The violin is a precious and fragile instrument that needs to be treated with great care.
Remember, the sound box is made of wood, an organic material that can change based on the environment it is in.
It can feel hot, cold, dry, and humid. And under extreme conditions, these environmental forces can be damaging to the violin, and its sound.
As we all know, the most significant factor of a violin is its sound. A violin could be worth millions because of its irreplaceable sound.
And violins do appreciate over time. As long as it’s kept in good condition.
In this article, we will go over the top 11 methods of protecting your violin, to ensure that it’s sound and value continues to grow.
1. Treat Your Violin Like A Child
If your child runs out into the cold weather, you make sure he or she puts on a jacket.
And you wouldn’t leave your child in a car under the hot sun with all the windows closed either.
This is how you need to treat your violin as well. Now these may seem like extreme examples, but we have to pay attention to the little things as well.
Do you place your violin (even in its case) close to a window? Where at a certain time of the day, sunlight starts to directly shine on your instrument or case?
Paying attention to the little details will ensure that the sound of your violin is well protected.
2. Keep Your Hands Clean
Remember how we’ve always been taught to wash our hands before eating? This is a good concept to keep in mind before playing the violin as well.
Dirt and oil on our fingers can damage the varnish on the violin. It can also cause the strings to fray and unwind sooner than expected.
So wash your hands and pat them dry before each playing session.
What if you get sweaty easily? Then make a good habit of wiping down your violin often with a piece of dry fabric every time you sweat on the violin.
Sweat is water. Water on wood is water damage. The wood of the violin can absorb water, causing it to expand or warp, affecting the overall sound of your violin.
Which leads us to our next tip.
3. Wipe Down Your Instrument After Each Practice
After each practice, wipe your instrument with a dry piece of fabric. Ideally made of microfiber.
Wipe the strings as well of any rosin, so that it doesn’t cake and become residue.
This is a very simple step, but an incredibly important one. Taking care of your violin is 95% simple daily routines.
4. Get A Humidifier For Cold & Dry Climates
If you’re living in an area that’s often cold & dry, the wood on your violin may dry as well, leading to cracks, which’ll affect the sound.
Getting a simple humidifier for your case will make sure there’s just enough moisture in the case so your instrument doesn’t dry out.
If you practice often in cold & dry rooms, you should also consider getting a humidifier for the room.
One common mistake we see is that violinists will ask for a hygrometer in their case, but then they don’t use a humidifier!
A hygrometer will only let you know that there’s a problem, it won’t fix the problem.
5. Use A Violin Blanket Or Silk Pouch
Most violin cases include a violin blanket. This is important because it protects your instrument from rosin particles that fall off your bow.
If you’re moving around with your violin case, there’s a good chance that rosin dust will come off the bow and onto your violin.
Many professionals also use silk pouches. This completely covers your instrument from dust and rosin particles while the violin is stored inside the case.
6. Get A Good Case
A good violin case is extremely important. It’s basically a little house for your violin.
We definitely can’t control outside temperatures, and sometimes indoor temperatures can be difficult to control as well if we’re not paying attention.
Think of coming home to a cold house, then turning on the heater. Your violin was sitting in that cold house before you adjusted the temperature.
So having a decent hard case will create a little temperature-controlled space within your violin case for a while.
To learn more about violin cases, be sure to check out our article on the Top 9 Best Selling Hard Violin Cases.
7. Check Bridge Alignment
The bridge should be at a straight 90 degree angle to the sound box, with the feet flat against the sound box.
Overtime, tuning the strings will move the bridge forward, giving it a crooked look.
To fix this, simply loosen the strings a bit, and adjust the bridge back so that it forms a 90 degree angle with the sound box.
If the bridge becomes too crooked, it could snap, or come off completely. When it does, the sound post inside the violin will come loose as well.
8. Change Strings If They Look Frayed
If the string looks like it’s unwinding, or it looks a little frayed, then we recommend changing the string.
Frayed strings have a higher chance of breaking. And you definitely do not want the string to snap in your direction, especially while playing.
Old strings also lose their tone and brightness.
9. Get Your Bow Rehaired
Rehairing your bow requires a simple trip to the luthier. You’ll get a better sound playing with a bow that doesn’t have years of rosin residue buildup.
It’s also important for the bow itself. Rehairing your bow will protect the wooden part from warping and losing its balance.
Generally for violinists who play 2-4 hours a day, the bow should be re-haired about 1-2 times a year.
10. Take Care Of The Pegs
Pegs should be easy to turn. If they’re difficult to turn, use some “peg drops”. This will allow the pegs to turn more easily.
On the other hand, if the pegs are too loose, you’ll have to take the violin to a luthier.
11. Visit a Luthier
Taking the violin to the luthier is like visiting your family doctor once a year. Even if nothing seems wrong, it’s always a good idea to bring it in for a checkup.
Remember, a violin is an investment. It appreciates over time. A luthier will help make sure your investment is appreciating for you.
In the end, it’s really the little things that add up. Making sure your hands are clean. Making sure the instrument is wiped down after each practice session. And making sure it is stored in a temperature-friendly environment.
Almost everything on the violin can be replaced, except the sound box.
The sound box is really the heart of the violin. And what makes each violin unique.
Some also say that a violin’s sound becomes warmer over the years. Which is why they appreciate.
Doing the 3 things mentioned above will ensure that your sound box is well maintained, and the sound is well protected over the years.