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​The Complete Guide to Looking After Your Cello.

The Complete Guide to Looking After Your Cello.

Well, c-hello. (Sorry).

Classical musical instruments aren’t cheap. In many cases, they can be blisteringly, painfully, bank-manager-collapsing-ly expensive.

So, it pays to look after them.

Here’s our guide on keeping your cello in brand, spanking new condition.

Keep it clean.

This is obviously Care 101, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay it due attention. Cellos are usually fine to be dusted once a week or so – or before any live performance. You don’t need any fancy cleaners: a slightly damp cloth will usually be fine. The only exception is if you’ve got a build-up of rosin: then, you can use a SMALL amount of violin polish. No silicone and no wax!

Store it safely.

You don’t actually need to store your cello in its case unless you’re going on the road. However, it’s worth finding somewhere secure in which to keep it if you’ve got pets or children: cellos aren’t the most balanced of instruments, and even the smallest things can knock it over. And yes, just one fall is enough to wreck the instrument for life.

Keep the bridge in place.

Bridges can snap, or be pulled over by the tension of the strings. Look at it once a week or so to ensure that it’s still perpendicular to the body of the cello: if it’s slanting too much, that’s where the problems start. If you need to adjust the bridge, loosen the strings slightly and then move it into place using both hands. (The feet of the bridge should be centered between the f holes, in line with the notches).

Keep an eye on the endpin.

The best way to deal with this potentially dangerous piece is to pick up an endpin holder with an adjustable strap: these aren’t expensive, and are a far better option than simply having the pin sticking out where anyone could trip over it!

Look after your bow, and your bow will look after you.

Bows need more looking after than the cello, traditionally, so ensure you keep yours safe: all it takes is a lack of care and some bad luck, and you’ve got a bow that’s snapped in half. The best option is to use some kind of PVC pipe large enough in which to keep the bow, and to store this in your cello case whenever you’re not playing. Oh, and loosen the tension on the bow when you’re not using it.


Cello strings are pretty durable, and don’t need anywhere near as much cleaning as some people think. Unless you’re a pro who’s playing every night, cleaning the rosin off your strings once a month or so using a cloth with a little alcohol on it will be more than sufficient. However, do not get any alcohol on the cello itself: the finish won’t like it at all! In terms of changing strings, once a year is more than enough, especially if you don’t play live. Do keep an extra pair spare, though, just in case.

Don’t stress about scratches.

Instruments made of wood will attract scratches over time: it’s virtually unavoidable. So don’t worry about it. The only time to be concerned is if the scratch is deeper and more pronounced, but a good luthier will normally be able to touch up the damage. If it’s a proper crack, however, then don’t even go near it: cellos aren’t DIY repair instruments!

Don’t discount humidity.

The temperature of the air and humidity levels all affect instruments made of wood: it’s usually this that causes cracks. If you have got a pricier cello, don’t take it outdoors without the case. You should keep your instrument in a room that has a level temperature and humidity. Steer clear of the garage, a car boot or leaning the cello on a radiator!

Check out our Cello StringsBows and Accessories, here at Musicana.co.uk.

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