Caring for your instrument is relatively simple. The start to this is largely dependent on knowing what to loo out for and how all the parts fit together.
In the different sections posted covering the components, Setup & Regulation (and more) you will find what you need to, not only care for, but know how and what you can do to improve your sound and playability.
One of the most critical and easy to check things that happens, seasonally or randomly from time-to-time, is that the seams come undone. This mainly happens as a reaction to extreme dry, wet, cold or hot weather. Completely natural and mostly unavoidable:( This happens because hide/ pearl/ bead/ animal glue reacts to these influences by either making the glue crystalline or ‘soggy’ – in really extreme long term wet the glue may even grow a spot of mould!
TIP! By going all the way round your instrument’s edges and lightly pressing the edges away from the rib you will easily see if it is time to visit your local luthier (violin maker) to reglue and refresh the bond.
This is, of course, only one of many things that you can do to check that your violin is able to sound its best.
Another of the usual suspects that troubles many string instruments is the bridge leaning or bending forward. Simple to understand – each time the pegs are used for tuning, a combination of rosin, the winding of the strings and pressure on the bridge causes it to bend and lean forward from just under the heart (lower middle of the bridge) because of the pressure on the foot being too great for the entire bridge to lean forward on the edge of the foot.
Checking and adjusting this is also fairly simple. Once the strings have been tuned at the peg end, hold your instrument top up and from the side to see that the bridge is standing straight.
Note! By straight, I mean either of the following, depending on how the bridge was cut and fitted:
- The back surface of the bridge is perpendicular to the table (top) – the French cut.
- The front and back are equiangular to the table – the Svencino (probably others too) preferred cut for simpler adjustment and identification.
- The front surface of the bridge is perpendicular to the table – the English cut.
Knowing the difference of the French or English cut can be identified by adjusting the bridge in either direction and checking to see if there is a gap under the feet on either the front or back of the bridge. Once identified, gently push the bridge in either direction to close it for complete contact.
The last HINT in this first post. If you don’t manage your bridge well with small adjustments over time, then in time, it will bend forward and need to be removed to ‘boil’ to straighten it or you will need an new one cut.
With time we will post videos of all the above said to help you along better. Stay tuned:)
If you have questions or thoughts that you wish to share, please do in the comments section below.