GUEST POST – The life span of any string instrument is greatly affected by how the player takes care of it. Just like a vehicle, it also needs proper maintenance and special attention to ensure it will sound its best through the years.
It’s a prerequisite for a musician to be knowledgeable about preserving and repairing the instrument whenever any issues arise, and hopefully to avoid problems as much as possible. Though it’s worth noting that major ones require a qualified repair technician, though some minor repairs that are feasible for beginners or professional musicians.
Being one of the most popular instruments in the world, the guitar is continuously growing in terms of audience, diversity, and the quality of available instruments. Some musicians even invest in extremely unique guitars that cost tens of thousands of dollars. But regardless of whether you’ve purchased an inexpensive beginner guitar or a top quality instrument, maintaining it is extremely crucial.
Here are three recommendations:
- Proper Storage. Proper storage for the guitar means keeping it in a safe place. Set a specific home for your guitar. If you’ve purchased your instrument with a gig bag, invest in a more sturdy case such as a hardshell or a flight case if you often travel with your guitar.
- Guitar Strings. Guitar strings should be replaced every six to eight weeks or as soon as it wears off. If, by any chance, one string breaks, replace it with the type of string that is the same with the other strings attached.
- Cleaning. Clean the fretboard as well. Dust it off with a clean, dry cloth and use a fretboard oil to polish the surfaces.
It may seem smaller and low-maintenance compared to other string instruments, but ukuleles need some TLC, too. It is also affected by humidity and temperature, therefore, proper storage is also a must.
A few more recommendations:
- Keep it protected. Never place your ukulele near a fireplace, in a car, or somewhere with direct sunlight. On the other hand, avoid storing it in a place where a liquid may spill or in a high place where it might drop.
- Hardshell case. If you often travel with your uke, invest in a hardshell case latch to protect it from possible accidents.
- The right accessories. Choose a capo and pick that fit your instrument. Improper placement and handling could also lead to ugly scratches on the body and fingerboard.
The viola, being almost the same as the violin, has its own way of maintaining itself to its perfect shape. Since the viola is larger and has a deeper and richer tone than the violin, even though they differ only on one string, it is not advisable to use a violin string for a viola.
- Care for the strings.Sometimes improper handling and storage could cause your viola strings to break. Exposing it to humidity changes and temperature will affect the sound and playability of the strings. And overtime, especially if you often play the instrument, you’ll have to change the strings every four to six months. Also take note of the type of string you are using. Some strings easily wear off compared to others.
- Clean hands. Make sure your hands are clean before picking up your viola. We might not be aware of it but keeping your hands sanitized has an effect in the longevity of your instrument. Residue and contaminants could wear and tear its varnish.
- Clean viola. Dust off your viola every after playing it. Not immediately cleaning it could leave a residue to your instrument especially if you have rosined it before using. Avoid applying too much rosin and rubbing it roughly to avoid your viola bow hairs from being jagged as this could also affect the sound of your viola.
Your musical instrument is part of your life as a musician. Whether you are an artist or simply a musically-inclined person who loves to play during your free time, caring and maintaining your instrument to its best condition will surely keep music in your life.