care for your archtop instrument mandolin care mandolin cedar mountain Care for your Archtop Instrument care for your archtop instrument post

December 10, 2019, 0 Comments

Care for your Archtop Instrument

HUMIDITY

Humidity is the nemesis of an archtop instrument.  Drastic changes in humidity can dry out the wood, cause the top to drop, and can cause cracks.  Your new instrument needs to acclimate to the humidity in your geographic area.

  • If the humidity in your area is extremely low, use a humidifier in the case and keep the instrument in the case until it acclimates
  • DO NOT LEAVE YOUR INSTRUMENT OUT UNTIL IT ACCLIMATES TO THE HUMIDITY. The issue is the wood will tend to shrink in a very dry climate causing significant stress on the top.
  • Use of a room humidifier is a good idea.
  • As the humidity changes, the top will move up or down. Adjust your bridge height to maintain your action.
  • In extreme cases, slight adjustments to the truss rod to counteract movement in the neck due to humidity may be necessary and the bridge may need to be slightly adjusted for perfect intonation.
  • Moist 160 degrees is enough to open up a Hide glue joint which is easily achievable if the instrument is kept in the back of a car.
  • Extreme humidity can affect the Hide glue joints causing them to come loose.
  • If you’re comfortable, your instrument will be comfortable.

FRENCH POLISH FINISH

The benefit of a French polish finish is that it is lighter in weight than a lacquer finish and the lighter weight allows for the soundboard to move more freely as you play creating a better sounding instrument.  Also, a French polish finish can easily be repolished or repaired.  It is a spirit varnish with a French polish finish and it can be easily repolished or repaired by an experienced luthier.

  • Beware of alcohol (like a beer) splashing on your instrument.
  • Do not use any oils or polishes on your French polish finish.

If you have any questions regarding the care of your archtop, feel free to contact me at gary@cedarmtm.com or visit our website www.cedarmtm.com

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