the key to instrument longevity
For classical strings (violin, viola, cello, double bass): Use a Damp-It (buy online or at a local music store). One or two in the instrument with the instrument in its closed case, should keep the instrument well humidified. Keep the Damp-It moist, but not soaking.
For guitars: Purchase a guitar humidifier (try Melodee Music or search online, there are a variety of options). Use according to the manufacturer's instructions. We recommend adding one drop of bleach or rubbing alcohol into any humidifier that you have to add water to, every month or two to prevent mold growth. If there is mold growing/visible in/on the humidifier, throw it away immediately and purchase another one. Or purchase one of the new chemical humidifiers that do not use water, which avoids all mold issues.
For acoustic pianos: We recommend calling The Piano Company here in Leesburg and speaking to one of their representatives about getting a piano humidifier (not needed for digital pianos). This will require professional installation, please do not attempt to install one yourself unless you have prior experience doing so.
For woodwind instruments (clarinets, oboes, etc.): Keep the instrument in its case in a well humidified room. Play often to prevent cracks. Saliva and warm air (lovely, we know) keeps the instrument well humidified if played often.
Polishing and Cleaning
For classical strings (violin, viola, cello, double bass): DO NOT USE PLEDGE! Use a microfiber cloth and some instrument polish recommended for your instrument.
For guitars with a gloss finish: Wipe off the strings with a cotton cloth (old cotton T-shirt works great). Do not use this same cloth to polish the body of your instrument. Use a microfiber cloth to clean the body. Periodically, use some VERY light spritzes of Turtle spray car wax to bring back the gloss. Do not do this frequently.
For guitars with a flat finish: Wipe off the strings with a cotton cloth (old cotton T-shirt works great). Do not use this same cloth to polish the body of your instrument. Use a microfiber cloth to clean the body.
For woodwinds: Be sure to swab out the instrument after every time you play. Polish with a silk cloth. For wooden instruments, use some bore oil every few months. Place a few drops of oil in the instrument (NOT including the mouthpiece), and use a swab to swab it through. Swab through the bore a couple of times. Do not use this swab for every day cleaning, just use it for bore oil. For flutes, use a special rod and cloth to clean the instrument.
For acoustic pianos: DO NOT USE PLEDGE! Contact The Piano Company with the wood and finish specifications of your instrument and get their recommendations on cleaning.
For brass: Use the long 30” snake twice a year, through your main tubing using warm soapy water and the valves removed. Use caution when pushing the snake into the valve casings as the snake can scratch the casing walls, damage them and make your valves stick. Most cleaning kits come with a second and smaller 3” snake, for mouth piece cleaning. Use this monthly to clean the germs and deposits in the shank of the mouthpiece, again use warm and soapy water. If you have a cold, use rubbing alcohol to clean the mouthpiece every few days on the cup and rim and also apply liberally inside the cup, as this will kill cold germs and keep you from re-infecting yourself with the same cold virus.