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Cleaning strings after practice
Am I cleaning my strings right after practicing?
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sf_bev
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August 9, 2019 - 8:04 pm
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I've read I should rub my strings with a clean soft cloth after practicing.  I do this with my Fiddlerman microfiber cloth, and the strings make excruciating noises of protest.  If I continue anyway, and rub with a fair amount of force, they eventually quiet down.  I assume that when they quiet down, they are clean.

It scares me to be rubbing with a fair amount of force on wound strings.  Am I in danger of harming the strings?  Would it be safer to use less force, and leave some rosin on the strings?

Also, should I ONLY use this cloth on the strings, and have a second cloth for wiping down the body of the violin as I've seen suggested elsewhere since they say using a cloth that has collected rosin could scratch the varnish on the body?  If so, which cloth gets used on the fingerboard, and what about the body between the fingerboard and bridge where rosin obviously falls since it's directly below where the bow moves on the strings?

I'm likely overthinking this since that's what I do, but as long as I'm trying to keep it clean, I'd like to do the cleaning correctly.

Thanks!

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cid
August 9, 2019 - 8:16 pm
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@sf_bev 

Since you are still logged on, first, since you used the polishing clot for the strings, do not use it as a polishing cloth in your instrument.

Fiddlershop does sell a string cleaner, I love it. I am going to find a link post it below this post. Just wanted to tell you not to use the Fiddlershop polishing cloth in your instrument since it was used on the strings. A microfiber cloth would have been better for your strings, but I will go get the link from their site now.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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cid
August 9, 2019 - 8:21 pm
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@sf_bev 

Here is a link to the string cleaner sold on Fiddlershop. It is great. I think there is a video on the page, also.

Hinged Violin String Cleaner

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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GregW
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August 9, 2019 - 9:35 pm
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I use one of the microfiber clothes for cleaning off strings and yes after finishing playing I'll clean them off.  It can make a squeak or squalk.

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sf_bev
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August 9, 2019 - 11:03 pm
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@cid and@GregW.  Thanks for your replies. I thought the Fiddlerman cloth was a fine microfiber cloth, but you referred to it as a polishing cloth.  I have microfiber clothes from an auto parts store.  Would that be better to use on the strings?  

@GregW Do you rub your strings til they stop squeaking and squawking?  That's what I've been doing.

 

@cid Thanks for the link to the string cleaner.  How often do you use this?

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GregW
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August 10, 2019 - 12:23 am
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Its a combination of the sound and sight.  Mostly I just look for the rosin to be removed.  Usually a few wipes down cleans the visible residue away,  But the sound plays into as well.  It will squawk the first pass or so with the cloth.

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Gordon Shumway
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August 10, 2019 - 12:30 am
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And maybe alcohol once or twice a week. Cheap Eau de Cologne is a good source. Just use a drop on a cloth - not enough to drip, or you'll ruin your instrument's varnish.

Andrew

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MoonShadows
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August 10, 2019 - 6:36 am
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cid said
@sf_bev 

Here is a link to the string cleaner sold on Fiddlershop. It is great. I think there is a video on the page, also.

Hinged Violin String Cleaner

  

I bought one of these from Fiddlerman a couple of months ago. It does an excellent job.

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - Adventures in Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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cid
August 10, 2019 - 8:03 am
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@sf_bev Caution with the alcohol. You can’t just put a bunch on a cloth and wipe and have dangly parts of that cloth touching the instrument. It will damage the finish. 

It my strings need a good cleaning, I put a section of vinyl, you know the kind with the cloth backing that you can make purses from, under the strings and on top of the instrument. Then I use those little alcohol wipe squares and run it up and down the strings, still carefully. It only takes 1 little square to do them all.

Whatever way to do it, be careful with any alcohol on a piece of material or paper towel. Don’t drop it on the instrument or have a dangly part dragging across it. Put the cover in the bottle immediately after using on the cloth, before you start the gentle wipe down. If you hit it with the cover off, it will tip and definitely do a lot of damage to your instrument. The alcohol, I use rubbing or, I think, isopropyl(?). You don’t need a lot and it is pretty quick. Have not had to use it since getting that cleaner doohickey from from Fiddlershop. I just use that after each session.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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sf_bev
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August 10, 2019 - 8:55 am
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Thanks so much for the responses.  I may get the string cleaner.  It looks like a nifty gadget.

It seems I'm mostly doing the right thing, but I think I'll try a regular microfiber cloth instead of a polishing cloth since I have omeclean ones in my garage.  

And if I use alcohol, I'll definitely go light and be careful to protect the violin's body.

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cid
August 10, 2019 - 9:26 am
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You are welcome. @sf_bev. You will find the micro much better at cleaning it than the smoother polisher cloth. I actually used an old washcloth before I got some microfiber cloth. Well, I found a bag in the garage that my husband had and snatched one! LOL Such fun doing things like that. 

Anyway, out the microfiber cloth in with you wash periodically, before getting too much rosin build up in it. It will wash out just fine. I do it before it gets too much because I am not sure if the rosin will collect on other items. So far, so good. I have plenty of them now, so just wash quite often.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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sf_bev
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August 10, 2019 - 9:45 am
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@cid I've been washing the polishing cloth I've been using.  I'll definitely wash the microfiber.  Thanks for all the tips!

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cid
August 10, 2019 - 9:58 am
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You are welcome.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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x Coach
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August 11, 2019 - 8:36 am
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This is how I clean my violin strings. Microfiber cloth under the strings and then I use an alcohol prep wipe on the strings. I am on the fiddlershop website frequently, I did not  know they sold the string cleaner. I plan on purchasing one in the future, easier process for cleaning. I have been playing a year and I probably put too much rosin on my bow and more ends up on the strings but when they have too much rosin, I do notice a different sound.

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Fiddlerman
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August 12, 2019 - 2:22 pm
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Great advice above.
Two rags/clothes, one for the strings and one for the body of the instrument.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Gordon Shumway
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August 18, 2019 - 4:50 am
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Fiddlerman said
Great advice above.

Two rags/clothes, one for the strings and one for the body of the instrument.

  

What's your view on microfibre vs soft cotton, Pierre?

I remember my violinist friends in the 70s all had those yellow cotton dusters, lol.

(For that matter, they all had those black wooden violin-shaped cases too. You don't see those any more do you! Is that a good thing or just fashion? My case is Styrofoam. I hope it's protective enough)

Andrew

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Fiddlerman
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August 19, 2019 - 8:49 am
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I'm pretty sure that microfiber is better. Longer lasting, and tougher. As long as the microfiber cloth is soft and not saturated with anything that might scratch your finish. I see however, not much difference in using cotton vs microfiber.

The advantage of using cotton is that it breathes better but I'm not sure we need that when polishing an instrument.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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