4 Spring cleaning tips for fiddlers

by Katrina VanTyne

instrument careSpring has finally arrived, according to the calendar at least. And though there is still a ton of snow on the ground here in Vermont, there is no better time like the present to do some spring cleaning on your instrument.

Winter can wreak havoc on instruments so now is the time to take a good hard look at it and tidy up some of the things we have neglected over the last few months. Here are a four tips to get you started:

  1. Clean off the Rosin – You should always wipe the rosin powder off your instrument when you are done playing as it can ruin the varnish and wood. We all get lazy every now and again so take the time now to clean off all that rosin build up on the strings and fiddle. You can use a slightly damp cloth to remove the rosin dust however, make sure the cloth is a 100% cotton (I use an old t-shirt), so it doesn’t scratch.
  2. Check the Bridge and Pegs – Because of the constant change in weather during the winter months, we spend a lot of time tuning which can sometimes contribute to the bridge warping or pegs sticking and/or slipping. My advice is to just have your local luthier check both the bridge and pegs for you to make sure everything is in tip-top shape.
  3. Buy New Strings – Good strings help you work less to get the sound out. If you play a lot and you haven’t changed your strings in a while, new strings can literally transform your playing.
  4. Get Your Bow Re-haired – As with anything else, over time things start to fatigue. The same holds true for the hair on your bow. The violin shop recommends you re-hair your bow twice a year. I just got mine re-haired and it feels like a new instrument.

For us Vermonters who woke up to snow this morning, spring feels so far away but take heed it’s coming. Will you be ready?

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