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HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF MY INSTRUMENT?

  • string instruments
  • guitar / ukulele
  • woodwind
  • brass
  • piano / keyboard

String Instruments

Ensure the instrument is not exposed to the elements
Changes in temperature are the great enemy of string instruments as the wood is susceptible to cracks. Always leave your instrument in a temperature-controlled space. Try to make a gradual temperature transition when moving your instrument from a hot and cold environment.

The humidity around the instrument can greatly affect the sound of your instrument. Using a humidifier and dehumidifier, try to keep the levels between 50-60% for your string instruments.



Clean your instrument regularly
The body of the instrument should be cleaned/dusted with a soft cloth to avoid dust and rosin build-up after every playing session. Rosin dust contains chemicals which will damage your instrument if not removed periodically. Always use a specialised polish for string instruments; do not use furniture polish.

Clean the rosin dust from the strings regularly, as a build-up can cause scratchy bowing. Clean strings vibrate better and last longer. Rosin build-up on the bow can be gently wiped off with a soft cloth.



Handle with care
Always hold the instrument firmly by the neck. Do not leave it standing up. Never rest the instrument with bridge side facing down as it can easily result in the bridge breaking.

When holding the bow without playing or when carrying it, make sure it is held frog-end-down and tip uppermost to avoid damage if dropped. Another frequent cause of accidents is closing the case with the shoulder rest still attached to the instrument.



Strings and bows
If you have been playing on the same strings for some time, they could be responsible for the dull tone of your instrument. Covered strings will wear with use, leading to uneven intonation. Keep a spare set on strings in your case.

How often should you change my instruments strings?
 It is generally recommended that you replace your violin strings every 6-8 months to get the maximum quality out of your strings.

This avoids any build up of sweat, rosin and just general germs from affecting your sound, fingers and instrument! If you’re playing for hours every day, you may need to replace them every 4-6 months, in order to keep that high-quality sound coming.

If you are suffering from any unraveling, loss of sound or even rusting, then it is definitely time to pop into us for strings replacement! You don’t want any nasties affecting you or your instrument. At Crescendo Music, we are experienced in string instrument repairs, services, and restoration. We also do sound adjustment for your string instrument.

Some expert musicians believe that the bow is important, if not more important than the instrument itself. However, for most beginners, a properly maintained bow will help with your playing. Make sure the bow is always slackened off when not in use to preserve its flexibility and longevity. Leaving a bow tightened for a long period, sometimes even just for a few days, is enough to damage the stick and the ends of the bow!

Image below shows how much you should loosen your bow when its at rest. Not too tight and not too loose.

Never over-tighten your bow! An overtightened bow not only makes your playing unpleasant, it can permanently damage a bow, or even cause part(s) of it to break. Quite often an overtightened bow would result in the tip of the bow breaking off, or the ferrule (other end of the bow) to slide forward resulting in the loss of tension on the hair, permanently bending the stick and other nasty issues.

We suggest tightening your bow to roughly a pencil width gap between the hair and the stick, measured from the middle of the bow (see image below). This is a roughly a good way to measure for 4/4 size violin bow. For instruments smaller than a 4/4 size violin, reduce the bow gap slightly. Leave a slightly wider gap for larger instruments such as the 16" viola or the celli.

After the bow has been well used (or over rosined), the hair may need to be restored/replaced. If too many bow hairs have broken, it may need rehairing or you could buy a replacement bow. Ask us if you are unsure.


Invest in a case
Always keep the instrument in its case when it is not being played. A good case is water- and airtight, and will protect both the instrument and the bow.

That's all we've got now for the strings musicians. If you have any further questions shoot us an email or call us.

Guitar & Ukulele

When you've spent your hard-earned money on a guitar or uke, you're going to want to learn something about guitar maintenance. The better you are at keeping your guitar as good as new, the better it will sound and play. The whole process of cleaning and polishing, and bringing an instrument back to its former glory can really be quite a satisfying experience! Here's how to get your instrument looking great – your playing might even improve too.

Storage
The instruments are prone to damage when they're not being played. Storing the guitar on a stand will keep it safely cradled and ready to be picked up and played at any time. Carrying the guitar or uke in a case or bag will further protect it from accidental damage.

Cleaning the fretboard
Everytime after playing, simply wipe down the fretboard and the frets, along with the strings. When you are changing strings, use this opportunity to properly clean every corner of the fretboard and then add some lemon oil or something similar. Use a clean cloth to wipe away the dirt. 

Cleaning the strings
After every playing session, you should wipe down your strings to remove any dirt and oil from our fingers. This can prolong the lifespan and quality of your string! If you are using a compound or liquid to clean the strings, use a string cleaner specifically for this job.

Polishing
First, remove the dust with a lint-free cloth. Then, apply guitar polish (again, use the appropriate cleaning compound) and clean with a microfibre cloth.

Avoiding weather damage
Changes in temperature and humidity is an enemy of guitars and ukes, capable of affecting the sound, construction and appearance. If you expose your guitar to climate conditions that you yourself would be uncomfortable in, chances are that the guitar won't enjoy it either. Sudden changes in temperature will cause the instrument stress.

- Never leave your instrument in a car during summer as the build-up of heat can exceed 50°C.
- Avoid storing the instrument near a heater or air conditioner.
- Do not leave your instrument exposed to direct sunlight for an extended period of time.
- Do not hang guitars/ukes on exterior walls in extreme temperatures
- Store the instrument in a moderate environment of 50% humidity. A dry climate produces tones that are hard and dry. When relative humidity exceeds 60%, the wood may begin to expand.

That's all we've got now for the guitarists and uku musicians. If you have any further questions shoot us an email or call us.

P.S. Guitars and ukes purchased from our store is guaranteed lifetime FREE servicing. Just bring your instrument in whenever you need to and we'll sort it out for you.

Woodwind Instruments

Flute
1. Clean your hands
Flutes are fingerprint magnets and your lip is going on the flute. Make sure your hands are clean and dry before handling your flute. The natural oils on your hands and fingers also may lead to corrosion over time, therefore it is best to stay clean to avoid tarnishing.

2. Assembling your flute
Hold the head joint with your left hand just below the lip plate, place your right hand on the receiver and gently slide the two together. To put on the foot joint, hold down the C and C# keys and gently push together whilst holding the receiver in your other hand. Disassemble the three parts of your flute with a twisting action and by holding each part between your fingertips and palms.

3. Storage
Do not leave your flute lying on the floor after or during practice. It is safer to use a flute stand to avoid accidental damage. Keep your flute in its case when storing for a long period of time to prevent from accidental damage dust, exposure to the sun. Since the parts on the flute are malleable and fragile, a knock on the instrument can lead to a series of problems! 

4. Cleaning your flute
a. Inside
i. Moisture is the greatest enemy of flutes so you need to dry the flute out after playing. Moisture may cause the pads to swell and lose their seal. The head joint’s tuning cork will eventually shrink and leak air, and fail to keep its correct position inside the tube.
ii. Take a lint-free cloth and thread it through a flute cleaning rod. Wrap the cloth around the tip and insert through all sections of the flute separately. Twist the cleaning rod and withdraw when all moisture has been absorbed. Alternatively, the use of a pull-through cloth can effectively absorb the moisture within the flute, protecting the pads and metal from any damage that may be caused.


b. Outside
i. Clean the outside of the flute with a special cloth designed for wiping fingerprints, grease and dirt. Use the cloth to clean the joints and the surface of the keys themselves. Do not use the same cloth to clean the inside and outside of the instrument. Do not use metal polish of any kind. Do not apply pressure on the keys or other delicate parts. A little sound from opening and closing keypads is normal. A silver polish cloth can effectively remove small, tarnished regions on the flute, and regular cleaning prevents tarnishing from occurring. 

5. Servicing
As a general rule, have your flute serviced by a trained technician once a year. An older flute or one that had not been serviced or maintained properly may need a major service (overhaul), including replacing the pads, screws, re-alignment etc... To have your instrument's condition checked, check with your teacher or reach out to us and our technicians will provide a free quote.

Clarinet
When you buy or play a new clarinet, there are several items that will help you keep it in good condition. By keeping a clarinet clean and dry, it will always be ready for perfect playing and will cause less frustration. It is a good idea to have the clarinet serviced by a qualified technician on an annual basis.

- Cork grease is essential to allow easy assembly of each section and provides a good air seal.
- A pull-through cleaner allows you to remove any moisture from the inside of the clarinet to prevent decay.


- A mouthpiece swab will help keep the inside bore of the mouthpiece clean, allowing easy passage of air when playing.
- A mouthpiece cushion provides your top teeth with a more comfortable resting place and takes away annoying vibrations that may interfere with playing.
- A thumb rest cushion makes playing a lot more comfortable and prevents sore thumbs, while providing support when playing.
- Key oil will lubricate the metal-on-metal movement of all the key-work allowing for smoother and easier playing.
- Bore oil for wooden clarinets will prevent the wood from drying out and cracking.

Recorder
- A good quality plastic recorder is easier to keep clean than a wooden recorder.
- Regular washing with warm soapy water followed by a thorough rinsing will keep the recorder hygienic.
- Plastic recorders should be wiped thoroughly with a recorder mop after playing.

That's all we've got now for the woodwind instruments. If you have any further questions shoot us an email or call us.

Brass instruments

Trumpet
When you start playing the trumpet, regular maintenance will help you keep it in good condition. Cleaning the trumpet can be quick and easy, and if done regularly, should avoid problems which could result in a costly repair bill. The two most important factors to remember when caring for your trumpet are cleanliness and regular lubrication.

- Clean the mouthpiece at least once a week with warm water and a mouthpiece brush. This will help keep the inside bore of the mouthpiece clean and allow easy passage of air.
- The valves should be removed in sequence and dried using a lint-free cloth, ensuring that no moisture remains. When replacing a valve, rotate it until it clicks into position. A valve brush allows you to remove any debris from the valve chamber.


- A flexible trumpet snake brush cleans out the inside parts of the trumpet that cannot be seen.
- Valve oil is essential to lubricate the metal-on-metal movement of the valves.


- Slide grease is important in preventing the three slides on a trumpet from seizing up. It also allows easy tuning.
- When you have finished playing, loosen the valve caps by half a turn. This avoids trapped moisture from causing corrosion in the screw threads. If the mouthpiece gets stuck inside the trumpet, do not panic and do not try to remove it yourself. Music shops like Crescendo Music have a special gadget for safe removal of the mouthpiece.

That's all we've got now for the brass musicians. If you have any further questions shoot us an email or call us.

 

Piano Keyboard Instruments

Digital Keyboard / Piano

Using
Wash your hands before playing the piano as the white keys usually make obvious any dirt/stains on the keys (especially the glossy keys!). Always do a quick wipe down on the keys after playing to prevent dirt from forming and falling in between the keys. Try to refrain from eating near (or on) the instrument (we have seen this before) as it dirties the instrument as well as invite mini creatures to live inside the piano.


Storage
Try to display the keyboard away from any heat source such as the window, black curtain, or next to a running machine. If your house tends to collect more dust, always cover the keyboard when not in use to prevent build-up of clumps of dust on the inside of the piano (yes we have seen this too). 

That's all we've got now for the pianists. If you have any further questions about the digital (or acoustic) piano, just shoot us an email or call us.