Help me clean my fiddle! Please????

Help me clean my fiddle! Please????

Rosin seems to really stick to my fiddle and I can’t get it off, I’ve tried just dusting it but I always seem to be left with this kind of sticky coat of rosin caked on it. Not even when I’ve polished it does it come off.

Anyone got any suggestions at it’s driving me crazy and I’m worried about attacking it with anything incase I do some damage.

Stressed fiddler from Inverness….

Re: Help me clean my fiddle! Please????

Whatever you do, DON’T use a solvent! A solvent that will deal with caked oxidised rosin will, in all likelihood, take the varnish off as well.
If the oxidised rosin coating has got to the stage where it is unsightly, or is starting to affect the vibrations of the instrument (theoretically possible), or (more seriously) is liely to attack the underlying varnish and wood, the safest thing to do is to place it in the hands of a good fiddle repairer.
Trevor

Re: Help me clean my fiddle! Please????

An after-thought. Even if you don’t make a habit of always cleaning rosin off the fiddle always clean it off the bow after playing. The varnish and underlying wood of the bow is more easily damaged by rosin dust than the varnish of the instrument.
Trevor

Re: Help me clean my fiddle! Please????

I use Mr Sheen’s wipes - it seems to work.

Posted by .

Re: Help me clean my fiddle! Please????

Speak to Charlie Webster, the fiddle man at Abriachan. Oh, and Mr Sheen’s wipes sound scary - but then I’m a bit of a chemical-phobe.

Re: Help me clean my fiddle! Please????

I hear that malt vinegar on a soft cloth helps? However, I would thoroughly investigate all of these suggestions before applying anything to it…

Re: Help me clean my fiddle! Please????

I found some advice at this urlhttp://www.sfscottishfiddlers.org/care_feeding.html "CLEANING: Always wipe off your violin and the strings with a soft, clean cloth after playing. It is also helpful to wipe off the bow stick after use. Varnish is made from the same material as rosin so they tend to adhere to each other. If not cleaned the rosin will build up, creating a thicker and thicker layer of “varnish” which in time will affect the sound and appearance of the instrument. If it is necessary to clean off old rosin I have found that a common natural cleaning product called “Citra-Solv” is very helpful. Always test first. This product can be found in most health food stores. Never use furniture polishes on your violin as they contain oils that build up on the varnish."

Re: Help me clean my fiddle! Please????

Good advice from the previous posters. Just a thought - maybe you are using too much rosin in the first place. I only get a very thin film of rosin, easy to brush off, even after hours of playing - and I play hard (ie dig in with the bow).

Jim

Re: Help me clean my fiddle! Please????

Backer, Citra-solve is pretty strong stuff, you’re sure it won’t affect the finish?

Posted by .

Re: Help me clean my fiddle! Please????

I’ve used a cream polish, made by a company like Glaesel or Hill—they bring up a nice lustre. I would stay away from citrus cleaners—I’ve used citrus paint removers…

David

Re: Help me clean my fiddle! Please????

I’ll go along with David’s advice. I use Hill’s varnish cleaner on my new fiddle, and also a similar cream from the USA "for antique violins", for my old German fiddle, but the label’s come off and I don’t now know who made the stuff 🙂

When applying these specialist varnish cleaners do it sparingly and clean off lightly with a clean soft cloth in the direction of the grain of the wood - so that’s top to bottom for the front, and side to side for the back.

Never apply these varnish cleaners to any areas where there are open cracks or seams. It is good policy to have these seen to first if the instrument is intrinsically valuable or is a valued possession. Likewise, never use furniture polish (either rub-on or spray).

My 200-year old German fiddle, when it came into my possession after 60 years of complete non-use and being battered around in a disgusting old case, was in dire need of attention - virtually a rebuild. There was a very thick build-up of black oxidised rosin on the belly extending from the bridge area well up under the fingerboard. The luthier removed most of this, certainly in the important areas, during the restoration. I suspect he removed it very carefully using simple mechanical techniques, because there is evidence of carefully matched new varnish where the rosin had been. The instrument has now recovered the fine tone which my family tradition says it used to have.

Trevor

Re: Help me clean my fiddle! Please????

Jim’s right. Far too many string players use far too much rosin on their bows - and I’m not referring just to ITM players. If you clean all the rosin off the strings (using alcohol) and then apply the bow, and you can then see rosin on the strings then you have enough rosin on the bow, and it will probably be enough for several hours of playing.

When applying rosin to the bow it’s best to keep the rosin still and move the bow over it at a pressure similar to that which you use for playing. You shouldn’t need more than 4-6 passes. If you find you really need a lot of rosin applied frequently then that is a sure sign the bow needs rehairing.

Too much rosin can block up the microscopic hairs on the horse-hair of the bow and stop them from doing their work of vibrating the string, and a build-up of rosin on the strings will affect the tone and responsiveness.

I’ve already mentioned the bad effect a build-up of rosin on the belly of the instrument can have. I know that some players believe that a big white splodge of rosin around the bridge adds some sort of cred, but is this really worth the long-term damage to what might be a valuable instrument? - although I wouldn’t put this in the same class as those fiddle players in concerts who apparently arrange for their bows to shed most of their hairs during performance in order to impress the punters!

Trevor

Re: Help me clean my fiddle! Please????

Hi, the man to contact is charlie webster in abriachan as west coaster suggested.He is easily found and his number is in the phone directory. He has restored all of our fiddles and is a real enthusiast,expert and mine of information.
take care yours , worzel

Re: Help me clean my fiddle! Please????

use a tad of pledge on a duster and it shod b fine!!!

Re: Help me clean my fiddle! Please????

A wee dab of mr muscle on a cotton bud