Finely crafted instruments, like the violin, create rich, wonderful sounds and fill our world with harmonious refrains. And, if you take good care of your violin, it can be an investment that will last a lifetime and beyond. Indeed, many violins that were crafted by gifted artisans hundreds of years ago are still being played and creating beautiful music today.
A violin, like other similar instruments, actually gets better with age, as long as it is being played. The more you play it, the deeper, fuller, and more delightful it sounds. But, your violin needs more consideration than just regular practice; it also requires special care and maintenance. Without it, even the most exclusive quality instruments will lose their playability and eventually require expensive repairs.
Therefore, knowing that the violin needs special attention, many beginners wonder exactly what they need to do to make their violin last. It’s really not very difficult, though. Just follow these simple procedures and your violin will offer a lifetime of playing enjoyment.
An Organic Work of Art
Quality violins are crafted with organic materials. The wood that’s used to create your violin is chosen for its ability to resonate, but the pieces are delicately crafted. You violin “opens up” or resonates the more you practice on it. However, neglecting your violin can cause it to stagnate and become unplayable, especially if it’s left to collect dust on a shelf or in a closet.
But, you can make sure that your violin lasts, even if you can’t play it every day by following some very simple rules about humidity and temperature. The amount of moisture in the air has a big impact on your violin. It will expand and contract depending on the variations in humidity, which can cause seams to open, pegs to loosen or swell, and a host of other issues. Plus, exposing your violin to extreme temperatures can cause serious harm. Hairline cracks that you may not have noticed can expand to huge proportions depending on the severity of the heat or cold, and they are very expensive to fix.
Never leave your violin in a vehicle!
Once, when purchasing a stringed instrument for a holiday, the dealer explained that it should be treated as if it were a puppy. No one would leave their puppy in the trunk of their car, or lock a beloved pet inside with the windows rolled up, right? The same is true for your violin.
Consider purchasing an in-case, or room humidifier. This can help modulate the humidity around your violin.
Daily Maintenance and Care
Of course, you should protect your violin from breakage and damage by placing it in a hard case when you’re not playing. Don’t leave it sitting on a chair or propped up against a wall where it could be kicked, smashed or sat upon. And, fabric material, baggage-type cases aren’t really the best option. It’s a good idea to invest in a quality hard case if your violin wasn’t part of an outfit.
These tips will keep you violin in top condition:
- Spot clean the strings and body of your violin after each playing session. Resin dust from the bow and oils in your skin can build up on the strings and surface. Use a dry, dust-free cloth to gently wipe down your violin after practice to remove it. It’s also a good idea to wash your hands before you play.
- Never apply regular furniture polish on your violin. Your violin dealer can recommend the right cleaning supplies that will remove gunk or other build-up, but the type that is suitable for furniture and home use can damage your violin’s finish.
- Repair small cracks and seam separations immediately. Waiting will only worsen the problem and increase the price of a repair. However, attending to these—very normal—issues early on will ensure that your violin always sounds its best.
- If you’re not sure about the process, have your dealer or another violinist replace your strings. There are certain techniques involved and ignoring them can cause problems such as Soundpost displacement and tuning difficulties.
Your quality-crafted violin was meant to last for many, many years. By spending just a little time caring for it properly, you can make sure that it will.