Violin Care and Maintenance Tips

Violin Care Tips
The violin is a sensitive and delicately put-together instrument that needs to be handled with love and care to maintain beauty, structure, and sound. If you give it the proper care and attention it will play beautiful music for years, even centuries, to come.

Storage Tips:

  • Always keep your violin in its case when not in use – even if you’re only setting it down for a moment. If it should fall over it could become seriously damaged. When placing it in the case, do so gently after removing the shoulder pad/rest.
  • Before putting the bow in the case, loosen the hair on the bow so that it’s not taut.
  • Be sure to close your case securely before picking up the case. Make a habit of checking the latches and zippers every time you pick up the case.
  • Store the violin in a temperature and humidity-controlled area out of direct sunlight, drafts, or anything else that might cause temperature variation. A cold floor or a hot wall (such as one that is adjacent to a fireplace) can cause problems for a violin set against it.

Cleaning and Maintenance Tips:

  • Every time you’re finished playing, gently clean the entire instrument, including the chin rest with a clean, soft cloth so that rosin, dust, and oil don’t cause damage.
  • Never clean the violin with water or furniture polish – they will damage the varnish and cause the seams to open. When polishing is needed, which will be very rarely, use only commercial violin polish.
  • If the bridge needs adjusting or seams open, or cracks appear, take it to a professional. Some seams do not use glue and those that do require special glue.
  • For stuck pegs, use peg dope (also called peg compound) to loosen them, but be careful to use only a very spare amount. Peg dope also works for loose pegs, but peg drops/peg grip are made specifically for loose pegs. Again, use only a little.

Caring for the Bow:

  • To tighten the bow, turn the tension screw gently until the bow stick and hair are a pencil width apart.
  • Never touch the bow strings with your uncovered fingers – the oils in your skin will make it too slippery against the string.
  • To rosin the bow, hold the rosin in one hand and then place the bow hair flat against the rosin and move the bow back and forth slowly. Be careful not to use too much or too little.
  • Always loosen the bow hair before putting it away.
  • Play often to reduce the risk of bow bugs in your case. If your bow shows signs of bow bug damage, vacuum the case and then put the open and empty case in indirect sunlight for a few days.
  • To avoid bow bugs when you will not be playing for an extended amount of time, you can either expose the empty case and bow to indirect sunlight for a short period or you can keep small cotton ball that has been soaked (and is now dry) with camphor or rosemary oil inside the case.