Taking Care of & Cleaning Your Bowed Instrument

Cleaning artworkNow that you've bought your new violin, viola, cello or double bass, it’s important you respect and take care of it. After-all, you wouldn't buy a brand new car and immediately start driving it carelessly and never clean it, would you? 

A neglected instrument will sound bad and will be difficult to play and before you know it, your enthusiasm will fade and all your hard work will amount to nothing. 

Keeping your bowed instrument clean and well maintained is a crucial aspect of any good musician’s routine. The good news is that it’s really simple to achieve with correct understanding, a little diligence and the correct cleaning accessories.

Here’s how to keep your Hidersine instrument in tip-top condition...

 

A clean slate!

Let’s face it, our skin gets oily and sweaty. This is easily transferred to your violin, viola, cello or double bass when you’re playing. If left to reside on the body and fingerboard, these natural secretions will start to take their toll on your precious instrument and can even strip its varnish.

Using a specially designed cleaning and varnish reviver solution such as Hidersol or Hill Preparation Cleaning Liquid, apply a small amount to a dry, lint-free microfibre cloth and wipe down the body after you’ve finished playing. Trust us, you’ll really feel the benefit the next time you pick up and play your instrument.

Make sure to clean your fingerboard and bow too - but use a second solution-free microfibre cloth for this. Do not apply varnish reviver to your fingerboard or bow. HERE’S our guide to cleaning your bow and fittings.

*Never use solvent or alcohol-based materials. Hot water is a no-no too as it can cause your instrument’s tonewood to swell and become damaged.

 

Let’s Remove That Rosin Residue

As part of your post playing routine, make sure to wipe away rosin residue and dust. That’s the layer of white dust you’ll notice on your strings, fingerboard and body, (it gets everywhere!)

Our world famous Hidersine Rosin is made from a carefully selected blend of wax and pine resin and is still made in the same way, using the same recipe first developed by Francis Hider almost 100 years ago. It is specially developed to cause no harm to your instrument – however, it will adhere to your instrument over time and make it feel sticky and unpleasant to play.

Had enough of rosin dust? Why not try our Reserve21 rosin? An exquisite handmade rosin enriched with British beeswax for a fabulously low-dust, high grip playing experience!  

  

Strings! Clean Them / Change Them

stringsAlong with your instrument’s body, fingerboard and bow, it’s important that you clean your strings regularly. Old, dirty and worn strings not only sound bad, but they will also make your instrument harder to play. They can even cause injury to your wrist and shoulders as you will have to apply greater pressure to produce notes, thus causing undue stress to your body.

Cleaning your strings is a quick and easy job, and something you should do after every playing session. Simply loosen the strings slightly and wipe down the entire length of the strings from the tailpiece to the top of the fingerboard with a dry, lint-free microfibre cloth. Remember to clean the underside of your strings too and pay special attention to the bridge and tailpiece areas as this is where that pesky rosin dust easily builds up.

Using a specially designed string cleaner is a great idea. Here at Hidersine, our instrument technicians use Kyser String Cleaner & Extender in the workshop. Although there are other brands available, we find this does an excellent job!

*Never use solvent or alcohol-based materials. Hot water is a no-no too as it can cause your instrument’s tonewood to swell and become damaged.

The frequency to which you change your strings is dependent on several factors such as how often you play, your general level of instrument maintenance, and string type (gut-core strings wear more quickly and therefore require changing more often than steel-core). We recommend changing your strings around every 4-6 months if you’re someone who plays and practices every day. If you’re performing too, you’ll want to change them around every 3 months.

 

Storage & Transportation

Now you have your precious bowed instrument, it’s vital you store it and transport it in a good quality case or gigbag. Although it’s tempting to display your new violin, viola, cello or double bass in your front room so you can stare lovingly at it even when you’re not playing, this is a bad idea! Bowed instruments are delicate and leaving yours out of its case means it can easily be knocked over, sat on or struck with something. Give yourself the peace of mind that it is safely tucked up in its protective case away from harm.

Always pay attention to temperature! As with many musical instruments made of natural woods, they are sensitive to extremely hot and cold temperatures, humidity and moisture. Never place your instrument by a hot fire or leave it in a particularly cold or damp room – and definitely never leave it outside! Remember, storing it in its case helps provide some protection from temperature changes. Even if you live somewhere with a temperate climate, make sure to invest in a humidifier - especially if live somewhere especially dry, hot or cold.

Finally... never transport your violin or bowed instrument without a padded gigbag or case. Jumping on the bus to your next rehearsal or lesson with your violin in your hands without a case will soon see you forking out for a replacement. All Hidersine instrument outfits come complete with a hardcase or padded gigbag specially designed for maximum protection. Our extensive range of cases offer comfortable, lightweight, easy and safe ways for you to travel with your instrument.

 

Viruses… what can I do about them?

CHD1MWe’ve covered how your hands and fingers leave natural oils and secretions on your instrument. If you’re concerned about bugs, germs and viruses living on your violin after others have picked it up or played it, it’s a good idea to make sure you have an instrument disinfectant included in your accessory arsenal.

Our friends at Champion have developed a UK-made Disinfectant that has been formulated to safely disinfect your bowed instrument. Featuring an anti-viral and anti-bacterial formula and a non-hazardous and fragrance-free solution, it’s a great way to ensure that little extra peace of mind when it comes to keeping your instrument germ-free. Simply spray a small amount onto the required area and leave for at least 30 seconds then wipe off with a dry, clean cloth. Where a deep clean is required, spray area a few times and allow solution to sit on the surface for 15 to 20 minutes. 

Have a 'google' for Champion Disinfectant and you'll find it easily. 

 

 

 

 

 What about taking care of your bow? Find out how HERE.

The Hidersine Company, United Kingdom
C/o Barnes & Mullins Ltd, Grays Inn House, Unit 14, Mile Oak Industrial Estate, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY10 8GA