Violin Care and Maintenance

Common Violin Damages
You should not worry too much if your violin suffers from one of these common violin damages:

  • An unglued fingerboard
  • Snapping/collpase of the bridge
  • The snapping of the bow

How to care for your violin

  • Avoid extreme climate temperatures – Do not store a violin in or near areas that are subjec to extreme changes in temperature, such as a basement or attic. When violins are continually exposed to extreme temperature changes, they eventually break and fall apart over time.
  • Proper storage – When not playing the violin, store it in its case at all times to ensure protection.
  • Too much rosin – In light of my last post on violin rosin, avoid putting too much rosin onto the violin bow. If too much is applied, the rosin will drip onto the violin and cause straining.
  • Quality strings – Cheap strings, like the ones that usually come with a beginner’s violin, will bring tension on the violin and cause cracks and warping on the instrument.

If you ever feel that there is something wrong with your violin, even minorly wrong, it is important to get it checked out by a luthier, an experienced professional in repairing stringed instruments. Most little damages will eventually become bigger problems in the future.

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Violin bow rosin

Rosin is the substance that a violinist uses to make the hair on the violin bow sticky. Rosin is necessary for there to be sound once the hairs of the bow are in contact with the strings. Without rosin, there is no sound. The hair on a rosined bow grips the string and pulls it to the bow, creating sound. However, since the bow continues to move while one is playing, the string snaps back to its original place.

How to apply rosin to a violin bow

  • You should first tighten your bow from the knob at the bottom of the bow. The space between the bow hair and the stick should only be a pencil-width a part.
  • Because the violin bow is held in the right hand, hold the rosin in your left hand to apply.
  • With your bow in your right hand, glide it across the rosin in smooth normal bow strokes up and down the rosin about five to 10 times.
  • Be careful not to over-rosin, this can cause a dust-like residue to expel while you are playing.

Tip: Make sure that either ends of the bow, tip and frog, are rosined more heavily than the middle part of the bow.

Types of rosin
The darker the rosin, the softer and stickier it is. While darker rosins provide a great grip on the string, they also produce a grittier sound.

Lighter, softer rosins avoid this “gritty” sound, but are more apt to expel more powder when the bow hair is in contact with the strings while playing.

A good rosin, no matter how often you play, will last for years. I, personally, have the Gustave Bernardel rosin, which has lasted me for about 8 years now and more to come.

How often you should rosin your violin bow
There is no exact answer for how often you should rosin your violin bow. This depends on a variety of things; how often one plays, the type of bow hair, the type of strings, temperature/humidity, etc.

For beginners who probably will not be playing for hours on end like a professional, I would say it wouldn’t hurt to run the bow across the rosin 2-3 times per practice session.