Viola / Violin Care Instructions
CARE OF THE BOW
Never touch bow hair with hands or to your body.
Tighten your bows to the proper tension before playing.
Rosin the bow two or three times weekly.
Loosen the bow EVERY TIME you put the bow away.
NEVER hang the bow on a music stand. Put it in your case when not in use.
CARE OF THE VIOLA/VIOLIN
Keep the instrument in a place of moderate temperature and humidity.
Do NOT let other people play with your instrument.
Wipe off rosin dust and finger marks after each use with a soft cloth (supplied with kit).
Never place on chairs unattended. Put in the case.
Be sure the case is fully clasped/locked before picking it up.
The soundpost is expertly fitted into the tapered space between the top and back of the interchangeable. It must not be glued in.
Check the position of the soundpost periodically and always when changing strings or if bumped or dropped. The top of any stringed instrument under normal string tension is in danger of collapse if the soundpost is down.
Wind no more string on the peg than the space between the peg and the rear wall of the peg box allows. Too much string on the peg; when forced will split the peg box or break the peg. Pushing tapered peg too far into the peg hole can also split the peg box.
Each peg is individually fitted. Pegs are not interchangeable; not even on the same instrument.
The bridge is kept in place by string pressure. It is not to be glued to the top of the instrument.
The low side of the bridge is under the “E” string on the violin; the “A” string on the viola and cello; the “G” string on the bass.
F-hole notches do not necessarily indicate the correct position of the bridge. Adjust to the correct ratio as shown under “Mensur”.
You can ruin your strings and the bridge will tilt more rapidly if the grooves are not lubricated. Use a very soft lead pencil.
Bridges of all instruments must be adjusted periodically as repeated tuning of strings tends to tilt to it. If not adjusted, it may tilt and collapse with the possibility of serious damage.
The size of the chin rest should correspond with the size of the instrument. When attaching, be careful to adjust the chin rest screws just enough to hold it firmly in place of the instrument. Screws set too tightly can cause the ribs and sides of the instrument to buckle causing serious damage.
The tuner is used only for tuning metal strings. After a period of time, the tuner adjustment screw should be as far as it will go, often touching and damaging the top of the instrument or causing buzzing noises or impairing tonal quality by dampening vibrations. Before this occurs, unscrew the tuner as far as possible and re-tune the string with the peg to a slightly flat pitch. Bring the string to the correct pitch with the tuner adjustment screw.
TUNING THE VIOLA AND VIOLIN
Try to match the sound of each string to the sound of the piano or a tuner. (Viola: A, D, G, C; Violin: E, A, D, G). Use pegs and tuners as per this instruction. Also, ask your teacher for help and to verify that you have correctly tuned your instrument.
Fasten the string to the tailpiece and thread the other end through the hole of the appropriate peg. Bring the end forward and over the peg; under the string, bringing it over and around through the loop. The loose end will point away from the peg handle (see diagram). Turn the peg so that the string winds over, not under the peg. Wind in a coil moving towards the peg handle. If the right length, when tightened, it will end close to the wall of the peg box when the string is in pitch. This will force the peg to stay in place. While tuning, re-adjust the bridge so that it remains in position.
IMPORTANT: Remove only one string at a time when replacing strings. This will keep pressure on the top to prevent the soundpost from falling.
The tailpiece is held in place by the tailgut and the strings. The correct position is close to the saddle but not touching it. It is important that the tailpiece be the correct size of the instrument and/or the chinrest.
The use of the shoulder rest is determined by your particular needs. The shoulder rest should hold the instrument. Be sure to take the shoulder rest OFF your instrument before putting it back in the case. If left on, closing the case lid could crack the top and/or back seriously, damaging the instrument.
BOW STICK AND BOW HAIR
Bow hair is fastened to the tip of the bow stick on the end and to the frog on the other. Turning the screw moves the frog; sliding it back and forth along the bow, stretching or relaxing the bow hair. The most important quality of the bow stick is its’ springy elasticity. This is lost if the bow hair tension is not released each time after playing. Avoid excessive humidity as it tends to warp the bow and stretch bow hair.
Follow these rules:
~ Always hold the bow by the frog or the stick. Do not touch the hair.
~ Tighten the bow hair before playing to a moderate tension so that the curve of the stick remains concave; then rosin the bow hair.
~ Release the tension of the bow hair each time after playing.
~ Loosen your bow before you go!
If you cannot get enough tension; do not force the screw. Send the bow to the repair shop to have the bow hair shortened. If you cannot release the tension; send the bow to the repair shop to have the bow hair lengthened. Forcing the screw in either direction may split the bow stick. Bow hair comes from the tails of horses. It is covered by minute scales which overlap each other. Rosin is retained under the scales of the bow hair. Perspiration, dirt, greasy and oily substances as from fingertips; prevent bow hair from taking and holding the rosin. Synthetic bow hair has like qualities to a lesser degree. Therefore, for good playability, do not touch your bow hair. If after you rosin the bow, tone production is insufficient, send the bow to the repair shop for cleaning.
CLEANING AND POLISHING
Use the polish included with the care kit to remove rosin, moisture and finger marks from the instrument. Never use alcohol or hot water to clean as they dissolve and damage varnish.
Put on cello and bass bags with the shaped side over the bridge and the flat side with the music bag over the back of the instrument. Place bows in bow pocket with the tip down.
Place the tip of the bow in the small end of the violin and viola cases; the bow stick facing towards the inside and the bow’s hair towards the outside of the case lid.
DO NOT CRAM ~ Do not force or stuff sheet music or personal belongings in the case. When the lid is shut it may damage the instrument. Make sure the latches are secured before picking up the case, otherwise, the lid may open and the instrument drop to the floor. The case is often a contributing factor to damage. Therefore, if a bow holder is missing or bent out of shape, send the case to the repair shop for replacement of the bow holder.
Rosin should be of good quality. Broken rosin is useless. NEVER touch the part of the rosin that comes in contact with the bow hair. To apply rub the bow hair on the rosin. Do not rub the rosin on the hair.
Temperature has little effect on stringed instruments unless in combination with either high or low relative humidity. A sudden change in temperature such as bringing a cold instrument into an overheated auditorium is a cause of intonation problems. Open the case and allow your instrument to warm to room temperature.
Humidity seriously affects wood, glues, strings and metals of musical instruments. High relative humidity and dampness swells wood, lowers the fingerboard, leaving the bridge too high and lengthens bow hairs. In extreme cases the wood warps and becomes unglued. Low relative humidity and dryness dehydrates wood and strings, causing wood to crack and strings to break. It also raises the fingerboard leaving bridge too low and shortens bow hair.
For Repair costs and estimates, please feel free to contact us.