The Benefits of Upgrading to a Carbon Fiber Violin Bow

Until the past decade, fiberglass bows and traditional wood bows were the only options available to string musicians. Fiberglass bows are good for beginning students, but they can be heavy for a young child. Wood is a more traditional choice, and a bit lighter. But there are things to consider.

Pernambuco wood, or Brazilwood, in particular, was favored in bow making. After first being discovered by Portuguese explorers in 1500, Pernambuco became highly coveted and … Read more

Why Learning an Instrument is the Best New Year’s Resolution Ever

Are you struggling to decide on a New Year’s resolution? Perhaps you have already attempted the usual — getting in shape, reading more, spending more time with loved ones – with limited success, and want to try something new. If this sounds like you, learning an instrument for the new year might be just what you’re looking for.

Whether you have always wanted to learn an instrument or are simply curious about picking up a … Read more

Forming Your Own Modern Rock Orchestra

For many cello, viola, and violin players, classical music has been their introduction to the orchestra. Music programs in schools often rely on the classics, no matter what type of music students are interested in.

If you’re a string musician that grew up learning to play classical music, you may feel there’s little opportunity to start playing your favorite songs in different genres. However, there’s no reason why you can’t incorporate your cello, violin, or … Read more

Learn How to Pizzicato Like a Pro

If you’re a violinist, particularly at the beginner or intermediate level, you’ve probably come across playing instructions in your sheet music that you don’t recognize. From vibrato to tremolo, there are a variety of techniques that musicians use to produce specific violin sounds. Today we’re going to be examining the pizzicato technique and how to achieve it.

Pizzicato, meaning “pinched” in Italian, is a technique that involves plucking violin strings with one’s fingers instead of … Read more

Who Changes Your Violin Strings?

If you have just begun your journey playing the violin, you probably have picked up tips and tricks for violin maintenance, such as how to clean your instrument or use rosin. However, you might not have changed your violin strings. It may seem like a daunting task for beginners, but violin strings are bound to wear out and break, and old strings need to be replaced. You don’t need to change them on your own … Read more

Three Things We Love About Stringed Instruments

Stringed instruments are some of the most ubiquitous instruments across all genres of music. Whether you like classical or classic rock, fans of music can easily tell you one of their favorite songs — and the reason why. Stringed instruments are often celebrated for their ability to resemble the human voice. So it’s no surprise why strings form the basis of our modern orchestra and have become so popular in school music programs over the … Read more

From Renting to Owning Your Own Violin

If you’re new to playing the violin and not sure how long your interest will hold, it may seem irresponsible to invest in a high quality violin. However, learning to play on a cheap instrument isn’t going to do you any favors when it comes to improving your skills. Perhaps owning your own violin isn’t practical at the moment, but renting a violin is a great option for people who want to dip their toe … Read more

The Accessory That Every Musician Needs

There is a plethora of instrument accessories that musicians recommend when you tell them you are beginning to learn a musical instrument. But how can you tell which accessories are actually critical and which are more a matter of preference? Plenty of instrument accessories aren’t strictly necessary, but they can enhance your playing style or practice routine. However, there’s one accessory that practically every musician keeps close at hand: the metronome.

Metronomes are relatively mundane … Read more

How Much Should You Practice Playing Cello?

If you’re new to practicing playing the cello, it may be difficult to determine how much rehearsal is enough. How long should your practice routine be, and by what standard will you determine if the practice is actually advancing your playing ability? Working with a music teacher can help you ensure that your practice time is spent wisely, whether you’re playing for a half hour or multiple hours a day. But how can you improve … Read more

The Best Strings For a Warm Violin Sound

While there are many factors that contribute to the sound quality of a violin, strings play a large role in the overall tone. The simplest way to create a warm sounding violin is to use warmer strings. Warm strings create a rich tone or “dark” sound and can balance out shrill or “bright” sounding violins. However, not all strings are the same. Knowing which are the best strings for a warm sound can help you … Read more

How is Violin Rosin Made?

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned violinist, there are certain essential violin accessories that will improve your performance when playing the violin. However, no accessory is more important than violin rosin. Rosin creates friction between the bow’s horsehair (yes, it’s really made with hair from the horse’s tail) and the strings of an instrument, causing the strings to vibrate more clearly. In essence, it allows the bow to “grip” the strings. Without rosin, you … Read more

The School Orchestra Instrument Selection Guide

For many young musicians, choosing from a selection of school orchestra instruments is like a rite of passage. Depending on the school, students can begin their orchestra training as early as nine or ten years old, giving them the first building blocks of their musical knowledge. But choosing which instrument to learn can be a difficult decision for young people, especially if they’re interested in more than one type of instrument. How can you choose … Read more

The Chicago Cellist Boom

When people think of Chicago, they probably aren’t conjuring images of playing cello. But believe it or not, the Windy City has actually seen a surprising influx of cellists recently. There are some live performing and studio cellists who have been on the scene for years, even decades. But many of these musicians acknowledge that until recently they were a fairly small cohort.

If you are interested in becoming a professional cellist in an expanding … Read more

Packing Your Cello for Shipping

Packing a cello can look complicated, but packing a cello properly prevents damage to the instrument during shipping. We’ve developed a packing method (we’ve shipped thousands of cellos since our founding in 1976!), and we urge you to follow the instructions in these videos when packing your instrument for return to Johnson String Instrument. Click on the size of your cello from the list below and we’ll walk you through the entire packing process.

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How Often Should You Clean Your Violin Strings?

Trained string players understand that violin maintenance and care is crucial. Taking care of your violin is essential for producing the desired sound. Some violinists take their instrument in to be professionally serviced every 8-12 months the same way one would with a car. However, there are also daily and weekly maintenance tasks that every violinist should include in their routine.

One of the most important elements of violin maintenance is cleaning. When it comes … Read more