How to take care of your new violin and bow
You just bought your first violin. Now what? How do you take care of your violin and bow the correct way, to make them last forever? Fiddlerman gives you his best advice.
How to tune your violin
Fiddlerman has a tuner online, that is easy to use: https://fiddlerman.com/wp-content/ViolinTuner/index.html
When you first learn to play, you often struggle with tuning the instrument. Don't be afraid to experiment. You can practice achieving the correct tension by tuning down and up below the pitch until you feel confident that the peg will not slip and not be too difficult to turn. The conical pegs need to be pushed in like a cork in a bottle while turning. Push harder to stick, allow them to come out to loosen their tension. Most often we don’t push in hard enough. Just remember to not over tighten the strings, because there is a risk of breaking them.
Cleaning the violin
Wipe the rosin residue of the violin with a soft cloth after each use. Violin polish can also be used, but is usually not necessary unless you neglect to wipe of your violin after each time you play. Avoid touching the violin with oily or sweaty hands.
How to rosin the bow
Usually a new or a rehaired bow has no rosin on it. If you buy an outfit from Fiddlershop, you always receive a rosin. This is how you rosin your bow:
Cleaning the bow
First of all, never touch the hair. After you are done playing, loosen the hair. The hair shouldn’t be too tight when you aren’t using the bow. Otherwise the stick might warp or the hair might stretch. Wipe off the stick with a soft cloth to remove rosin dust and to slightly polish it, after playing.
Rehairing the bow
How often should you rehair your bow? Well, this depends on how much you play and how much hair you have lost. A soloist might do it as often as every month. Others might rehair their bow once a year. Let’s put it this way: If the bow sounds good, the hair is in good shape and it’s full, there is no need for rehairing.
In extreme cases, you might have to rehair your bow after every performance lol:
Wipe excess rosin off your strings when putting the instrument to rest. A little rosin buildup won't do much to affect the sound but will become difficult to remove if left unattended for a lengthier period of time.
How often should you change the strings? Many experts say that you should change your violin or viola strings every 6 months, if you use them frequently. One should not wait more than a year, that’s maximum. But as a beginner you can sometimes use them longer. When the strings look frayed or when they loose their quality of sound and/or power, it is time. Change the strings one at a time.
Alignment of the bridge
Make sure to always check the bridge so the feet are flat against the top of the violin, and aligned with the notches of the f-hole. Over time, the top of the bridge frequently gets pulled forward. This could make the bridge warp and even fall down. You can carefully adjust the bridge yourself so it stands straight, but loosen the strings a bit beforehand. Here is a video to help you out:
Storing the violin
Many experts advise against leaving the violin out in plain sight, when not being used. Fiddlerman somewhat disagrees. If you leave your instrument out, now and then, you get reminded to practice. Just keep it in a safe place, like on top of a piano or in a bookcase.
Most musicians keep their instrument in their case, when not being used. If you live in a dry climate, you might want to invest in a humidifier for your case. Otherwise the wood can become brittle and crack.
One final advice: Never leave your violin in a car. In the winter it gets too cold and in the summer the glue can melt.