Cello Maintenance and Care

The proper care and maintenance of your cello is important so that it will last for many years of enjoyment.  Daily care can also prevent the need for major, costly repairs down the road.  Below is a list of things to do and another list of things to avoid doing so that you can preserve the longevity of your instrument.


  • Keep your cello and bow in the case when not in use.
  • Make sure you loosen the bow hair after playing or practicing.  You need to release the tension from the bow stick and hair when the bow is not being used for an extended length of time.
  • Keep a soft cloth in your case so that you can wipe finger prints and/or rosin dust off your instrument, strings and bow stick after playing.
  • Check your instrument regularly for small cracks or other signs of wear-and-tear.  Have a professional fix these issues as soon as they occur.
  • Only use qualified repair shops when work needs to be done or when your bow needs to be re-haired. 
  • When changing strings, change them one at a time.  If you remove all of your strings at once, the bridge will fall out of place and may have to be adjusted back into the optimal location by a professional.
  • Inspect your bridge regularly.  If it appears to be slanting, you can try loosening the tension of the strings in order to straighten it out so that it’s perpendicular to the top of the instrument.  The feet of the bridge should be flush against your cello.  A slanting or warped bridge needs to be fixed to avoid having the bridge snap in two or be pulled over from the string tension.
  • If you travel and have to store your cello in a compartment with other instruments or luggage, you should invest in a hard case to keep your instrument from getting dinged or crushed.  The exterior of the case should be hard and the interior should have enough padding to hold the cello firmly in place.  


  • Don’t touch the bow hair with your fingers.  Oil and dirt will transfer onto the hairs.
  • Don’t expose your instrument to extreme heat or cold, excessively hot sun, or environments where there are quick changes in temperature.
  • Don’t leave your instrument in a car that is either baking in the sun or freezing in the snow.
  • Don’t store your instrument in damp areas.
  • If you perform outdoors, Don’t play in direct sun light or uncovered while it’s misting or raining.
  • Don’t over tighten your strings when tuning.  The strings could break, and the extra tension could possibly damage the instrument since this puts extra pressure on the bridge and the top panel.
  • Don’t use commercial grade cleaners or polishes on your instrument as this will damage the varnish and wood.
  • Don’t use the tip of your bow to close doors, tap on your stand or push things out of the way.  You could crack the tip of the bow or damage it in some other way.
  • Don’t leave the endpin out when you momentarily set your cello down.  Someone walking by could mistakenly hit the endpin and send your cello crashing to the floor.

You may also find the following links useful:

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