More Tips and How To
4/4 Size Bow = 29 1/8”
3/4 Size Bow = 27 1/8”
1/2 Size Bow = 24 3/4”
1/4 Size Bow = 22 1/4”
1/8 Size Bow = 20 1/16”
1/10 Size Bow = 18 1/8”
1/16 Size Bow = 17 1/4”
16” Size Bow = 29 1/2”
4/4 Size Bow = 28 1/8”
3/4 Size Bow = 26 1/4”
1/2 Size Bow = 24 3/4”
1/4 Size Bow = 22 3/4”
1/8 Size Bow = 21 1/8”
1/10 Size Bow = 19 1/8”
French Style Bow = 28 1/2”
German Style Bow = 29 1/2”
Violin - With arm extended, measure the length from the left side of the middle of the neck (where you would take a pulse) to the middle of the palm on the left hand.
14 1⁄8 - 16 7⁄8 1⁄16 Size Violin
16 7⁄8- 18 1⁄2 1⁄8 Size Violin
18 1⁄2 - 20 3⁄8 1⁄4 Size Violin
20 3⁄8 - 22 1⁄4 1⁄2 Size Violin
22 1⁄4 - 23 3⁄4 3⁄4 Size Violin
23 3⁄4 & Up Full Size Violin
Viola - The hand should be able to cup the scroll while the instrument is in playing position.
Cello - While sitting straight in a chair, feet on the floor, with the endpin partially extended, rest the cello against the chest at a slight angle. The C-string should be near the left ear, and the top of the cello body should be in contact with the breastbone. The left hand should be able to run the length of the fingerboard. The knees should comfortably hug either side of the instrument.
Bass - Stand in playing position with the instrument. The nut should be near eye level. The right hand should be able to run the length of the bow across the strings comfortably. The left hand should be able to finger all the strings.
Ebony: Is one of the densest woods available. It is a preferred wood for violin fittings.
Ebonized: Most commonly used to describe a hard wood that is dyed or stained dark black to give it the look of ebony. It is sometimes mistakenly used for woods that are painted black, an inferior way of treating the wood.
Ebonite: A hard rubber or plastic that resembles ebony.
A violin is tuned in perfect 5ths to GDAE. The fourth string (the thickest) being tuned to the “G” that is a 5th above middle “C” on a piano. We’ve found the best way for students to tune is using a violin pitch pipe because it helps build ear training.
The life span of a violin family instrument directly correlates to how well it is taken care of. The daily ritual of cleaning and the proper storage of an instrument are crucial to its longevity and playability. Always wipe down an instrument’s strings with a soft, dry cloth after it is played. There will be rosin from the bow left on the strings and rosin dust underneath the strings on the body. This will build up and degrade the integrity and resonance of the strings if not wiped down, as well as leave a nasty buildup on the body. Also, always loosen the tension on the bow after use. Not doing this could cause the bow to warp or break over time.
Humidity and temperature are archenemies of violins. A good balance between the two is important for good violin health. Dry weather might cause cracking in the wood and finish whereas extreme humidity and heat could cause the varnish to bubble. It is best to keep the instrument indoors in an air-conditioned room. If you don’t have the luxury of AC, an interesting trick is to keep a wet paper towel in a punctured plastic bag in the violin case. This will act as a humidifier and keep the violin safe. Never leave a violin in a car, as the heat will be devastating to it. Because it is easy to damage a violin, keep the instrument in a closed case after it has been played. Violins are delicate instruments that can be greatly injured by the slightest mishap. Following these simple rules can keep a violin around for a lifetime or longer.
Violins are much more sensitive than other stringed instruments and as such they need a bit more care. We recommend polishing a violin not more than once or twice a year. Polishing the violin will only help it to look better; it will not enhance the playability or sound. Otherwise, just keep the violin dry and dust free with a soft cloth. Use violin polish when ready but be careful NOT to get any polish on the strings or the bow. Getting polish on either of these will damage the items.
A viola is tuned in perfect 5th’s to CGDA. The fourth string (the thickest) being tuned to the “C” that is the same as middle “C” on a piano. It is easy for students to tune their viola, and build ear training, by using Palatino pitch pipes.
Changing a fine tuner tailpiece is an easy job for our violin family instruments. First, remove the strings on the violin and simply remove the existing tailpiece and tailpiece hanger. Line up the end of your new fine tuner tailpiece to the bottom of the saddle. Thread the ends of the tailpiece hanger, or tailgut, through the holes at the bottom of the tailpiece. Fasten the screws and collars to the hanger ends and adjust evenly. Then fit the tailpiece hanger around the endpin groove. The lower saddle bears the weight of the tailpiece so adjust the screws so that the saddle is high enough for the tailpiece to clear the belly of the instrument. Now the violin is ready to be restrung and enjoyed. In just a few simple steps you are on your way to playing again!
The cello is tuned to CGDA, with the “A” being just below middle “C”. We offer cello pitch pipes that make it easier for students to tune their instrument, while developing ear training.
The bass is tuned to EADG, like the bottom four strings of a guitar. Using a quartz tuner for bass will help tune the instrument while further developing ear training skills.
Just like a guitar, a violin can have its action adjusted to an individual’s taste. Here is a simple setup procedure that can be done even if you are not a violin expert. The shaping of the violin bridge will determine the clearance of the strings from the end of the fingerboard (known as action to a guitar player). Each violin’s fingerboard is slightly different, and the bridge can be shaped to match the individual variations in the fingerboard. To do this procedure you will need a flat file, a small V-shaped file, and 180-grit sandpaper.Just like a guitar, a violin can have its action adjusted to an individual’s taste. Here is a simple setup procedure that can be done even if you are not a violin expert. The shaping of the violin bridge will determine the clearance of the strings from the end of the fingerboard (known as action to a guitar player). Each violin’s fingerboard is slightly different, and the bridge can be shaped to match the individual variations in the fingerboard. To do this procedure you will need a flat file, a small V-shaped file, and 180-grit sandpaper.
1. At the end of the fingerboard, measure the distance from the fingerboard to the string at the G and E strings.
2. We recommend a clearance of 3/16” for the G string and 1/8” for the E string. Use the flat file to reduce the unnecessary clearance by shaping the bridge accordingly. Make sure that the new bridge shape is similar to the one pictured. Be careful not to file the bridge too low.
3. You may need to measure and file the bridge a few times to get the clearance right. Start small.
4. Use the 180-grit sandpaper to smooth the rough edges off the top of the re-shaped bridge.
5. Next you will need to put a slight notch for the strings in the bridge to maintain proper string spacing. Measure 7/32” from the center of the bridge to the left. Using the V-shaped file, put a small notch in the bridge.
6. Measuring 7/16” left of the existing notch, put another notch in the bridge.
7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the A and E strings to the right of the bridge.
Before applying rosin to a violin bow, be sure that the rosin cake has some powder on the surface. If there isn’t any powder on the surface, scrape a coin along the surface to give texture to the cake. Making sure that the bow hair is taught, rub the rosin gently along the bow hair from the frog to the top of the bow. Do this 25+ times if the bow is new, 4+ times if it is not. Be careful not to touch the bow hair with your hands when putting rosin on, as the oils in your hand will damage it. Put the bow to the strings and play a few open strings. If there is any slippage with the bow, or if little sound is being produced, it needs more rosin. A properly rosined bow will bring a very clear, expressive tone from the violin.
The first step in setting up a trumpet is to clean and oil the valves. To do this, unscrew the top cap of the first valve. Then carefully remove the piston inside and place it off to the side on a soft towel. Unscrew the bottom cap of the first valve and place it on the towel as well. Repeat with the second and third valves. Remove the main tuning slide and the tuning slides for each individual valve. Then place these slides off to the side on the towel. Rinse the trumpet body with mildly soapy distilled water (not tap water), making especially sure to thoroughly clean inside the valve casing to remove any residual metal fillings from manufacturing. Rinse away the soap with regular distilled water.
Dry the outside of the trumpet by patting it down with a soft towel and then polish away any water marks with a soft, dry cloth. Next, wash the silver pistons, bottom valve caps, and tuning slides (inside and outside) with soapy distilled water. Avoid getting the felt and/or cork on the finger buttons wet. Rinse with regular distilled water and allow the valves, tuning slides, and inside of the trumpet to completely air-dry before reassembly. When all the parts are dry, screw the bottom valve caps back on. Apply several drops of valve oil to the inside valve casing and the piston valve.
Return the piston to the casing by lining up the notch inside the valve casing with the plastic runner at the bottom of the spring on the piston. If necessary, slowly turn the valve until it clicks into place. Replace and tighten the valve cap. Repeat these steps with the two other valves and pistons but be sure to put them back in their regular places. The trumpet will not play correctly if the valves aren’t in their original positions.
Before the trumpet is ready to play the mouthpiece must first be installed. This is a simple step but make sure to GENTLY slide the mouthpiece into the receiver. Then twist it lightly to the right to make sure it is seated correctly. Do not force the mouthpiece in with a palm or fist as it will make the mouthpiece stick and very difficult to remove. You will want to take the mouthpiece out for daily cleaning as well as storing the trumpet in its case.
Trumpets are normally built a bit sharp when it comes to tuning. To get the trumpet to be tuned correctly, pull out the largest of the three tuning slides about a 1/4 to a 1/2 of an inch. The trumpet can be fine tuned further by slightly pushing or pulling this same tuning slide to match other instruments in group situations.
The note signifies which pitch is sounded when a musician plays a written C. For example, a Bb clarinet will sound an actual Bb pitch when the musician plays a written C from his score. Instruments that sound a different pitch than the written note are called “transposing instruments.” Transposing instruments were used to avoid too many accidentals before the mechanical systems on these instruments were perfected. In the past, a clarinet player would switch among several clarinets, depending on the key of the piece. With this transposing system, the player would have to learn only one set of fingerings in order to play clarinets in any key. The only exceptions to this transposing rule are low brass. Trombones, baritones, and tubas are instruments that sound Bb when playing a written Bb. They are “non-transposing” instruments.
Taking proper care of a piano is essential for it to perform well. With these few tips, your piano will look and sound as new as the day you got it. The better your piano looks and sounds while on display, the quicker it will sell!
Always keep a piano away from heating and air conditioning vents. Direct hot and/or cold air will degrade the finish and eventually the wood. Try and maintain a consistent temperature and humidity level around the piano. Seasonal fluctuations in humidity are problematic for pianos. This is because the wood will shrink and expand with those changes. In extreme cases this can cause cracking in the wood and joint failure.
If you are displaying a piano against a wall, leave a 6” gap from the piano to the wall. This will create comfortable airflow for all sides of the piano.
Also, do not put the piano in direct sunlight for long periods of time. This is detrimental to the finish and will cause tuning problems over time.
To keep a piano looking shiny and new, polish it with a soft, damp cloth, wiping in the direction of the grain. Then use a soft, dry cloth to pick up the leftover moisture and residue. We recommend that you do not use furniture polish, or any cleaning/polishing agents for that matter, on the piano because they will make the finish dull. You can also clean the piano keys with the same method as above, but be sure to use a different cloth on the black keys than you use on the white keys.