from the sublime to the mundane

Rebecca said: Dec 4, 2006
 Violin, Piano
6 posts

at the risk of being barred from ever posting a question again i am going to set aside some of the more weighty issues that i enjoy reading about here, and ask a very uninformed question…

how do you all get the tape goo off of your instruments?

Gabriel Villasurda said: Dec 4, 2006
Gabriel VillasurdaViolin, Viola
81 posts

The difinitive cleaner is XYLENE, an industrial cleaner/degreaser that you can buy at hardware stores. It is toxic, so use heavy rubber gloves; it will melt the thin latex kind. Use outdoors or in a well ventilated room. Use sparingly.

Gabe Villasurda

Gabriel Villasurda
Ann Arbor MI

said: Dec 4, 2006
 103 posts

My teacher trainer told me that Goo Gone (it could be one word rather than two or spelled differently) is safe to get stickyness of the finger board or neck of the violin. I haven’t tried it on my instrument—haven’t needed to—but one of my students has.

Goo-gone is great at getting duct-tape stickiness off of cloths and gum from hair etc. I don’t know if it’s toxic or not.

said: Dec 5, 2006
 26 posts

I find most varnish cleaners work well for that sticky residue.

Connie Sunday said: Dec 5, 2006
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

The best product I know for this is called “Fiddlebrite”:

This is a cleaner, not a polish, but it can be used on the strings and the woods. HOWEVER, this is only for so-called “student” instruments, i.e., instruments under $200 or so. If you have an expensive instrument with a French varnish, don’t use this under any circumstances.

It is good, however, for cleaning goo. Just use a very small amount on a clean, soft rag. I clean pretty much all my students’ instruments, and 1/2 bottle lasts a year or more.


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said: Dec 5, 2006
 38 posts

The easiest thing we have found at the shop where I work is “Goo Gone” like someone else mentioned. It won’t hurt the instrument, or the varnish, and I’ve seen it remove virtually everything. Plus, it’s readily available at places like WalMart or Target.

Laura said: Dec 6, 2006
Suzuki Association Member
358 posts

If my nose serves me correctly, I believe that Goo Gone actually contain xylene, which is a common organic solvent (organic as in organic chemistry, not organic as in natural/healthy—xylene is actually quite toxic!). Xylene is reponsible for that telltale odour of jiffy markers. (Or is that toluene? It’s been a long time since I was in school…)

In any case, my point is that you might be better off going generic, instead of brand name, if you know the active ingredient in question. The best thing is if you know a chemist who can get you a little!

Jennifer Visick said: Dec 7, 2006
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

When I switched to using a thin width of architect’s plotting tape instead of cutting thin strips of electrical tape to the right size, I discovered a dramatic drop in the amount of sticky tape goo that was left on the fingerboard. Also, plotting tape is thinner than the other kind and doesn’t create as high of a bump on the fingerboard.

If there is any residue left, I usually just rub the bumps off with my fingers, and as the student practices, the rest of it disappears…. If it really bothers them, I use it as an incentive not to smash their fingers hard against the fingerboard, since less pressure=less sticky goo getting on the fingers.

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