Violin & Bow Care
Humidity: Understanding the effects of humidity on your instrument is one of the most
important aspects of caring for your instrument. Instruments will crack and/or have poor
sound quality if subject to a very dry atmosphere. During the winter months or in a very
dry climate, it is most important that humidity be least at 35% on a hygrometer.
Hygrometers are not always calibrated, so readings from September or October or April
or May should be used as a baseline to try to keep the violin humidity in the Winter
months. Always keep your instruments away from heating devices. The use of a power-
type humidifier in the building the violin is kept is ideal, however, the type of humidifier
placed directly in your case or instrument, such as Dampit, is of some help if the case is
kept closed when not in use. In a damp climate or during the summer months, try to keep
your instrument in an air-conditioned room, but not directly in front of the air
conditioner, where the humidity is less. Humidity and temperature changes, even though
slight, will cause a violin to go out of tune and the violin will not stay in tune for more
than a few hours. This is normal.
Temperature: Do not leave your instrument in a closed auto or a room where the
temperature is very high. Intense heat can damage the varnish and even melt the glue
which holds the instrument together. Allow some time when you bring the instrument in
from the cold to adjust to the temperature before opening the case if it left in a cold part
of the car such as a trunk (best not to leave it in the trunk). Rapid changes in temperature
can cause cracks.
Pegs: Do not try to turn a peg that will not move easily. Your violin repair person
should be consulted to remove struck pegs.
Fingerboard: Grooves develop on the fingerboard from playing and it should be checked
periodically to determine if it needs dressing.
Bridge: Periodically you will have to pull your bridge back or it will warp. We can show
you how to do this.
Soundpost: Don’t try to adjust the soundpost yourself to avoid damage. If the soundpost
should fall, loosen tension on the strings immediately and contact your repair person to
have it properly set up and adjusted. Avoid a fallen soundpost by never removing all
strings at the same time. Change one string at a time.
Violin Finish: After you have finished playing, dust away any loose rosin from the
strings and instrument with a soft, cotton cloth. Do not use synthetic cloths on the violin
because they will scratch the finish.
Bow Finish: For aesthetic purposes, it is good to wipe down the bow stick after playing as well as the ferrule of the bow to remove fingerprints.
It is important to remember to loosen the bow hairs when you are done playing the violin. This preserves the tension in the violin bow stick. This can be done by turning the tension screw or screw towards you. Think tighten to play, loosen to put your bow away.