My violin is an old(ish) violin, an early 1900s copy of an 1818 German one. On Sunday as my wife and I were watching TV a loud noise came from my violin and I rushed over to find the tailpiece had spontaneously snapped in two. I am fitting another tailpiece this afternoon but I now have to opportunity to give the violin a good clean as the strings, bridge, and tailpiece are all away from the front of the violin.
What should I use? I've done some searching on the internet and have found
- Don't do anything, let a professional give it a french polish.
- Never let anyone give it a french polish.
- Use car wax, but not if it is old.
- Use white spirit.
- Do not use anything beyond a dry cloth.
- Make your own clean-and-polish compound from mineral oil, raw linseed oil, ethanol, and water.
- Just use a cloth and spit.
- Polish brought from a violin shop.
That set of conflicting advice has left me confused. Is there a definitive answer to how best to clean and polish an old violin?
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Just in case this is not clear, I need the violin to be playable as a violin. I am uninterested in cleaning and polishing techniques that turn it into an unplayable ornament.