Care and Maintenance of String Instruments

Carefully follow these guidelines for caring and maintaining your instruments and bows:

  1. Only the player should be allowed to touch the instrument and bow. String instruments and bows are very fragile. Well-meaning parents and curious siblings can easily damage an instrument or a bow without intending to do so.

  2. Keep the instrument and the bow in the case when not in use, with the case latched or completely zipped.

  3. Keep the instrument and bow out of direct sunlight.

  4. Keep the instrument and bow in moderate temperatures only. String instruments and bows warp and crack in extreme temperatures and high humidity.

  5. Clean the instrument and bow after every use. Use a cotton cloth to wipe perspiration and rosin off the instrument and bow stick. Students should keep a cloth for cleaning in the instrument case.

  6. Have all cracks repaired and open seams glued immediately.

  7. Every time after playing, loosen the bow hair. Loosen until just before individual bow hairs begin to touch the stick.

  8. Never touch the bow hair. Do not attempt to clean it.

  9. Hold the instrument only by the neck. Touching the body of the instrument will eventually damage the varnish.

  10. Store music away from the violin or viola case unless there is a specific zippered compartment designed to hold the music.

  11. Rubbing alcohol or an alcohol-based product such as cologne or perfume may be applied to a soft cloth or cotton ball and used to clean the strings, fingerboard, and chin rest. The alcohol must not touch any varnish on the instrument, as it will damage it.

  12. Periodically clean the instrument and bow stick with professional string instrument cleaner applied to facial tissue. Only cleaner manufactured for cleaning string instruments should be used, not wood furniture cleaners.

  13. Replace strings when they break, fray, or become false.

  14. Replace the bow hair annually.