How to Maintain Your Violin or Cello

Keeping a cello or violin in top working condition.


How to Take Care Of Your Cello and Violin



To keep an instrument and bow in good working condition, certain procedures are essential. This article considers how to take care of your cello or violin.

After playing, the best place for an instrument is in its case. It is essential to unwind the bow, just enough to take off the tension, but not enough to make the hairs floppy. With a yellow duster, wipe off any rosin from the bow stick and from the front of the instrument. This is important to preserve the varnish. Rosin can melt into the varnish, either through accumulation or on a particularly hot day.

A cello should be kept out of direct sunlight, away from radiators, and in a room in which the air is not too dry. Central heating can cause problems in this way, especially in flats. There is a commercial device, the ‘Dampit’ that can be inserted in a cello to protect against excessively dry air. In some cases a humidifier might be advisable.

With sudden changes of climate, the seams of a violin or cello may come open. The seams are lightly glued, and designed to come apart before the table cracks. The front, or table, is made from spruce, which is a soft wood. If a seam comes open you may get a buzz. Seams should be regularly checked, as warping can occur if they are not reglued promptly.

When lifting a cello that has been laid sideways on either a carpet or hard floor, always lift it straight up, without sliding it towards you. Never touch the bow hair to see if the bow is wound up enough - do it by eye.


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