Very Basic Fiddle Care

  • Store your fiddle securely in a good case, and keep it tuned. Strings will loosen with time and their tension should be maintained. Even your sound post might fall out of place if there is little tension on the strings..
  • Protect your fiddle from temperature extremes, direct sunlight and any knocks. Keep an eye out for any joint, or surface cracks. Have a good luthier check any cracks as they can become much worse, sometimes quickly.
  • Be sure to loosen the bow hair after use. Do not over tighten it when playing. One good player has told me that he has enough tension on the hair as long as the hair does not touch the stick when he plays.
  • Keep the humidity up and as constant as possible. Not only is the sound of a dry fiddle less appealing, dryness can cause several structural problems. See a reputable dealer, or instructor about good ways to control humidity around your violin, especially in our dry Canadian Winters.
  • Wipe your strings with a soft, clean cloth after use. The oil from some players fingers can cause problems, and rosin can coat the strings causing some interesting "tones". Rosin should also be wiped from the body as it might damage some finishes.
  • Use good, proper strings. Be careful of the tension they exert, especially if you have an old violin. Different types and brands of strings may produce significant differences in the basic sound you can produce.
  • Never use a furniture polish on your violin. If you are concerned about its finish, see an experienced dealer, or instructor about proper surface treatments.
  • You can always get better sound from your violin with practice, but having a professional adjust your sound post and bridge might also improve the sound of your fiddle. If you hear any strange new buzzes from your instrument, be sure to have it checked out.
  • Finally, your violin will probably outlast you. Take good care of it for its next player. Start an owner's log which can be passed along with the violin. Jot down its purchase date, any repairs and note interesting experiences it was part of. I wish the old instruments I now play had more history with them. I am sure it was fascinating.