Strings get dirty and strings wear out. And it is, after all, the strings that start the whole vibration that makes the instrument great!How often should you change your violin's strings? For the most part that depends on how often you play.For someone who plays the instrument regularly (meaning several times a week) it is reasonable to change strings approximately every six months. Some violinists go as long as a year without changing strings or rehairing their bow, but the difference you'll hear in the sound is worth the expense.
Rules to remember when changing your strings. Don't remove all of the strings at once. The tension of the strings, holds the bridge in position and in some instances keeps your violin's soundpost in place. When winding the strings on the pegs, don't allow the string to cross over itself if possible. Keep your old strings. It is a good idea to have a set of old strings in the violin case just in case a string should break and you need an emergency replacement. Strings take time to stretch and settle in; so new strings will require re tuning for a day or two. Make sure the bridge is standing properly when you finish changing the strings. Turning the tuning pegs tend to pull the top of the bridge forward. If the bridge is not straight...straighten it!
Caring for Your Bow by Peter Zaret
Bows are strong yet fragile implements and should always be handled gently. In wooden bows, the tip is particularly vulnerable to cracking.
A bow belongs in a case when not being used, and most importantly, always loosen the hair of the bow when it is not in use, so that the stick is touching the hair.The bow should not be used on anything or for anything other than the strings of a stringed instrument (ie. don't tap your music stand with it).
There are some places in music where it calls for tapping the stick on the strings. If the bow is valuable even this should be avoided. (I used to tap the string with the ivory part of the tip). That usually satisfied the conductor. If the bow falls on the tip when it is tightened there is a very good chance the head will break. Even if it falls on the endscrew and the bow is tight the bow can break.
Breaks in a bow are much more difficult to repair than cracks in a violin. Unlike the violin the bow loses most of its value, and the break is far more likely to open up again. Do not over-tighten the hair. Usually about 1/4 of an inch distance from the low point of the curve to the hair is ideal. For some it is more and some it is less depending on how the player plays. It is important to monitor the condition of your bow on an ongoing basis and seek professional assistance when needed. Only trust your bow to a qualified and well trained string instrument repair person. An all-purpose instrument repairperson probably doesn't have the training and experience to do the quality of work necessary and could make matters a lot worse.