What's all the fuss about humidity? String instruments are comfortable in temperatures humans find comfortable, so they should not be left in a hot car in summer, or a cold one in winter, just as you wouldn't want to spend hours in either of those places. Same with humidity. In the winter, when the heat in your house is on, the dry air can lead to cracks, open seams, slipping pegs or other common issues, so make sure you humidify your instruments.
What should I do if I didn't humidify and now I have cracks? Bring in your instrument so we can fix that crack right away. Cracks should be repaired ASAP to prevent them from extending.
Why does my bridge suddenly look like the leaning Tower of Pisa? Bridges start to lean after many year of use. As part of of our repair/maintenance services, we inspect bridges to make sure they are standing straight. If bridges lean too far, they can warp or fall and break. Can you recommend some standard maintenance routines? After playing, first wipe rosin off strings and then clean the body with a microfiber cloth. If too much rosin builds up on the instrument, it can dampen the sound. If you notice this, bring your instrument in for cleaning.
How do I know when it's time to change my strings? Strings should be changed if they can no longer be tuned reliably or lose sound quality; the frequency of string changes varies with amount and kind of playing and sensitivity of the player's ear.
My little brother dropped a plastic toy in my cello and now it's rattling? Can you help? Sure! We have many tools for extracting items safely from the insides of instruments.
When I look inside my violin I see something that looks like a tumbleweed. What is it and is it bad for my instrument? You're seeing something called a "tone ball." Tone balls form from accumulated dust rolling around and condensing into a ball. Tone Balls won't hurt your instrument but we're happy to remove them too when you bring in your instrument for servicing.
My cat knocked my viola off the table and it now has several scratches. Can you make them go away? Yes! With her artistic background, the Violin Mechanic specializes in touch up of this kind and takes great pleasure in restoring instruments to their best shiny selves.
Someone told me my Instrument has a "Wolf Tone." What does that mean and what can I do about it? When notes on fine instruments seem to stutter or hesitate, this is known as a "Wolf Tone." It is caused by sound waves cancelling each other out (inside?). We can address this easily by taming the tone with a tool called a "strength eliminator" and get your instrument back to sounding just right.
How do I know when it's time to rehair? There are several indicators that a bow needs rehairing. For one, the hair may look dirty near the frog. Or the hair may be stretched out, which makes it feel difficult to tighten the bow adequately. You may also find it takes more work to get sound from the instrument, or that the bow hair may not want to grip the strings, in spite of careful rosin application. What do you do when you rehair a bow? During a typical rehair, we clean and polish the bow and lubricate the screw. We also check the bow for straightness and overall health, making note of any cracks or chips so you can decide if you would like additional repairs. We also give the rehaired bow a light dusting of powdered rosin to finish.
We're always here to help. Call or email for a check-up, estimate or more information.