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Selection and Care Tips for Stringed Instruments

These are articles that appeared in a newsletter that Meadowood published in its first seven years.  Some contain edits that we've made more recently and some have videos demonstrating the text (videos embedded in web sites was not an available technology in 2000).

What kind of wood is best?


Well, that depends.  

Set-up - Requires some knowledge and skill


An explanation what's involved in doing it correctly.

Bugs? Finding and treating the problem


Bow mites, also known as museum mites, can cause some problems.

What can I do to escape the perils of dehydration?


One of the most dangerous problems your wooden instruments face.

Why do Instruments Need Periodic Adjustments?


Things that cause wood to move and instruments to need adjustment.

What does it mean to 'fit' a violin bridge?


Bridges are unique to the instrument they serve.

Do you have good instrument ettiquette?


Courteous treatment of other people's instruments.

So, you got a new instrument...


What to expect as your instrument settles.

Humidity, again?


Indeed, a crucial consideration for the wellbeing of your instrument.

Are used instruments good for beginners?


You should know the benefits and liabilities before going out to look.

How about we refinish it?


In VERY few cases is it a good idea to refinish an instrument.  

What's the correct way to change strings?


There are ways that are more slick and effective than others.

What distinguishes instrument grade wood?


It is different from the stuff you find at a lumber yard in a lot of ways.  

What basics should I know about pickups?


Amplifying an instrument well requires some finesse.

Why and where do instruments crack?


Violin familiy instruments, guitars and mandolins crack predictably.  

What's so important about neck angle?


The angle of the neck is crucial to volume and playability.

How do I protect instruments from summer heat?


Heat is neck-in-neck with dehydration as a risk to your instrument.  

Is there a right way to change strings?


Yes.  Learn the basics here.

Tilting, lifting & warping bridges


What causes these problems and why they matter.

What should I do with my instrument at festivals?


Tips on keeping your instrument safe and available.

What qualifies someone to work on instruments?


Working on musical instruments requires expertise & attention to detail.  

Should I insure my instrument?


If it has significant financial value, you probably should.

What size instrument should I play?


It depends on your size and the kind of sound you are seeking.  

Why does Meadowood harp on humidity?


Because a lack of humidity can badly damage an instrument.

Why and how should I clean my instrument?


Some cleaners and polishes are NOT a good choice.  

Why do seams open and braces come loose?


You can prevent these problems most of the time.

What should I look for in an instrument case?


How to choose the right combination of price, weight and protection.  

How often should I change strings?


It depends on the sound you are seeking and your experience level.  

Why does the finish have cracks?


Sombody exposed the instrument to a sudden temperature change.

Why can't I keep my instrument tuned?


It could be as simple as how you put on the strings.  

Will air travel damage my instrument?


There are steps you can take to protect it and, now, laws to protect it.

Why are the strings hard to press?


Your instrument might need a set-up.  

What's causing that buzz?


Buzzing is one of the most frustrating problems on stringed instruments.

What is 'intonation' and why should I care?


If your instrument can't produce correct pitches, you won't sound good..  

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