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I wasn't sure which category to put this post so I hope it's ok here. Can someone direct me to another thread, website, or just give me advice on caring for a violin? I've only had cheap ones until now and have realized I don't really know a whole lot about how to care for them. For example, what should the humidity be in the room it's kept in, do I need to apply oil to the wood if so what kind, extra, extra. Of course I'm going to do some research on my own but just wanted to know anyone could get me started in the right direction.
Someone had asked a couple of days ago about using a Dampit, and I found this video, which has very good information on humidity issues:
Temperature: 65-80 F (18-27 C)
Avoid rapid, sizable changes of either temperature or humidity.
Wipe off fallen rosin with a clean (non-scratchy) cloth every once in a while.
Rapid changes to either temperature or humidity are more of an issue than absolute amounts, although really high humidity (85%+) may cause issues with the glue.
As someone pointed out a few months ago (I think it was on this forum), wood has been known to survive thousands of years in desert environments. What will mess a violin up badly is going from normal humidity (in that 40%-60% range) to very low humidity (10%-15%, like Arizona in the summer) quickly. If you stretched out the adaptation to, say, 15% humidity over a couple of years, it would probably be fine. You take your violin from a Miami beach on a muggy day and then fly to Arizona on a dry day, expect pain.
Cold is not much of a problem, but try to let the violin move to the colder temperature gradually. Easiest way to do that in most circumstances is leave it in the case until everything is at the new temperature. The humidity inside the case will rise as the temperature falls. I don't think most cases are airtight, but they definitely don't pass water vapor as fast as open air would. If you know you're going to a significantly colder situation, loosen the strings a little. Cold will shrink them, which will raise the pitch and put more tension on everything. I'd suggest tuning it down about two whole notes. That's probably overkill, but it's still plenty of tension to keep the bridge and soundpost in place.
I'd try to avoid subfreezing temperatures. Wood is made of cells, and ice crystals forming inside them tends to rupture cells. Ruptured cells equals weakened wood.
Same thing in reverse when you're going from cold to normal. That would be a good time to put some kind of humidifier in the case with the violin.
Hot and muggy is something you want to avoid. That combination has been known to cause the glue to get soft, and people have had violins come apart in their hands. (Those were extreme cases, but it has happened, or so I've read.) That's not necessarily a complete disaster (everything can be glued back together again), but it's probably something you want to avoid.
Rosin that stays on the violin for a long time (months) tends to sink into the varnish a little and won't come completely off. It doesn't hurt anything (as far as I know) except the looks.
wipe your violin down once a day with microfiber cloth,
check if your bridge is vertical each time you tune your violin
check your strings
do not let the bottom of your fine tune touch the top of violin
never touch your violin body ,it by its neck
never touch your bow hair
get a good case
keep your violin in safe place - avoid hazards such as falling, things dropping on it, getting running over by a car, being sat on, being over heated ,(sudden temperature change being in environment that is too cold then in heat), etc
From all the reading i've done The most important things you can do is:
1. Wipe down your violin and strings after each practice before putting the violin away
2. Ensure the humidiy especially but also temp doesn't wildly change at a time. (like stated above) oh and the humidity gauges in violin cases are usually pretty off so investing in a decent hydrometer might be worth it but it can be challenging to find one that is actually accurate.
3. Make sure direct sunlight won't hit your violin if you have it hanging in a room instead of in a case
4. Every once in a great while if the sound of the violin changes a bit ,either A. change the strings...if that doesn't change anything then B. take it to a luthier for a 'tune up' because the sound post and such may have shifted a bit or a seam may have opened and such.
Thats violin maintenance for us average users in a nutshell. It's possible there are more but I'd think anything over that would need someone like a luthier to do anything to it, unless your quite handy yourself. Most maintenance isn't hard at all to keep them in good condition just a little TLC after playing and they'll be here for years to come.
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