Rental Instrument Care Letter
Damage ProtectionWhen practicing or playing in orchestra, it is important to be aware of what is going on around you. Much damage can occur because of a music stand hitting part of the instrument or another person running into you accidentally. Be sure to store your violin, viola, or cello in it’s closed and locked case at all times when you are not playing, even when taking a short break. Never leave your instrument on a chair, in an open case or worst of all, hanging on a music stand.
The varnish on an instrument not only contributes to its beauty, but is also an integral part of its sound quality and overall protection. Please do not put stickers or any adhesive materials*, such as Dr Scholl’s moleskin, on the varnish as they take off the varnish when they are removed. If the bare wood becomes exposed through wear or damage, the instrument should be brought in so that an experienced violin repairperson can add color and varnish to those areas. Varnish repairs take much time and can be costly and the longer these repairs are left unattended, the more difficult it is to repair. Please bring your instrument as soon as there is any damage. As a renter, you are responsible for the costs of these repairs for this type of damage is caused solely by neglect or misuse.
* Adhesive materials should not be put on chinrests either as they are very hard to remove and leave too much residue. We sell pads that cover the chinrest without damaging the violin.
Weather and TemperatureKeep your instrument away from extremes in temperature and humidity. Heat can damage the varnish and cause serious cracks. Keep it out of direct sunlight and away from heaters. Avoid putting your instrument in the trunk of a car or in a closed unoccupied car. If damage occurs, the instrument should be brought into our shop for repair as soon as possible. If not attended to promptly, the problem may become worse and more expensive to fix. Please note damage due to dryness or dampness is not covered by instrument protection.
New York weather tends to be extremely harsh on all instruments, but there are many ways to create a healthy environment. During winter, dampits may be purchased and placed in the f-holes of the instrument which will help to maintain a sufficient moisture level. It is also ideal to have a humidifier in the area that your instrument is stored. During the summer, air-conditioning will help to keep out the humidity. Keep an eye out for open seams which may occur during these harsh weather months.
Cleanliness:Wipe off your violin and strings with a soft, clean cloth after each practice session. Rosin dust collects on the surface of the instrument, especially underneath the strings, and if it builds up it will become very difficult to remove. Never use a furniture polish or any other form of liquid (including water) to clean the instrument for they can be dangerous for the varnish. Never use polish to clean the strings for it will not only ruin the strings, but make it impossible to produce quality sound with the bow. A clean cloth should suffice to remove the rosin from the strings. If there is excessive dirt and rosin built up on the instrument when you return it, a cleaning charge will be deducted from your security deposit. Also, for any chinrest softeners applied to the chinrest, or stickers put on the fingerboard, bow or case that leave a residue and require cleaning, a charge will be applied.
The Bow:Proper maintenance of the bow is equally as important as care for the instrument. Never touch the hair with your fingers. The oils from your skin will create a slick over the hair’s fiber or ‘teeth’ and eventually blacken the hair, making it difficult to grip the string which is what produces sound. Always loosen the hair of the bow when it is not in use and never over-tighten the hair when playing. It should be tight enough while playing so that the stick doesn’t touch the hair. Over tightening the stick can cause the bow to loose its necessary curve and may even cause the bow to break. The bow should be rehaired every 6 months or so. As a renter, during the rental term you are responsible for this and will be charged for either the rehair or a bow replacement.
The Bridge:The correct positioning and fit of the bridge is very important in providing the best possible sound to your instrument. It must be kept at a 90 degree angle to your instrument. If not kept straight the bridge will become warped which will ruin the bridge and greatly decrease the sound quality of the instrument. The bridge can move during restringing or daily tuning so it is important for your instructor or us to regularly straighten it. Please note a warped bridge is not covered by instrument protection. If the bridge happens to fall, either from damage or drastic tuning, put the bridge in the case and bring to us for repair.