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String Tech Tips

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String Instrument Care Tips

Contributed by: Kevin Rouch - Mishawaka Shop Manager and Director of Quality Control for String Instruments

  • After each use always use a lint free cleaning cloth to wipe dust and rosin off your instrument. This will insure that rosin does not build up and hurt the varnish. The varnish does more than just make your instrument look great it also protects the wood and helps the instrument to sound nice.
  • The safest place for your instrument when it’s not being played is in the case. Almost all damage done to an instrument is when it out of the case and not being played.
  • Periodically check your bridge to make sure it’s standing straight and is not warping or leaning forward. As you tune your instrument the bridge will slowly start to be pulled towards the fingerboard. If it leans to far forward it will start to warp and possibly even fall down. The bridge should set centered between the inner notches of the f-holes and centered with the fingerboard. It should fit perfectly to the top of the instrument with no gaps. The side facing the tailpiece should be perpendicular to the top and the side facing the fingerboard should have a slight lean to it.
  • Always keep your instrument away from extremes in temperature and humidity. Keep it out of the direct sun and away from heat vents. Avoid putting your instrument in the trunk of a car for any length of time. Extremes in heat and humidity can damage the varnish and cause serious cracks and damage to the neck of the instrument. These can be very expensive repairs.
  • Never do at home repairs. If you think something is wrong with your instrument take it right away to a trained repair tech. One wrong move can do great harm and really hurt the value of your instrument and be expensive to correct.
  • If you seem to be having issues tuning your instrument a couple of things to look at are the fine tuners. Make sure they are not turned all the way down. If they are loosen them up and retune with your pegs. Another thing to look at is where the string goes into the peg. After a while the peg starts to push through the peg box and if the string hole is not in the correct place the string may be pushing against the outer peg box wall preventing the peg from holding in place. If this happens take your instrument in to a trained string tech and they will fix it for you.
  • When you need to replace your strings. Do not take all of the strings off at once but replace one at a time. This will keep the tension on the top of the instrument and help keep the sound post in the correct place.
  • Remember that your bow is just as important as your instrument. Loosen the hair after every use and remember that it may need to be rehaired every 6-12 months depending on how often you play.
  • It’s a good idea to take your instrument in once a year for a check up by a highly trained Q and F string repair tech.