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How to Maintain Your String Instrument in Top Condition

Tips and Tricks for Keeping Your String Instrument in Prime Shape

By AMRYTT MEDIAPublished about a year ago 4 min read

To keep your violin, viola, cello, or double bass in top condition, it's important to perform regular maintenance. Neglecting this upkeep can affect the sound quality and lifespan of your instrument.

According to LVL Music Academy, proper maintenance for string instruments is necessary. That's why we've created a comprehensive guide on how to maintain your instrument. Our guide covers topics such as cleaning, changing strings, adjusting the bridge, maintaining the bow, and proper storage. By following these guidelines, you can ensure your instrument remains in excellent condition and can be enjoyed for many years to come.

Cleaning and Polishing Your Instrument

Regularly cleaning and polishing your string instrument is crucial for maintaining its appearance and sound quality. Dirt, grime, and rosin buildup can negatively affect your instrument's resonance and cause damage in the long run.

Here’s How to Clean Your Instrument:

  • Gather your cleaning supplies: a soft cloth or microfiber towel, a small brush, and a cleaning solution specifically designed for string instruments.
  • Wipe down the instrument with a soft cloth or towel to remove any loose dirt or dust.
  • Use the small brush to gently remove any rosin buildup from the strings and bow hairs.
  • Apply a small amount of cleaning solution to a fresh section of the cloth or towel and wipe down the entire instrument, including the strings, fingerboard, and chin rest. Avoid getting any moisture on the bridge or soundpost.
  • Use a dry section of the cloth or towel to remove any excess moisture.
  • Finally, use a clean section of the cloth or towel to apply a small amount of polishing solution and gently buff the instrument's finish until it shines.

Remember to avoid cleaning your instrument too frequently, which can be harmful

Changing Strings

Regularly changing your instrument's strings is crucial for maintaining its sound quality. Over time, strings can lose their tension and tonal quality, resulting in a dull or muted sound.

To change your instrument's strings, follow these steps:

  • Begin by turning the tuning pegs counterclockwise to loosen the old strings.
  • Once the strings are slack enough, use wire cutters to clip them near the bridge.
  • Remove the old strings from the tailpiece and the pegs, taking care not to scratch the instrument or damage the bridge.
  • Take out the new strings from their packaging and remove any kinks or twists by stretching them out with your hands.
  • Starting with the thinnest string, thread it through the hole in the tailpiece and then loop it around the corresponding tuning peg.
  • To tighten the string, slowly spin the tuning peg in the clockwise direction, being careful to keep the string positioned correctly in the nut and bridge.
  • Repeat this process for each string, making sure to wind each string neatly and evenly around the peg.
  • Once all strings are installed and tightened to pitch, tune the instrument using an electronic tuner or tuning fork.

Adjusting the Bridge, Maintaining the Bow, and Storing Your Instrument

In addition to cleaning and changing strings, maintaining your string instrument involves adjusting the bridge, maintaining the bow, and proper storage. These steps are essential for maintaining your instrument's playability, intonation, and condition.

To Adjust the Bridge, Follow These Steps:

  • Loosen the strings to take the pressure off the bridge.
  • Use a small tool, such as a bridge setter or a pencil, to adjust the position of the bridge. The bridge should be perpendicular to the instrument and centered between the f-holes.
  • Once the bridge is in the correct position, tighten the strings to put the pressure back on the bridge.

To Maintain the Bow, Follow These Steps:

  • Use a soft cloth or microfiber towel to wipe down the bow after each use. This will remove any rosin buildup and prevent it from becoming too sticky.
  • Apply a small amount of bow cleaner or conditioner to a fresh section of the cloth or towel. Use this to clean the bow stick and hair, taking care not to get any moisture on the frog or screw.
  • Store the bow in a bow case or sleeve to protect it from damage.

To Store Your Instrument, Follow These Recommendations:

  • Keep your instrument in a hardshell case with a soft, protective interior lining. This will protect it from scratches, dings, and other damage.
  • Store your instrument in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. Avoid exposing your instrument to sudden changes in temperature or humidity.
  • Use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity level inside your case. Maintain a humidity level between 40-60% to prevent the wood from cracking or warping.

By following these steps, you can keep your string instrument in top condition and ensure optimal playability and sound quality.


In summary, regular maintenance of your string instrument is crucial for optimal performance, sound quality, and longevity. This includes cleaning and polishing, changing strings, adjusting the bridge, maintaining the bow, and proper storage. By prioritizing these maintenance steps, you can ensure that your instrument stays in top condition and continues to sound great for years to come.


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