Maintenance

 

All Maristella Violins are skillfully handcrafted instruments fully inspected before shipping. Due to the fragile construction of violins prior to shipping the tension of the strings is reduced and the bridge removed. Before use the bridge must be positioned again properly. The soundpost may also need to be set again if it has been displaced during shipping. If you haven't performed these tasks before we recommend taking the instrument to a local violin luthier or violin maker and ask to have your bridge and soundpost set.* If you cannot wait or don't have access to any luthiers or technicians in your local area you can proceed with the steps below:

 

 

Overview of Violin Parts:

 

Bridge

The violin bridge determines the height of the strings and the proper curvature and angle determines the alignment and spacing of the four strings. The hardness and thickness of the bridge will determine the quality of sound produced by how tonal vibrations are transfered to the body of the instrument.

 

Soundpost

The soundpost is a dowel shaped piece of spruce located within the body of the violin and fitted so it will be aligned under the bridge to help transfer tonal vibrations to the rest of the instrument. The soundpost is cut so it can be positioned to allow the violin to vibrate freely. It is held in place by the pressure from the tension of the strings.

 

Strings

The strings of the violin when at the proper tension transmit sound to the bridge and soundpost of the instrument. The thickness (gauge) of the string determines the pitch of the transmitted sounds. Strings made of different properties such as steel, nylon, gut with various winding may change the tonal properties of the sound produced based on the player's preference.

 

Tuning

Proper tuning will provide adequate pressure to hold the bridge and soundpost in place and relay the vibrations properly to the body of the instrument. A violin is designed to be tuned at standard pitch (A440) in order to have proper resonance and projection.

 

Bow

The tightness and camber of the the bow will determine the rigidity of the bow and how well it will produce sound through contact with the strings. The amount of rosin applied to the bow will determine how much resistance the strings will incur from the movement and weight of the bow.

 

 

Getting Started

 

Bridge Installation

When you first unpack your new violin, the first step is to reinstall the bridge and tune your instrument for the first time. If you haven't done this before we highly recommend you to allow your violin instructor or local violin professional to assist you. Maristella Strings is not responsible for damages due to improper adjustment attempts.

Check to see if soundpost is positoned vertically inside the body of the instrument. If the soundpost has dislodged due to shipment, you will have to reset the soundpost by using a soundpost setter. It is normal for a soundposts to routinely dislodge in shipment, this is not considered a defect. We recommend a violin luthier perform this task to prevent damages.*

If the soundpost is still in position you can now set the bridge in its proper position by finding the marks on the top of the violin between the two F holes where the bridge was placed previously. Also, check the tailpiece to make sure that its is still properly attached to endpin by the tailgut.

Place the violin on your lap with the neck facing forward. Angle the bridge forward toward the fingerboard and place the feet in the original marks, gently pull the bridge back, using both hands, the index finger and thumb holding the bridge on either side.

As you position the bridge it may be necessary to loosen or tighten the strings in order to maintain a relative amount of string pressure.

Once the bridge is in place, check to make sure the bridge is vertically straight. Also check to see that the bass and treble sides of the bridge are perpendicularly straight.

 

First Tuning

When you tune your new violin for the first time, start first with the G string, raising it slowly to pitch. Use of a pitch pipe or tuning fork is recommend to insure that the strings are not sharpened above A440 pitch.

As you turn the violin peg clockwise, apply pressure to the peg to prevent it from slipping. If you cannot get the peg to hold in the pegbox, you can remove the peg and apply chalk or peg dope to prevent slippage.

Remember that the strings will stretch after the first tuning. It is usually necessary to complete the process of tuning each string three times to get a satisfactory tuning. The fine tuner can be used to adjust the pitch in smaller increments.

 

Bow Usage

Before using the bow for the first time you will want to tighten the tension so that there is approx. 1/4'' between the stick and the hair in the center of the bow. Open the rosin cake and take a knife or coin and mark the top of the cake to loosen the rosin dust. Take care that the bow is pulled over the center of the rosin cake. Slippage or contact with sharp edges of the cake could cause hair breakage. Apply more rosin to the frog and tip of the bow areas with a moderate amount in the center of the bow.

When handling the bow take care to not touch the horsehair with your hands. This will stain the hair and shorten its useful lifespan. Don't apply too much rosin. A moderate application once a week is usually sufficient for most students.

After usage, loosen the bow screw till the hair is loose, tighten again one or two rounds so the hair is relaxed but taunt. Leaving the bow tightened over an extended time will warp the bow. Make sure to store bow in a violin or bow case since they are easily broken and extremely fragile.

 

Maintenance

Clean your violin frequently using a clean cotton cloth, you can lightly dampen the cloth with a instrument grade cleaner/polish. Do not use common furniture polish or other compounds as they can damage the varnish. Keep the violin away from heat and direct light. Also routinely check to see if the bridge is straight and propely aligned to the strings, fingerboard. Tuning the instrument frequently will gradually pull the bridge forward. Based on your playing habits, the violin strings will need to be replaced when they loose their brilliance or at least once a year. Choosing a high quality violin string will improve the tonal properties of your instrument and add to the overall playability.

*Maristella strings is not responsible for any expenses incured from having your violin adjusted locally. Each player will differ in performance style and in hand size which may require a specialized adjustment setting. Also violin luthiers may suggest additional work is needed at an extra cost, we suggest to decline this, as its is not needed for a basic violin setup.