As we prepare for a new year, it’s the perfect time to give your beloved fiddle some TLC. Here are five simple steps to give your musical journey a fresh start in the coming year. Even if you just do one or two of these steps, you’ll really find a new sense of vigor in your fiddling.

1. Get a Rehair at a Reputable Shop: There’s nothing quite like a fresh rehair to breathe new life into your playing. After approximately 100 hours of playing, it’s time for a rehair. Be sure to ask for the hair to be a little extra long (since most fiddlers like to play with less hair tension). A good rehair will improve your bow’s responsiveness and make it easier to play.

2. Get Your Fiddle Tuned Up: Take your fiddle to the shop for a comprehensive tune-up to optimize its playability and tone. When your luthier inspects your fiddle, you can ask about the following elements:

  • Bridge Placement and Angle: Ensure the it’s placed straight and is not warped.
  • Sound Post Placement: Confirm it’s in the correct position for optimal tone.
  • Fingerboard Smoothness: If your fingerboard is uneven, it may need to be planed.
  • Nut Height: Make sure your action (string height) is just right.
  • Cracks and Seams: Identify and address any open cracks or seams that may impact your fiddle’s sound.

A well-maintained fiddle is so much more fun to play. Getting your fiddle tuned up can instantly rekindle your enthusiasm for playing.

3. Put on New Strings: After around 100 hours of playtime, strings lose their vibrancy. When it’s time for a new set, you’ll notice your strings have a dull sound and are hard to get in tune. Prims are a personal favorite for many fiddlers, including me.

4. Declutter and Clean Your Practice Space: Create an inspiring practice space by decluttering and organizing. Set up:

  • A Table for Your Laptop: Perfect for online lessons, learning videos, and play-along tracks.
  • A Mirror: Use this regularly to monitor your form and technique.
  • A Speaker: Connect to your phone and computer for metronomes, play-along tracks, and more.
  • Clip-On Electric Tuner: Keep it handy for quick and accurate tuning.

A clean, organized space sets the stage for focused and productive practice sessions.

5. Clean Out Your Fiddle Case: Give your fiddle case some love by thoroughly cleaning and vacuuming it. Remove accumulated dirt and debris—your fiddle deserves a clean home! I just did this step and it felt amazing to freshen things up. Plus, it’s easy and free.

As you embark on a new year of fiddling, follow these five steps to give your instrument the care it deserves. A well-maintained fiddle not only sounds better but also inspires you to reach new heights in your musical journey—and that’s what we all want! Happy New Year, and may your fiddling adventures in the coming year be very fulfilling. :)