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Orchestral Stringed Instrument Care

AAA Band Rentals, LLC is dedicated to helping our customers realize their greatest musical potential.  

For trouble-free performance and the protection of your investment, we have put together this special care guide for your stringed instrument. For the best use of your instrument, it is important that you give careful attention to the following recommendations.



THE STRING NAMES

The Violin strings are E, A, D, G  from thinnest (highest sounding) to Thickest (Lowest Sounding). The Viola strings are A, D, G, C  from thinnest (highest sounding) to Thickest (Lowest Sounding) The Cello Strings are A, D, G, C from thinnest (highest sounding) to Thickest (Lowest Sounding) The Bass Strings are G, D, A, E from thinnest (highest sounding) to Thickest (Lowest Sounding)

General String Care for Violins, Violas, Cellos, & Double Basses

Do not leave in a hot car or in the trunk of your vehicle. Extreme temperatures are dangerous to a string instrument, as the rosin may melt, destroying the case and instrument itself. Wipe off the instrument after each playing to remove fingerprints and residue. Use a polish every two weeks or every month to keep rosin from building up on the instrument. Loosen the tension on the bow when placing it in the case. Do not attempt to clean the hair on the bow yourself. It requires special denatured alcohol. Do not hang the violin or viola on a music stand; this damages the wood and finishes on the scroll. Do not store shoulder rest in a case or on top of the instrument. It will scratch or crack the body of the instrument. Instead, purchase a shoulder rest carrying pouch to transport the shoulder rest to and from school or practice. Do not set anything on top of the instrument, whether inside or outside of its case; this includes sheet music! Damage occurs easily when items are set on the instrument and the case is closed. Tune the instrument with the tuning pegs first. Then, when you are close to the pitch, use the fine tuners for minor adjustment only. Overusing the fine tuners results in them digging into the body of the instrument and damaging your violin or viola.


Regular attention to the following details will help keep your violin, viola, cello or bass in the best playing condition.


These are things you should do!

Protection:  Always keep the instrument and bow in the case when they are not in use.  Make sure the bow is secured in proper position with the hair relaxed.

Temperature: Never expose the instrument to sudden or extreme changes in temperature or humidity.  Do not expose it to the sun.  When not in use, store it in a place with moderate humidity, away from radiators or hot air vents.  Never leave an instrument in a car in extreme hot or cold weather. If you bring your violin from a cold area into a warm area, leave it in its case, to change temperature slowly, because cracking of the finish or wood can occur. A good rule-of-thumb is not to leave your violin any place that you would not like to be. So don't leave it in extreme hot or cold environments.

Humidity: Use a humidifier to insure that sudden changes in humidity don’t crack your instrument or cause it to go out of adjustment.  The small instrument humidifier should be checked daily for moisture during the winter months. 

Cleaning: Rosin dust should be removed immediately after each playing.  Use a soft cloth-like flannel to clean the body of the instrument. Periodic polishing with SuperSensitive or an approved Violin Polish, this will help maintain your instrument's luster.  DO NOT USE ALCOHOL.  It is a solvent and can damage the varnish.


The Bridge: The feet of the bridge should always be aligned with the inner notches cut in the F-holes.  It 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, grasp the bridge at both upper corners with the thumb and first fingers of each hand while holding the instrument firmly braced.  Then gently move the top of the bridge to a perpendicular position or ask your instructor or our repair shop for help.

Strings: Old strings are lifeless, false and dull sounding. Replace them with good, fresh strings.  The finest instrument cannot sound its best with poor strings.  Put new strings on one at a time. Guard against the bridge being pulled forward while tuning new strings up to pitch.

String Tuners: 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.  To reduce the depression of the lever, merely turn the screw to the left (counter-clockwise), then raise the pitch with the peg.

Chin-rest: If the rest is loose, or close enough to touch the Tailpiece, it may produce a buzzing sound.  Fix the rest firmly by inserting a metal pin in the small hole in each chin-rest barrel.  Turn the barrels to tighten-not too tight- just enough to fix the rest firmly.

Things to be done only by a qualified AAA Musical Instrument Repair Technician

Bow Rehairing: Your bow hair has tiny teeth which, with the help of rosin, grip the strings and pull the sound out of your instrument.  With use, the hair’s ability to grip the strings and pull a beautiful sound is reduced. The result is a scratchy, harsh sound.  

Fingerboard:  Don’t let the grooves develop under the strings.  Grooves prohibit free vibration of the strings.  Be sure the board has a sufficient concave dip.  We will also check the grooves in the nut.  They may be worn too deep.

Summer and Winter bridges: In warm weather, the tops of many cellos tend to swell upward. For some instruments, this raises the bridge and lifts the strings too high above the fingerboard for comfortable playing.  A lower bridge may be required.  In cold weather, the top is at its lowest level.  Then, a higher bridge may be required.  Otherwise, the strings will be too close to the fingerboard to permit free vibration. 

Soundpost: If the post was fitted during the cold weather it may be too short for summer use when the top raises.  Conversely, if it was fitted in warm weather, it may be too long for winter use when the top subsides.  Unless the post fits properly, the tone will be disturbed.  If it falls or moves, loosen the string tension slightly and ask one of our repair technicians to reposition it. 

Open Seams: 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- visit our repair shop.

AAA Band Rentals has a complete shop staffed with string repair professionals capable of replacing strings to rebuilding string basses! Feel comfortable trusting your instrument to us for any repairs it may need.



A violin being rebuilt.

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