuning.
The proper fit and operation of the pegs is important to both the health of the instrument and the convenience of the player. A common complaint is the sticking or excessive slipping of the pegs. Humidity often plays a large part in causing this problem. If this is a consistent problem, have our shop adjust the pegs for a better fit.
A fresh hank of bow hair can be expected to last for 120 playing hours. This means your bow should be re-haired once every six months if you play 1/ 2 an hour a day, five days a week. Loosen the bow when it is not in use, and always keep fingers and polish away from the bow hair.
THE BRIDGE MUST BE KEPT IN A PERPENDICULAR POSITION. TUNING THE STRINGS TENDS TO PULL IT FORWARD. Check its position frequently. If neglected, the bridge may warp, even break. If it requires adjusting, please see our shop’s repairmen.
If the chinrest is loose or is touching the tailpiece, it may produce a buzzing sound. See our repairmen for an adjustment so that the chinrest is firmly secured.
Unless the post is fitted properly, the tone of the instrument will be disturbed. If it moves, falls, or changes shape, loosen the string tension slightly and ask our repair shop to reposition it correctly.
An instrument demands continuous care. Players should inspect the strings, bridge, and bow at least once a week. Also, carefully look for any signs of cracks or open glue joints on the wood.
Check your instrument regularly to note whether the top or back has become unglued from the ribs at any point. If so, do not neglect this; see our repairmen as quickly as possible. The longer this is unattended to the worse the situation becomes for the instrument.
Check periodically for cracks that may develop, especially during cold, dry weather. Keep all polishes away from open cracks, and bring the instrument to our shop so that the cracks will be glued as quickly as possible.