So you or your child has just started playing the violin, viola, cello or double bass. What accessories are actually worth buying? With so many different types of shoulder rests, rosins, mutes, strings and other accessories available to buy, it can be a little overwhelming to decide exactly what you need. We’ve consulted with teachers from across Australia to see exactly what accessories they recommend, plus our team’s personal recommendations. We've also let you know what you don't need when you've just started.
Music Stand (Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass)
It might sound obvious, but you need something to hold your music! Many posture problems are caused by students practising without a music stand. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a music stand if you’re just using it at home, a simple folding music stand will definitely do the job.
Cleaning Cloth (Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass)
Don’t neglect to take care of your new instrument. It’s important to look after any new instrument and develop great cleaning habits from the get-go. Make sure you invest in a soft, microfibre cleaning cloth and get into the habit of wiping down the instrument (and strings!) after every practice session. The few seconds it takes pays off, we promise! Good quality varnish cleaners and polishes are also available via our website if you're extra keen!
Good quality rosin (Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass)
Rosin is a hardened tree sap, that helps your instrument produce sound. The application of this sticky substance on the bow hairs helps create enough friction to cause the string to vibrate. The rosin causes bow hair to stick to the string and pull it, which activates the string. A good quality rosin will help create a smoother sound as you begin to use the bow. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get a good quality rosin, aim to spend around $10-$30 to get something that is of a decent quality. Read our blog post all about rosin here.
Learning accessories (Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass)
We stock a wide range of learning aides that can help you along the way. Make sure you check in with your teacher before you invest in any particular learning aide - accessories like Bow Hold Buddies and fingerboard stickers may not be necessary for each player. If you’re ever in any doubt, get in touch with our friendly team. We’re all musicians who understand the nuances of each product we sell - plus we’ve all been exactly where you are now!
Practice Mute (Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass)
If you live in an apartment, or you want to practice later in the evening, a practice mute is a great investment. A practice mute will dampen the sound of your instrument so you’ll be able to hear it, but your neighbours won’t. Read our essential guide to mutes here.
Shoulder Rest (Violin and Viola)
A shoulder rest that actually fits you or your child is a biggie! We see a lot of students with ill-fitting shoulder rests, so we love to help students fit a shoulder rest that fits them perfectly.
Like musicians, shoulder rests come in many different shapes and sizes. It is important to realise that your shoulder rest should be the most appropriate choice for you; no one else can experience comfort as you personally experience it. As such, it is important that you take time when selecting the most appropriate shoulder rest for your instrument. It’s also important to be honest with your teacher about how you are experiencing the shoulder rest. Ultimately, they want the best outcome for you and so they need to hear about your level of comfort. A good shoulder rest also enhances the resonance of the instrument by lessening the point of contact.
If you're in doubt about which shoulder rest will suit you, visit us in-store to trial all of our range - for free!
Comfortable Chin Rest (Violin and Viola)
Your new violin and viola will come with a generic chin rest already fitted, but you may find that you need to upgrade to something a little more comfy.
A chin rest that comfortably fits you will ensure you can play to your hearts content, for as long as you like! Many customers come into the store to look at a new shoulder rest only to realise that it is, in fact, their chinrest that needs to be looked at. In his book, The Violin Lesson, Simon Flesch concludes that the chinrest should really be called the ‘jawbone rest’ as that is a more accurate description of the contact point on the rest. It is also important to realise that there should be no gap between the instrument and the neck of the player. The tension caused by this incorrect posture would undoubtedly result in overall discomfort. Leading Brisbane pedagogues Natalie Sharp and Andrea Messenger recommend the Wittner chin rests as they are super comfortable and suit the majority of players. Teka Chin rests are also another comfortable option for most players.
If you're in doubt about whether you need a new chin rest or not, visit us in-store to trial all of our range - for free!
Decent strings (Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass)
Most beginner instruments are fitted with basic steel core strings. These are definitely suitable when you first begin, however your teacher may recommend upgrading the strings from the get-go, and there’s some good reasons to do so. A synthetic core string set, like D’Addario’s Ascente strings or Pirastro’s Tonica strings for violin and viola, or Jargar’s Young Talent strings and D’Addario’s Helicore strings for cello and double bass respectively, will aide in a producing a warmer, smoother tone, ease playability and help with projection. If you don’t want to upgrade your strings from the beginning, remember to replace them after six to eight months of use. Read our blog post all about replacing strings for beginners here.
Instrument Stand (Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass)
If your budget allows, an instrument stand is a worthwhile investment. Having your instrument more easily accessed in a practice room or lounge room can encourage more frequent practice. Plus, you’ll be able to admire your instrument from afar whenever you like!
New Bow (Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass)
If you’re purchasing from a reputable string instrument store, there’s no need to purchase a bow separately. At Simply for Strings, all of our beginner and intermediate instrument models are supplied with a bow which is designed to compliment the level of the player and the instrument itself.
New Case (Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass)
If you’re purchasing from a reputable string instrument store, your beginner or intermediate instrument should generally be supplied with a decent quality case. At Simply for Strings, all of our beginner and intermediate instrument models are supplied with a hard styrofoam or plywood case so your investment is safe and sound.
Bass Buggie (Double Bass)
If you’re transporting your double bass to and from lessons, a Bass Buggie can help make this process a little easier! A bass biggie allows you to roll your bass around with an ease similar to that of pushing a hand truck. With large, rollerblade style wheels, the Bass Buggie rolls very smoothly and is easy to control. The Bass Buggie allows the bass to stand upright momentarily You can even use the Bass Buggie with or without your bass bag on your bass.
We hope you've found our run-down of what accessories are actually worth buying useful! If you've got further questions, please don't hesitate to give us a call or drop into our inbox. We'd love to help!