There are some pieces of equipment that you just can’t do your job without. You need your tools of the trade! Playing a string instrument is no different! In this article we’ll break down the 17 must-have accessories for string players that every serious player should have in their arsenal.
Whichever string instrument you play, you’ll need a secure, sturdy case to carry it around in.
I recommend Bam cases, who provide cases for violin, viola, cello and double bass. These cases are very robust and will certainly protect your instrument against any knocks. They are a little more expensive than some other brands or a gig bag, but you won’t regret spending the money to protect your most prized possession.
Sturdy, secure cases
Purchase: Now and will last for many years
Price level: High
If you’re a double bassist, it’s likely you’ll need a wheel or buggy to help you move your instrument around without injuring yourself. They are also a good way to prevent damage to your bass. We’d recommend a Xeros Bass Transport Wheel. This fits into your endpin socket and will significantly simplify your commute, or between lessons for students.
Easy to assemble
Features: Rubber Tire for Extra Grip on the Road
Size: 10mm Diameter Suitable for Full Size Basses
Humidifiers are a great way to ensure that your instrument will not dry out in the warmer months. This will prevent damage and cracks appearing in the wood. The brand we recommend is ‘Dampit’. This is a rubber hose with a water absorbing sponge. They are not expensive, and we advise every string player to purchase one!
Dampit humidifierA simple way to prevent damage
Protect Your Instrument: From cracking and warping
Humidity Card: Lets you know when you need to use the Dampit
We also suggest purchasing a hygrometer to use in conjunction with your Dampit. This device lives in your case and gives you both the temperature and humidity of the environment your instrument is living in, meaning you can maintain ideal conditions. The Stretto hygrometer/thermometer is our recommendation for an easy to use device.
A simple way to prevent damage
Records: High/low temperatures
Monitors: Results at any time
I’d recommend the following items in order to maintain your instrument.
No string player could live without a tub of good quality rosin for them to apply to their bow in their hour of need! This is another one of the must haves. There are many brands available for each instrument, but my choice (for all instruments) is the D’Addario Kaplan. This rosin provides a warm, bright sound and only requires a few strokes, unlike some brands which require hours of application!
Cello & Bass RosinD'Addario Kaplan
BONUS: It has a brilliant case
BONUS: Designed for one-handed use
Of course, rosin can build up on your instrument and this requires removal by a cloth which will not damage the wood. You should clean your instrument every time you put it back in its case in order to maintain cleanliness – this will also improve the sound as dirt will not build up. The Music Nomad cleaning cloth is a microfiber cloth which can be used on your instrument, strings or bow and is very soft, so will not damage your precious instrument.
Music NomadPremium Microfiber Polishing Cloth
Material: Untreated Premium Microfiber Suede
Great For: Cleaning & Polishing Your String Instrument
As well as a cloth to remove dirt and rosin, you’ll also require a good quality varnish cleaner, to ensure that your instrument remains shiny and looks its best. We’d recommend Hill & Sons Varnish Cleaner, as it’s cheap, very effective and will remove any dirt or fingerprints, leaving an attractive glow on your instrument.
Hill & Sons
Will keep your instrument looking great
Tackles: Stubborn Grease and Rosin Stains
Suitable For: Violins, Violas, Cellos & Double Basses
Every string player must have a spare set of strings handy in case of disaster! It’s a necessity. There are so many options available for each instrument, but I have chosen D’Addario Helicore as our favourite. These strings have a bright, penetrating sound without the metallic colour of some other brands. They fit well in terms of price between the expensive strings, and the cheap nasty strings; and the sound they produce is worth more than their cost in my opinion.
D'Addario HelicoreString Set
Purchase: Every 6 months or so, depending on use
Tuning and rhythm
The following are two accessories which are very useful for your practice sessions. Some are available as free apps instead of purchasing the accessories – but to be honest, the accessories will always provide a better experience…
The first thing every musician (including beginners) has to do before they practice is check their tuning. If you have an electronic tuner, this is quick and easy.
The Swiff C2 Violin Clamp chromatic tuner clips onto your instrument and listens to you play each string, before the LCD screen shows you how much you need to sharpen or flatten the note. It’s easy to use and won’t break the bank.
Swiff C2 Violin Clamp
Fits all violin sizes
Display: LCD Display is Clear in Low Lighting Venues
Used For: Studio, Live or Practice Use
Many musicians spend hours practicing slowly, then gradually speed up to concert tempo. For this, you’ll need a good quality, easy to use metronome. I recommend buying the Korg MA-2 metronome. It is cheap, easy to use and has a clear display,
Multi-function compact metronome
Up to: 400 hours of continuous operation
Display: Larger and more easily readable display
The next two accessories are just for violin and viola players, as they are for instruments which you play under your chin. Cellists and double bassists fear not; the section after is just for you!
Almost all violin and viola players use chinrests, and these can be adjusted depending on what position you require on your instrument, or how tall you are. Many brands are available, but we recommend Wittner chin rests. These are affordable, anti-allergy, flexible and particularly useful for those violinists with longer necks.
Violin & Viola
Material: Synthetic composite hypoallergenic and lightweight
Built: Excellent German quality craftsmanship - built with precision
Shoulder rests are available in all shapes and sizes, so it can be difficult choosing the right one. The price of good shoulder rests vary greatly and you could spend a lot of money before finding a comfortable option. My choice is the Kun shoulder rest. This is a great option for those wishing to purchase a stylish, sound-enhancing shoulder rest which won’t cost too much.
Suitable For Violin & Viola
Can be used: On either a Violin or Viola
Brand: Well trusted brand
Endpin stop or anchor
As promised, we now have a product which cellists and bassists will require to simplify their musical life considerably
There are so many different designs of spike holders or anchors available and it can be difficult knowing where to start looking. The key is to find one which will protect the surface you’re playing on, without compromising your instrument’s sound. The Rayzm cello spike holder is a great buy; it’s adjustable, portable and secure.
rayzm cello non-skidRayzm Cello End-Pin Stopper Strap
Best feature: 4 stop holes help cellist quickly adjust to a proper playing position.
Made of: Solid maple wood, the bottom side is covered with 3 mm thick EVA
There are so many different designs of spike holders or anchors available and it can be difficult knowing where to start looking. The key is to find one which will protect the surface you’re playing on, without compromising your instrument’s sound. The Black Hole Non Slip Cello Mat is a great buy; it’s adjustable, portable and secure.
BLACK HOLEBlack Hole Cello Endpin Stop
Level: All levels
No Need For: Belts and Strings Around Chair Legs
Practice mutes are designed to quieten your sound when practicing so as not to disturb neighbors, for example. They are larger and heavier than concert mutes. We recommend the Primavera Ultra practice mutes, as these are affordable and very effective.
Primavera Ultra practice muteFor All String Instruments
Material: Made From Robust Rubber
There are many sheet music stands available to purchase, but it’s important to find one which is light, robust and affordable. The Eastar AMS-1 is a great option. Portable, sturdy and adjustable, this is a great buy.
Amazing Kit at an amazing price
Best Feature: Seriously well-made & sturdy
Includes: Light | Carry Case | Sheet Music Clip
Stand lights clip onto your music stand to ensure you can read your sheet music. They are particularly handy for performances in churches, where the lighting may be ineffective at night. I recommend buying the Royal Super Bright 29 LED Music Stand Light. Whilst this is more expensive than other brands, it is far more reliable both in terms of lighting and the strength of its clamp.
Royal Super Bright
Brightness: 3 Brightness Levels
Great feature: Battery Indicator Lights
17 must-have accessories for string players
So there you have it!
Those are the pieces of equipment which you’ll need to play your string instrument. Some are more essential than others, but all will make your life in the music world easier and your musical life more enjoyable!