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Stringed Instrument Care Guide For Beginners

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

Avoid placing your hands directly on varnished parts of your instrument.

  • If you're sharing a stringed instrument in school, we strongly recommend that special care be taken to thoroughly wash your hands before and immediately after playing the instrument. Small alcohol wipes can be used to clean the strings in-between playing. Take special care NOT to allow the alcohol to come in contact with anything other than the instrument's strings as alcohol will burn or melt the finish on your stringed instrument!

  • Take care that jewelry, zippers and buttons don't come into contact with your instrument.

  • Don't store your shoulder rest or sponge on your instrument or in your instrument case. Use a separate bag for storage. (Unless there's a compartment available within your case!)

Violin, viola shoulder rest
Don't jam your violin in the case with the shoulder rest on!
  • Always set your instrument down string-side-up, even when in the case.

  • Never use commercial or household solvents on your instrument. If you need to use a polish or cleaner, purchase one specifically for string instruments and try it first on an inconspicuous spot to ensure your varnish compatibility.

  • Use an instrument polish every two to four weeks to keep rosin from building up on your instrument. Once the rosin builds up, it can be difficult to remove! So stay on top of this!

  • Replace your strings every 12 months. Ask a teacher or experienced friend to help you change your strings the first time or bring your instrument in and we'll do it for you!

  • Do not replace all strings at once, replace them one at a time so as not to reduce string tension, and have the soundpost or bridge fall down! Always wash your hands before replacing strings.

  • If your strings are breaking repeatedly, bring your instrument to our technician to inspect the nut and bridge grooves, and make necessary adjustments.

  • Use the tuning pegs to tune your instrument first, then make minor adjustments with the fine tuners. Peg drops can keep tuning pegs from slipping. We recommend that a first-time student not touch the pegs. Alternatively, the fine tuners (pictured below) are a much easier way to make minor tuning adjustments to your strings!

  • A small tuner, such as the Micro Violin Tuner, or Snark clip-on tuner, is helpful and inexpensive to make tuning and string changes quick and painless. Another upside is that you'll reduce downtime and almost anyone can have success tuning an instrument this way!

  • Take care of your bow! Don't touch the hair of your bow, as finger oils can keep rosin from sticking. The bow also is fragile, and it may shatter if care isn't used. No sword fights! Remember, it's not a lightsaber! If the hair on your bow is thinning, bring it in and we'll either repair it or replace it! Glasser® Bows has a terrific refurbishing program that we take part in. So, the cost of getting a like-new bow has been greatly reduced!

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