Emma Hardy

Instrument Maintenance Guide


Violin / Viola / Cello basic maintenance tips


Keep the instrument away from radiators and draughts

Violins, violas and cellos like stability. If you leave your instrument near a radiator or somewhere that periodically turns very cold, you may find it develops cracks or goes out of tune constantly.


Keep it clean!

Yes leaving the rosin on your violin signals to everyone how hard you’ve been practicing, but you’ll also find that the rosin eventually melts to form a sticky layer on top of your varnish that in some cases is nigh on impossible to remove. This can affect the tone, aesthetic and value of your instrument, so at the end of each playing session wipe it down with a dry microfibre cloth.


Check the angle of your bridge

As the strings are tuned, it can gradually pull the bridge towards the fingerboard. If your bridge is leaning forward gently pull the top of the bridge back so that both sides of the feet are making contact with the violin body (or ask a teacher/luthier to do this for you). Leaving it hanging out like the Leaning Tower of Pisa means that eventually the bridge will fall over completely, which in some cases can damage the body of the violin underneath the tailpiece (it also makes an almighty crashing noise!).


Maintain your pegs

Pegs can sometimes become loose or sticky, you can apply peg paste to stiff pegs but any persistent issues should be checked out by a luthier as you may need new pegs to be fitted.


Loosen your bow

I can’t count the number of times I’ve opened a student’s case and found the bow fully or over tensioned. Leaving the bow like this shortens its lifespan, so always make sure you loosen the hair at the end of your playing session.