How to Keep Your Violin “Tuned Up” and Playable

September 23, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Entertainment

Good care and maintenance are vital in preserving a violin, whether or not the instrument endures frequent travel or gets handled often. All instruments need regular cleaning and attention, and much of it can be done at home. Every so often, an instrument should also be taken in to the local violin shop for a more thorough cleaning, restringing and bridge adjustment.

Rosin is the solid form of resin used to obtain grip while bowing. During playing it rubs off the bow causing rosin dust to accumulate on the instrument’s surface and strings. Rosin dust damages the instrument’s varnish and care should be taken to wipe it away with a cloth after each playing.

Care should be taken to wash hands before playing, and touching the violin should be minimized beyond the chin rest, neck and fingerboard. The violin should be wiped lightly with a soft, lint-free cloth after every playing. Still, oil and sweat can build over time and will need to be cleaned to avoid damage to the varnish. In most cases, it is recommended to bring the instrument to a violin shop where the instrument can receive a thorough cleaning by a trained professional. Lint-free cloths can also be found at an online violin store.

Replacing strings is necessary as the acid from sweat and rosin slowly degrades the quality of the strings over time. Though many violinists replace their strings themselves, it is safer to have a professional do it, as the loosening of strings can affect the pressure of the instrument, causing the sound post to move or fall out of place.

For a bridge to last a long time, it needs to be inspected regularly and straightened as needed. Place two fingers from each hand on either side of the bridge, and adjust the bridge with the thumbs. Violin owners who do not feel confident about bridge adjustments should bring the instrument to their local violinmaker for adjustments.

Studio City Music was the vision of Paul Toenniges, born in De Kalb, Illinois in 1908. Paul began his studies of instrument making under the promptings of Carl Becker Sr., his brother-in-law. He worked alongside some of the greatest names in American violinmakers and restorers while working at William Lewis & Son in Chicago from 1926 to 1940. While there, Paul established himself as an excellent repairman and fine bass maker. He moved to Los Angeles in 1945, where he worked at the Rudolf Wurlitzer branch from 1946 to 1950. Finally, in 1950, Paul opened his own shop, which he named Studio City Music.

Paul ran a simple family-owned and operated business along with his wife, Ruth, and two daughters, Nancy and Jane. Nancy Toenniges showed a remarkable talent in restoration at an early age and it was decided that she should attend the Violinmaking School in Mittenwald, Germany to further her education.

While in Mittenwald, Nancy met her future husband, Hans Benning, also a student in the violinmaking school. Together they returned to Studio City Music in 1964 to continue the legacy of their shop.

Hans Benning continued his studies working for a time with Carl Becker Sr. in Chicago and with others in the California area, such as Raymond Del Prado and Frank Kovanda.

Eventually, in 1978, Hans and Nancy Benning took over Studio City Music when Paul retired. The longevity of Studio City Music seems very much intact now that Hans’ and Nancy’s son, Eric Benning, has come to work for them and intends on running the shop for the third generation.

Eric Benning began making his first violin when he was 9-years-old and completed it when he was only 11, working only Saturdays and holidays. Studying under his father Hans until he was 25, Eric began studying with renowned violinmaker Carl Becker Jr., of Chicago.

View Finding Bespoke: “The Violinmaker” A film by Michael Bernard, featuring Benning Violins.

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Please contact us with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment. From the beginner to the professional, our knowledgeable staff, comprised of skilled luthiers and professional string players, is efficient and quality-conscious and offers warm and personalized attention.

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Located in Studio City, Benning Violins is the premiere violin shop in Los Angeles, offering a selection of fine and master crafted violins, violas, cellos and bows for the beginner, student and professional, as well as bow rehairs, rental, instrument rep.

This author has published 24 articles so far.

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