When musicians think about what’s most important between them and their craft, they usually think about things like dedication, practice time, and their ambitions. But while these things are undoubtedly crucial factors that can determine whether someone can thrive in music or not, other less dramatic circumstances end up having huge impacts on musicians. Instrument maintenance is one of them. Not making the effort to keep your instrument clean and maintained can lead to big problems down the line.
Whether you’re a busy professional musician or a budding music student, keeping your instrument clean and properly maintained is the only way to reach your full playing potential. This is an important issue no matter who you are or what your goals are in music because leaving an instrument dirty and unmaintained for too long can eventually cause permanent damage. Luckily, take-home instrument care kits help musicians of every age, interest, and musical background keep their instruments cleaned and in prime playing condition.
What are instrument care kits?
Care kits are portable kits packed with instrument cleaning and maintenance essentials. From cleaning and polishing agents to cloths, brushes, and patches, every kit is different depending on the instrument, but all are designed to help musicians clean and care for their instruments at home or on the go.
Care kits for guitars and basses typically feature spray cleaners and polishers, and some include new strings and other accessories like pics, string-cutters, and hex wrenches. Woodwind care kits usually include swabs, brushes, cork grease, and polishing cloth. Orchestral string care kits help cello, viola, violin, and bass players keep their instruments sounding and looking their best with rosin, chinrest and tension peg keys, polish, and polishing cloths. They also include humidifiers, which are crucial for keeping wood-bodied instruments safe and secure in dry climates.
How to use a care kit to clean and maintain your instrument
Portable care kits are phenomenal tools for getting the best look and performance from your instrument, but you’ll need to follow specific cleaning and maintenance instructions that apply to your instrument. Not following this step could cause you to inadvertently damage your instrument. For example, acoustic and classical guitars as well as orchestral string instruments require humidifiers when they’re stored and played in dry climates, but too much moisture can permanently damage their fragile wooden bodies.
Many reading this might be thinking it’s a good idea to use common household products to clean their instruments, but doing this can inflict serious damage on your instrument. While care kits only include products designed to safely clean instruments, household products can impact them permanently in negative ways. For example, some tarnish removers can cause structural damage to instruments depending on the type of metal they’re built with. Or if you play a wood-bodied instrument, household alcohol-based cleaners could dry out your clarinet, violin, or acoustic guitar. Using professional cleaning care kits is the only way to ensure your instrument will be cleaned and maintained safely.
If you have any doubt on how to clean and maintain your instrument with a care kit, consult with a music expert and fully research the instrument first. For extra guidance, the expert instrument and maintenance team at Music & Arts is here to help. From string and drumhead maintenance to valve, pad, and body repairs, the Music & Arts Repair Shop is committed to helping you sound your best.
Keeping a fully loaded care kit with you is an important part of musical preparedness. Inexpensive and easy to carry, these kits should be a regular part of your life as a musician because they bring loads of benefits to your playing, and not using them could stifle your musical potential or even damage your instrument.