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How to Avoid Cello Repair with Proper Maintenance

how to avoid cello repair

Despite its larger size, the cello is a delicate stringed instrument, meaning that it needs special care. But with proper cello maintenance, you can enjoy your instrument for decades. 

But what happens if you don’t take care of your cello? You can affect its appearance, its sound, its structural integrity, and eventually, your ability to play the instrument. Here's some things to look out for so you can avoid taking your cello into the shop for an expensive repair job. 

  • Remove the rosin from the strings and body of your cello. If you don't, it gradually builds up over time and it'll be more difficult to remove. This also affects how the bow grips the strings as well as the varnish that protects the instrument.
  • Watch the bridge movement. The position of the bridge allows you to create wonderful sounds with your cello, but tuning your instrument can cause the bridge to pull forward. If it moves forward too much, it can break.
  • Hands off the hair. The bow is your cello’s best friend. Never touch the hair because this transfers damaging sweat. Over-tightening can make your bow lose its needed curve.

Common Cello Fixes

Even with the meticulous care, your cello most likely will need some repairs over time. Here are some common cello repairs you can perform yourself with minimal expense:

  • Scratches: Using a pumice and paraffin oil on a soft cloth, you can buff out unslightly surface blemishes.
  • Warped bridge: Your cello’s bridge can become warped because of excess humidity and temperatures, plus continual tightening of the strings. Keep an eye on the bridge so that you can pull it back into proper position. If your bridge becomes warped, you can always replace it.
  • Open seams: This can occur when the sides of your cello come apart from the face or back. For smaller seam openings, you can easily repair it by securing it with specialty cello glue and letting it set in place for several hours. If the open seam is larger, take it to a professional - it's not worth the risk of making it worse. 

Simple Cello Maintenance

Below are three quick and easy ways you can help keep your cello in peak condition (and out of the repair shop):

Handle with Care

Being careful when transporting or moving your instrument is the first factor in cello maintenance. Avoid bumping it, which can break the bridge, chip the varnish, or crack the wood. Even when it is in the case, keep your cello facing upwards to prevent damage. Always secure your cello and its bow properly in the case to minimize movement and possibly breakage during travel.

A Clean Machine

When you are done playing your cello, use a soft cloth to wipe away fingerprints, sweat, and rosin from every area, such as the strings and fingerboard, that you touched. About once a week, apply a denatured alcohol to the strings to keep them in good working condition. Don’t forget to clean between the fingerboard and strings either.

Mind the Elements

Cellos are naturally sensitive to differences in both temperature and humidity. Any changes, however slight, can cause your instrument not just to go out of tune, but can also damage it. For additional cello maintenance, use a humidifier or insert a Dampit to maintain a constant level of humidity.

Keep in mind that over the years, it is natural that your cello will need professional maintenance and repair. But with regular care and attention, you can keep your cello in peak condition for many years to come.


parts of a cello

Learn cello online with Mike Block at ArtistWorks! Click below for more info and free sample lessons:

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