Basic String Instrument Maintenance

September 12, 2019

By Dylan Chan

Rosin Your Bow, But Not Too Much

Rosin is sticky. Is allows your bow to vibrate the strings of your instrument. Without it, the bow would just glide noiselessly across the strings. However, using too much will cause more dust and grime to stick to the hairs, especially at the frog. All you really need before each session, is two or three strokes of rosin.

Clean Your Instrument

On the subject of rosin, I say again. Rosin is STICKY. If the white rosin dust is not cleaned off, dirt, dust, and who knows what will stick to the dust affected area. Getting buildup removed and your instrument polished can be expensive, so try to keep your instrument as clean as possible. After each session, use a cloth to wipe off all the rosin dust on your instrument. Don’t forget to clean underneath the overhang of your fingerboard, and your bow too.

Loosen Your Bow When Not in Use

When you tighten your bow, the wood bends under tension. This gives the bow its power, and bounciness. Your bow is like a spring or rubber band. Stretch one out for too long, and it will lose its elasticity. If you want your bow to last longer remember to loosen it before storing it in your case. Remember, lefty loosey, righty tighty.

Store Your Instrument in a Cool Place

Since your instrument is made of wood, it will react to temperature and humidity changes in the environment. Treat it as if it was your baby. Would leave your baby in the car while you go shopping. No! And if you do, shame on you! Try to keep your instrument in a cool place. Room temperature is best.

When In Doubt, Ask Your Luthier

I’m sure your local luthier will be more than happy to answer and questions you have on your instrument. Don’t worry, they don’t bite…at least mine doesn’t.