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Never leave a stringed instrument in the trunk of a car. High temperatures

will shrink and crack the top, causing serious and expensive damage.

If humidity is under 4O%, use a humidifyer in the case. If over 70%,

try to avoid using the instrument. Air conditioning dries the air.

Lubricate the notches in the bridge and nut with a toothpick and

beeswax. This cuts down on string breakage and makes it easier to

straighten up the bridge. Watch the bridge and keep it straight so it

doesn't warp or fall down. Rubbing the bottom of the bridge feet with a little

powdered rosin will keep it from sliding around on the top. A warped bridge

can be saved by floating it in water overnight, concave side down, then letting

it dry for several days. Pay attention and avoid this.

Rosin dust should be wiped of f the top, bridge, and fingerboard every time

you play it. Use a folded tissue (kleenex). Liquid cleaners, wax and polish

should not be used except as a last resort.

A peg that has loose and tight spots as you turn it should be refitted or

replaced immediately to avoid splitting the pegbox. Pegódope lubricant

should be used sparingly. Too much is as bad as too little.

Do not handle the bow hair (oil on your skin). Let down the hair tension

when you put away the bow. Keep the adjuster screw lubricated. Bullet lube

from the gun shop works well for this. If the frog doesn't fit up to

the stick, screw in the eyelet in the frog as necessary.

Vacuum the case with a crevice tool every couple of months to control the

carpet beetle larvae that eat the hair out of the bow. Moth balls etc. in

the case may soften some varnishes, so are not recommended.

If you have a buzzing noise, tap around the top and back with a knuckle

to see if a spot is unglued. The E- tuner may be loose, or the strings

too close to the fingerboard.

String angle at the bridge should be about 155 degrees or the bridge

height and neck angle are wrong, resulting in poor sound. This can be

corrected by a competent violinmaker by resetting the neck, at

considerable expense.

Do not overtighten the chinrest and crush the lower rib. This requires a

very expensive repair. Just keep it snug.

Use care in attching a shoulder rest so you don't scar and chip the

edges of the back.

Don't adjust the soundpost unless you have had a lot of practice and expert

instruction from a good violinmaker. It's saddening to see the number of

good violins, even Stradivaris and Guarneris, that have terrible f-hole

damage from this.

Unscrupulous repairmen love to sell expensive bass bar replacements,

most of them unnecessary. Adjusting the soundpost, new strings, or a

variety of other remedies may cure the problem. Get a second opinion

from a reliable expert. For anything but the most minor peg or glue job,

go to a recognized violinmaker. The lawnmower mechanic repairmen and

white glue cause a terrific amount of attrition and damage, an~ you

must be careful to avoid them.

If the instrument is stored or not used for more than two months, let

the string tension down about half, and wrap the bow tightly in thin

plastic from a dry cleaner's bag or a lightweight painter's dropcloth

to prevent the bugs eating the bow hair.

Don't leave the case by a window, an outside wall, or behind the piano or

other potentially damp place. Mildew is a disaster. Don't put the case

where the sun shines on it, either.

Admittedly the foregoing is a lot of do's and don'ts, but observing them

will surely save you money, time, and trouble.

Robert George

Copyright 2006, Quality Strings.