nce you’ve purchased your first string instrument, you can begin acquiring essential tools and gear that protect, accessorize, and facilitate easier playing and optimized sound.
Here’s our list of must-have cool gear that will enhance your experience as a string musician. We’ve focused on high-quality products that are priced reasonably, and protect your instrument and related equipment from unnecessary maintenance and repairs.
THE RIGHT CASE IS A TOP PRIORITY
There is no doubt that a high-quality case is a must. You instrument’s case should offer a range of benefits including:
Some degree of water/weather resistance
Light-weight and easy to carry/transport
Plenty of space for your accessories
The ability to grow with your instrument
If you’re a violinist, we recommend investing in a Revelle CrossTECH violin case, which addresses all of the bullet points listed above, as well as an internal suspension system that goes the extra mile to protect busy students’ violins from drops, bumps, and knocks. If you’re a cello or bass player, lightweight becomes even more important – as is back-pack carrying straps and wheels.
When it comes to cool gear for bowed string instruments, Magic Rosin is one of the top items on the list. In addition to customized availability in a seemingly infinite range of colors and patterns (the rosin is actually clear – the colors/patterns are on the bottom of the cake case), Magic Rosin has excellent grip, so it requires fewer passes of the bow and is less likely to gunk up the works.
Read, Notes From Sarah West, Inventor of Magic Rosin, to learn more about this superior rosin option.
You just never know when you’re going to bust a string, and practiced string musicians can attest that strings never snap at convenient moments. By having extra sets on hand, you’ll be prepared to replace a string anywhere at anytime.
Just so you know – strings should be replaced every 300 playing hours, which is about every three- to six- months for the average student. Never replaced your strings before? Read, How to Replace Your Violin Strings. Check out this article on the best Thomastick-Infeld strings for all levels of playing.
CONSIDER CARBON-FIBER OR COMPOSITE BOWS AND SYNTHETIC (VEGAN) HAIR
If you’re a beginner or intermediate player, it’s easy to be romanced by the tradition of wood bows and horsehair. The reality is that you’re better served using a bow that is more durable and has synthetic bow hair that lasts longer.
The beginner and intermediate bows made by Revelle – such as the Rook, Raven, or Phoenix - are known for their high-quality composition and superb sound – not to mention durability. More advanced players will appreciate Revelle’s Falcon.
Pair your bow with Coruss bow hair, and you’ll benefit from vegan hair that lasts two-times longer than traditional horse hair, can be stored for long periods of time without deteriorating, and is known for its excellent response.
A STRING-INSTRUMENT SPECIFIC CLEANING & CARE KIT
Your instrument and bow must be cleaned with a soft, dry cloth after each time you play. This protects the finish, strings, and bow hair from damaging accumulation of rosin dust, environmental dust, and debris, as well as sweat and oil from your fingers.
It’s important to maintain your instrument using tools and equipment that are safe for its varnish and fragile form. These instrument-specific cleaning and care kits from Glaesel are a good place to start until you establish your preferred cleaning tools.
HUMIDITY CONTROL FOR THE CASE
String instruments are susceptible to year-round humidity fluctuations, especially during peak hot and cold seasons. Using a humidity control tool – like the Boveda 2-Way Humidity Control Kit – protects it from swelling, cracking, and so on.
PICK-UP YOUR SOUND WITH A TRANSDUCER
As your musicianship improves, you’ll find yourself in situations where you’ll want to be amplified. Perhaps it’s as a member of your school’s marching band, or it could be the result of joining a band that plays gigs in loud or crowded spaces. Choosing the right pick-up - we’re fans of the Realist Acoustic Transducer – means your violin, viola, cello, mandolin, banjo or string instrument of choice can be heard loud and clear.
HERE'S A FEW OTHER FUN GADGETS TO CHECK OUT
Music stand hanger for violin and bow
this nifty gadget slides onto the front lip of your music stand. You can hang your instrument from it without putting any pressure on the pegs. $8.95
Powered by AAA batteries, this digital metronome has way more features than a traditional one – it has six beat options and seven different rhythms, variable pitches, and tempos. $29.97
Clip on Violin Tuner
This colorful LCD displays the notes in different colors. Attaches to the instrument over the pegbox and out of the way. Easy for young and adult violin, viola, cello, and bass players to use immediately and independently. $9.99
You don’t have to go out and buy all these items, but we do recommend making a Must-Haves Wish List, to share with family and friends, so you can check them off as they’re acquired. Here’s to well-supplied, happy, gorgeous music making!