The founder of the European String Teachers Association, Yehudi Menuhin, in his book ‘Violin-six lessons with Yehudi Menuhin’ (Faber and Faber), includes a short appendix at the back entitled ‘Care of the violin and Bow’. In it, he makes some sensible suggestions, including:
- Never let rosin or dust accumulate on your instrument
- Wipe your instrument often, but lightly
- Never touch any part of the varnished surface with your fingers
- Use softest old silk or cotton to clean your instrument
- Cotton is especially useful to clean under the tailpiece, fingerboard and bridge
- Insert a thin piece of paper into the narrow spaces of the F holes and bridge to keep them dust and rosin free
- The strings sound better and vibrate more freely when they are wiped clean of rosin
- Every so often inserts a handful of uncooked rice into the F holes. Shake it around inside the instrument and then turn it upside down and shake the rice out again. This helps to remove dust from inside the instrument.
- The pegbox should be cleaned when we change strings.
- Inspect pegs for fit and make sure they move smoothly.
- Use good strings on your instrument. On older instruments, do not use strings of too high a tension as it can crush the sound.
- The bow stick must be absolutely straight. Get your bow rehaired regularly, as soon as the hairs begin to break as uneven hairs may twist and distort the stick.
- Keep your bow stick clean of rosin too.
- If in doubt or in need of any repair, seek a qualified expert.
Wise words indeed from our founder.
If you live in the Oxford/Banbury area of the UK, the local ESTA branch is holding a workshop in Basic Instrument Care Free Workshop for String Teachers.
Over the course of two hours, all your questions on instrument care could be answered.
What makes my stringed instrument speak well and comfortable to play? Come and find out from 23 Violins that will be available to try.
We all have those moments when a child comes into their lesson with the words ‘It broke and my Dad mended it’ and your heart sinks, what will you find in the case? Glued pegs? A Mr Sheen Shine? A backwards bridge? Learn some new strategies to rectify these situations.
The 2-hour workshop will start with a short talk on set up and repairs followed by a practical session where you can have a go at some simple repairs and maintenance.
And most importantly, as it is an ESTA event, come and network, drink tea and eat cake!
When? November 4 2.30-4.30pm
Where? Jubilee Hall, Bloxham near Banbury OX15 4LW
Who? Open to all string players-you don’t have to be a member to come along!
For more information, feel free to contact us.