QUESTIONS WE ASK NEW CUSTOMERS:
› WHAT SIZE?
If you don’t know what size, no problem! Please bring the aspiring player to the store and we will size him/her for the instrument with the best fit. Sizes range from 1/32 for violins and 1/10 in cellos to 4/4 including 7/8 instruments. We have violas starting from 12″ up to 16.5″. Basses all sizes.
› WOULD YOU LIKE TO RENT THE INSTRUMENT OR PURCHASE THE INSTRUMENT?
Most beginners whether they are children or adults do not know if that particular instrument is right for them. We recommend that beginners rent an instrument for the first few months to try it out to see if it’s right for them.
We have a rental program that charges by the quarter (rates here). The first three months are non-refundable, however the first six months of your rental credit can be applied to purchase any shop instrument (click here for full rental policy details).
› WHAT INSTRUMENT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
Kamimoto String Instruments has violins, violas, cellos, and basses for purchase and for rent.
› IF PURCHASING, WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET?
Parents, this question is designed to protect you! Violins range between a couple hundred dollars to millions of dollars. We want to get an idea of what you’re looking for and be respectful of your budget as well. The players are very intuitive, especially ones that have played for a few years. Without a budgetary constraint, players WILL pick the instrument that sounds better. There are instruments in various price ranges and our sales associates will be more than happy to accommodate your player and your budget.
Teachers generally recommend that if you purchase an instrument, that the bow be somewhere between 10% to 25% the value of the instrument.
› WHAT IS TYPE OF SOUND ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
If you’re a beginner, this question is usually best answered by your teacher or your future teacher. Some teachers prefer a particular sound. Some common adjectives used to describe the sounds of instruments are: Warm, Deep, Rich, Dark, Bright, and Sweet.
› DO YOU NEED ANY ACCESSORIES?
If you are a beginner, this is another question best answered by your teacher or your future teacher. We have a wide selection of various shoulder rests, chinrests, strings, music stands, cleaning clothes, rosins, tuners, metronomes, and a small selection of beginner books including the Suzuki Method, Champion Strings, Essential Elements 2000, and Solos for Young Violinists/Cellists.
QUESTIONS NEW CUSTOMERS ASK US:
› CAN YOU TELL ME MORE ABOUT YOUR RENTAL PLAN? (PRICES, INSURANCE, LENGTH OF TIME, RENT TO OWN, ETC.)
Our rental program is based on a price-bracket system; the value of the instrument controls your rental rate. Most of our rentals are outfits, which includes the instrument, bow, case, rosin, and cleaning cloth. For more information about rentals, you can visit our Rental page.
› WHAT IF MY CHILD GROWS BIGGER DURING THE RENTAL PERIOD AND NEEDS A LARGER INSTRUMENT?
No problem! Bring in your current rental instrument and we will exchange it for you. Do keep in mind that our rental rates are linked to the price of the instrument. As instruments get bigger, they tend to get more expensive so there may be a rental rate adjustment. Please consult pricing chart (here).
› PROBLEM PEGS
- For slipping pegs, use peg compound. Hill pegdope works best but String Drops will also work. In emergencies, use chalk, or rosin. As a last resort, try winding the string tight against the scroll to force the peg in.
- For sticking pegs, use peg compound. In emergencies use dry soap.
- If pegs don’t respond, check for uneven wear on the shaft of the peg. Check to be sure that the string hole in the peg is clear of the sides of the scroll.
› BRIDGE BASICS
- The back face of the bridge should stay perpendicular to the plane of the top. The front face will lean slightly at an angle.
- The bridge is placed between the two inside notches on the f-holes. Use both hands when adjusting the bridge, bracing them against the body of the instrument.
- Check for correct arching. Sight across the bridge and line up the E, A, and D strings. When E and D strings are lined up, the A string will rise above by a sixteenth of an inch (for violin). Adjustments can be made by using a small file. In the same way, check the G, D, and A strings. You can shim individual strings with paper, but be sure the shim doesn’t project past the front of the bridge.
› SOUNDPOST SITUATIONS
- The basic soundpost position should directly line up with the treble foot of the bridge, and should be behind the foot a distance of about one-half the thickness of the foot.
- A properly fitted soundpost should stay in place without problems, though the hardbumps and weather changes can cause it to fall.
- Learn to use a soundpost setter. There are two types; the S type and the scissor type. The S type is the “professional” model used by violin shops. With practice, both can give good results. Loosen the strings before setting the post, but leave the bridge on so that you will have a reference point. For most instruments, insert the soundpost through the f-hole on the soundpost side. On small violins, 1/8 to 1/32, the post is easier to insert through the bass bar side. The post should stand vertically between the top and back. It should be snug so that the movement of the instrument will not cause the post to fall. You can take the strings, tailpiece and endpin off and sight through the endpin hole if you want to recheck the soundpost fit and position Nuts! The string should clear the fingerboard by one business card thickness. If too low, shim with paper. Lubricate the string notch by rubbing with a pencil so the string will slide smoothly.
› TAILPIECE TOPICS
- The tailpiece should be close to the saddle (roughly 1/8″ for violin, 1/2″ for cello, 1″ for bass). Adjust or replace the tailpiece loop as necessary. Keep one in your desk.
- On violins, check to see that the chinrest isn’t touching the tailpiece.
› CHINREST CLUES
Carry a chinrest adjuster (or a big paper clip). Keep an adjuster on your key ring.
› SOULFUL STRINGS
- Steel strings last longer and require less tuning. Choose carefully; some brands are a lot more metallic than others. Always use fine tuners for all four strings. Always use the bridge protectors when supplied with the strings.
- Synthetic core strings have a better tone, but are not as durable as steel strings. Fine tuners are optional on the A, D, and G strings (for violin) but for classroom use, should be used anyway.
- If you can’t change strings on a regular basis (at least once a year?) at least keep an eye on the violin E strings. They go bad two to three times more quickly than the other strings.
- If possible, use the correct size string. On a half size instrument, for example, the correct size string will help to maintain string tension, thus resulting in a fuller sound.
- The popular Dominant string requires more care and attention than the usual string. The notches in the nut must be smooth and not pinch the string. The string should be wound carefully on the peg, avoiding pinching or jamming of the string against the pegbox. Avoid tuning above pitch.
› BLAZING BOWS
- Basics. Loosen the hair every time the bow is put away. Don’t touch the hair with fingers. Be careful of the fragile tip.
- Be on the lookout for weevils if bows look as if the hair was cut with a pair of scissors (in a straight line and all in a row). Treat cases with mothballs.
- If bow won’t tighten, the bow must be rehaired (the hair is stretched out or too many of the original hairs have broken, allowing the remaining hairs to stretch). In a pinch, try putting a spacer beneath the hair at the tip.
- If the eyelet is stripped, it must be replaced by a shop. In an emergency, squeeze the eyelet slightly with a pair of pliers so that the remaining threads will catch. You can also try turning the eyelet into the frog a half turn to give additional grip to the screw.
- If the hair falls out at the tip (and you find the tip wedge!), you can try refitting the hair and wedge back in, holding everything back together with a drop of Krazy Glue. Don’t use the glue on anything resembling a good bow!
› CLEANING OFF ROSIN
For student instruments only! Use sudsy ammonia, dilute 50%, work on a small section at a time and follow with the usual instrument polish. Or, use Windex (with ammonia) which is slower, but safer. For normal instrument cleaning, and all fine instruments, use a good brand of violin cleaner.
› THE DON’T LIST
-Don’t attempt to glue anything unless it really is an emergency, and be prepared to pay extra to have the glueing redone properly
in the violin shop.
-Don’t expose instruments to extreme temperature changes (especially heat).
-Don’t leave your instrument in the trunk of your car when you travel. It gets unbelievably hot in there on a sunny day.
› THE VIOLIN SHOP
At some point, you will find that there are some things which can’t be done in five minutes. Some repairs will require days (if not weeks in the repair shop). Some repairs may be impractical to do in a school or home environment, but can be done easily in a properly equipped shop. The basic rule is: if it cannot be fixed in five minutes or you aren’t absolutely sure of the results (and your abilities), take it to the shop.