How to care for your violin

Workshop Insights
13 December 2751

Well-made violins can last a lifetime, which is apparent from the Stradivari and Amati instruments that still exist today. Of course, this is only when your instrument is well looked after. A huge part of owning a violin is caring for the instrument, and it is this level of care that ensures the violin remains in exceptional condition, with excellent sound quality and very little damage.

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to looking after your violin, read below for some expert advice:

Temperature & humidity

If you live somewhere with a particularly cold climate, this can affect the condition of your violin. Consider sourcing a violin case that has specifically built-in features to deal with these extreme temperatures or use a humidifier.

High levels of humidity can also be detrimental to the quality of your violin, having a negative effect on the quality of sound. By storing your violin in the proper case, this will keep the level of humidity at an ideal concentration, between 50% and 60%.

Cleaning

Remaining rosin on the strings or body of the violin can cling to the instrument, causing a sticky residue on the surface. This can seriously affect the finish of the instrument, and you may have to have your violin re-touched. To ensure this doesn’t happen, use a soft, dry cloth to wipe off the rosin dust after playing. It is also important not to use alcohol, solvents or hot water, as these can strip the violin’s varnish.

Storing your violin

To keep your violin in top working condition, consider investing in a good quality case. A violin case is essentially a tailormade cushion for your instrument, reducing the risk of scratches. Your instrument should always be stored away when it is not being used, and remember to remove the violin shoulder rest before storing.

Avoid too much rosin

It is important to rosin the bow regularly, however too much rosin on the bow can create a harsh, scratchy sound. When there is an abundance of rosin, this causes a high level of friction between the bow and violin string, which then causes the unpleasant sound.

The hair of the bow

The horsehair on the bow is delicate, meaning the oils from your skin could damage the texture and its ability to cling to the strings. The bow should be tightened prior to playing and loosened before storing, but be sure not to over-tighten the bow as this may result in warped wood.

Strings

Although it does depend on how frequently you play, we would recommend changing the violin strings every six to twelve months. As the rosin builds up over time, the strings will become worn, affecting the sound quality of the violin and a risk of string breakage. This is a must for any violinists to ensure the longevity of the instrument. For the musicians with less experience, they should find a professional for guidance before learning to do it themselves.

Keep the pegs sufficiently fitted

For a violin to be played well, there must be a set of well-functioning, well-fitted tuning pegs. If the instrument is difficult to tune because the pegs stick, apply a small amount of peg paste or compound. If the pegs still aren’t working appropriately, consider taking your violin to a luthier.

Visit a Luthier

Like you’d take yourself or a family member to the doctor for a check-up, your violin should have the same care and attention. Take it to a violin maker or luthier to keep it in perfect condition and for it to be appropriately cleaned and maintained. To find out more about the maintenance services we offer at Amorim Fine Violins, click here.