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Bowed String Instrument Care and Maintenance

Adam’s Music rents bowed string instruments for musicians from beginners to professionals. We have a wide range of rental instruments suitable for players at any level, and for all budgets. No matter how much your rental instrument costs, Adam’s Music ensures it’s in good working order before you take it home. Use these handy care and maintenance tips to keep your instrument looking and sounding great.

Before Playing

Tighten the bow hair

Tighten the bow hair until the space between the bow hair and the stick is about the width of a pencil.

Bowed String Instrument Care - violin and bow

Rosin your bow

Hold the rosin in one hand and the bow in another. Gently draw the bow across the rosin cake four or five times. Don't touch the bow hairs with your fingers. The oil on your skin may stick to the bow hair and keep the rosin from sticking to the hairs.

Tune your instrument

Tune your instrument, but be careful with the fine tuning pegs near the bridge of the instrument. If the fine tuning peg is completely lowered it may screw into the body of your instrument.

After Playing

Loosen the bow strings

Before you store your bow, loosen the bow strings. If the bow is left tensioned during storage it can damage the bow.

Bowed String Instrument Care - clean

Wipe your instrument

Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down your instrument. Rosin dust will become more difficult to remove over time, so clean the body and strings after every playing session.

Adam's Music - Bowed String Instrument Care in Case

Store your instrument

Always keep your instrument and bow in its case or bag when it’s not in use. Make sure the bow hair has been loosened before putting the bow in the proper protective compartment. Keep polish and fingers away from the bow hair.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Bowed String Instrument Care - clean

Clean the strings and body

Rosin dust should be removed immediately after playing. Use a microfiber cleaning cloth to wipe down the strings and the body of your instrument after every playing session. You may use a polish specially formulated for bowed string instruments. Never use alcohol to clean the instrument. Alcohol can damage the varnish.

Replace the bow hair regularly

Your bow hair will wear out after regular use. To preserve the timbre of your instrument, it's recommended that you replace the bow hair every six months to a year.

Bowed String Instrument Care - replace strings

Replace the strings regularly

The strings will wear out over time and lose their musicality. It's recommended that your replace the strings before they break to prevent damage to the instrument if they snap. Ask your teacher or instrument specialist for help if you're not sure when to change strings or need help changing them.

Be Careful !

Bowed string instruments are delicate and can be damaged by moderate temperature changes and improper maintenance. It’s not designed to function properly if neglected or mistreated. Here are some dos and don’ts of proper bowed string instrument care:

  • Always keep your instrument and bow in its bag or case when not in use. Store in a place with moderate humidity, away from radiators or hot air vents.
  • Clean your bow and instrument after every use
  • Always loosen your bow hairs before storing the bow
  • Replace bow hair and strings at regular intervals
  • Never expose the instrument to direct sunlight or sudden changes in temperature or humidity
  • Never leave an instrument in a car in extremely hot or cold weather
  • Don't use alcohol or household cleaners to clean your instrument
  • Do not try to fix broken or malfunctioning parts yourself

If There's a Problem

Adam’s Music wants you to enjoy your rental bowed string instrument. These maintenance and care tips will help keep your instrument in top playing shape. If you have a problem with your bowed string instrument, don’t try to fix it yourself. Contact Adam’s Music for instructions. We’re your friendly neighborhood music store in West Los Angeles.

Click here for a printable PDF version of the Adam’s Music Bowed String Instrument Care and Maintenance Page