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Cleaning Musical Instruments 06 January 2015
Cleaning Musical Instruments

When you play an instrument, it’s not as simple as merely picking it up, learning to play and then expanding on your ability. Over time, natural oils from our hands, dust and saliva can build up and result in the instrument becoming grimy and, in extreme circumstance, this not only effects the appearance, it can affect the tone and way the instrument sounds. Part of owning an instrument is taking pride in it and maintaining its upkeep. One way of doing this is to keep it clean and most instruments have their own specific methods with which you have to clean them. Here are some of the ways you can clean different instruments.GuitarGuitars and other string instruments only need cleaning once in a while – only once or twice a year and that’s with regular use - but it’s important than when you do, you do it properly in order to not damage the instrument. Firstly, remove the strings and clean these separately; don’t apply any water to these, just hold one end of each string and run a cloth or paper towel down the length of the string. For the fret board and neck, use cloth that’s been rinsed with water and thoroughly wrung out, as you don’t want the food to become wet. Don’t use any chemicals or kitchen cleaning products for this, as it can harm it. Some guitar brands will have a specific cleaning solution available, which you may prefer to use. Use the cloth to work in between each fret. For the body of the guitar, use the same method or simply a dry cloth, if it’s not too dirty. If the guitar is acoustic, clean inside by either blowing any dust out or using a special, flexible attachment on a mini vacuum cleaner. Don’t use your bare hands, as you may damage or merely nudge a component which can drastically change the sound of the instrument. You can now reattach the strings. FluteFlutes and other wind instruments involve blowing into the instrument in order to produce a note. This results in saliva particles building inside and therefore, if you play the flute, you should really clean it after every use in order for it not to become dirty and unhygienic. Clean the outside to prevent finger prints and grime by using a chamois leather and polish, and use a cloth to thoroughly clean the mouth piece. Use a cotton bud to get to the harder to reach areas. You can then move onto the inside, where spit could build up easily. Attach a cloth to the tuning rod by looping it through the end and winding it round the rod, and stick this up inside the flute; rotate the rod to clean it.PianoCleaning your piano keys is as simple as wiping each key down with either a damp cloth if they’re ivory, or vinegar if they’re plastic. Also use a just damp cloth on the black keys. This should prevent any grime from building up from contact with the natural oil from your fingers. Make sure to dry them thoroughly with a lint-free cloth straight away. Wipe the rest of the piano, including the pedals, with a damp cloth and wipe dry also. Although the inside of a piano is too delicate to clean yourself as this is where the main parts which produce the notes are located, you can prevent dust from building up too quickly by keeping it closed and vacuuming your home – especially the room the instrument is kept in - regularly.

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