A good violin, like any fine instrument needs to be maintained to keep its voice and play-ability. Here are essential tips to help you keep you investment in great shape.
Five Essential Steps To Taking Care Of Your Violin
The violin really is a work of art with a timeless sound. They’ve been around since the 1530s, and they’re still used across many modern genres and film scores today.
And like a work of art, a good violin can grow in value over time. Which is why learning how to take care of it is essential in protecting its value and timeless sound.
Keep in mind though, a violin is also an extremely fragile musical instrument. There are so many factors that can negatively impact the sound of a violin, such as temperature changes, physical damages, improper cleaning techniques, and dangerous commercial cleaners.
Which is why we’ve created 5 essential steps to ensuring your violin is well protected.
- Consistently wipe your violin.
- Get a good violin case.
- Control the temperature of your case.
- Avoid harmful violin cleaning products.
- Visit a luthier once a year.
By following these 5 steps, you’ll ensure the sound of your instrument is well preserved. And the thought of someone playing your violin a few hundred years from now is pretty surreal and exciting!
Creating a simple habit of cleaning your violin after each practice is probably the most important thing you can do to protect your violin.
It may seem like a small and insignificant step, but the vast majority of violins that lose their quality sound is due to inconsistent cleaning.
By not cleaning the violin, rosin dust starts to build and solidify. Resulting in white patches of residue that impacts the varnish and sound of your violin.
We suggest using two pieces of microfiber cleaning cloth. One for wiping the rosin, and one for wiping the rest of the violin. Try not to use one cleaning cloth for wiping everything.
Because when you wipe the rosin dust, you could spread it to other parts of the violin if you’re using the same piece of cloth.
2. Get A Good Violin Case
A good violin case does two things. It protects your violin from physical damage, and it protects your violin from harmful temperatures.
Now there’s quite a lot of information when it comes to finding a good violin case. So we suggest checking out this violin case buyer’s guide. But here are a few quick tips on finding a good case.
- Avoid cases with no brand names. There’s a reason these companies don’t want to build a reputation!
- A great case is protective, durable, lightweight, and temperature-resistant. However, having all 4 components can be pricy. To work within a budget, consider the top 2 to 3 components that are most important to you.
- Wooden cases can be heavy, but they’re also more temperature-resistant than most modern cases.
- Carbon fiber cases are light and protective. But they also heat up very quickly under the sun. They’re not ideal for hot climates.
- Hardshell cases like fiberglass are more water-resistant than canvas cover and foam cases.
- Any carbon fiber or fiberglass case under $150 is probably not real (as in they use paper-thin materials). You’re better off getting a $100 wooden case.
- Contoured cases are light, compact, and easy to carry. But a lot of them don’t have space for sheet music or shoulder rests.
- Cases with removable accessory pouches can be very useful! You can bring all your accessories with you to your music stand.
3. Control The Temperature Of Your Case
One of the most overlooked aspects of protecting your violin is temperature control. Dangerous temperatures and humidity levels can have a huge impact on your violin.
If it’s too dry, the wood of your violin can crack. If it’s too humid, the wood of your violin can expand, thus warping the sound, along with making the pegs impossible to turn.
As mentioned before, a good case can definitely help. But if you’re in a location where humidity levels can range between 50% to 90%, there’s only so much a case can do.
The ideal humidity range for violins is between 45% and 55%. A good humidity kit will ensure that the internal humidity of your case is well regulated.
4. Avoid Harmful Violin Cleaning Products
As mentioned in step 1, cleaning your violin with a cleaning cloth after you practice each time is crucial. Because it also lessens the need for using violin cleaning products.
Many commercial cleaners do more harm than good. They’re often made of alcohol, oils, and other solvents that do a good job of removing rosin residue, but they also remove and damage the violin’s varnish.
Some commercial oils also give your violin a nice shine. However, those oils often sit on top of the rosin dust, making the instrument even harder to clean after the oil has been applied.
However, there are definitely good violin cleaning product kits out there too. Ones that an experienced luthier would use him or herself – which brings us to step 5.
5. Visit A Luthier Once A Year
Visiting a luthier once a year is the best way to ensure your violin is still in good health, even if you constantly clean your violin and make sure it’s well protected with a good case.
Experienced luthiers can take preventive measures to make sure your violin’s sound is well preserved. They can also clean your violin using the cleaning solutions they know and trust.
Plus they have the experience of knowing just how much cleaning solution to use. After all, they’re the ones that are checking and fixing violins on a daily basis!
Final Thoughts on Taking Care of Your Violin
Taking good care of your violin is really about the simple daily habits you create. In fact, you should be trying your best to avoid “fixing” your violin.
Too often we see violinists with months of rosin residue buildup on their instruments resorting to “the best” cleaning solutions and polishes to instantly clean their violins.
But this method causes more harm than good, and it can be easily avoided just by wiping your instrument after each time you practice.
You also want to protect your violin from external forces that are out of your control. Such as someone tripping over your case or inclement weather.
Which is why you need a protective, durable, and temperature-resistant violin case. Along with some humidity control packs if you’re living in more extreme climates.
And lastly, visiting the luthier is like visiting your doctor. It’s important for your instrument to get an annual checkup just to get a professional’s opinion on how well it’s being taken care of.