Q: How can I best take care of my instrument?
A: Stringed instruments are fragile and need special care. Never leave your instrument in the trunk of a car, no matter how short the distance or time may be. Never leave your instrument unattended in the interior of a car for more than a few minutes. The instrument is held together by hide glue and the varnish is made of natural resin; neither responds well to extreme heat or cold. Humidity is a special concern, especially in the desert. The ideal relative humidity for a stringed instrument is between 40% and 60%. Having a small humidifier in the room where your instrument is kept is a good idea. Dampits or an interior humidification system will further help your instrument maintain its sound and health. We also encourage you to bring your instrument in to the shop for a “check up” every six months or so.
Q: What happens if my rental instrument is stolen?
A: Theft, fire, and gross negligence are excluded from our maintenance and insurance coverage. Depending on the specific terms of the policy, it might be covered under your homeowner’s insurance. We will be happy to assist you in making the claim.
Q: How can I keep track of my rental equity?
A: Our rental program is not a “rent-to-own” plan per se. It is actually better for it does not obligate you to purchase the instrument you are renting, but allows you to use 100% of the rent you paid toward an instrument of equal or greater value. Though we do not send you regular statements about your rental equity, we will be happy to look up the information anytime you wish. If you plan to purchase the instrument you are renting and are not sure how much equity you have, just give us a call and we will look up your total. (*Note: We are not required to inform you when you have paid enough equity to buy out your rental instrument. It is your responsibility to check in with us regularly, and a refund will NOT be issued any “overpayment” on the instrument you are renting.)
Q: What makes your instruments better than other shops in town?
A: All of our instruments are hand made in a workshop, meaning there are no “factory” instruments in our shop. We use high quality wood and fittings, and rely on the expertise of our experienced luthiers to produce well crafted, beautiful sounding student instruments. We also pay meticulous attention to the setup of our instruments, regardless whether it is a student rental or a fine instrument for a soloist.
Q: What do you mean by “setup” and what does it include?
A: Set-up refers to the placement and quality of the bridge, the soundpost, fingerboard, nut, saddle, and tailpiece, as well as all other aspects that ensures the instrument’s sound and playability. A Stradivari will sound bad if it is not properly set up.
Q: What do you consider as “gross negligence”?
A: Small accidents happen to beginning students and professionals alike. Small scratches, bridge problems, and open seams are examples of these accidental issues. Gross negligence refers to severe damage caused by intentional acts (swinging an instrument like a baseball bat or having a sword fight with the bow) or situations in which you should “know better” (leaving the instrument unattended in a vehicle or any other environment where it might be exposed to extreme humidity or temperature). Excessive wear and tear (deep gouges and scratches, missing corners) will also be subject to a fee upon size upgrade or return, and we reserve the right to assess such damages on a case by case basis.
Q: Why does your rental program extend throughout the calendar year, as opposed to the school year?
A: Playing a stringed instrument requires a high level of discipline as well as regular practice. It is not a good idea to have a complete “vacation” during the summer if you are going to pick it up again in the fall. Practicing even for fifteen minutes to a half hour a day goes a long way. Also, it is preferable for a student to have the same instrument if he or she likes its feel and sound.
Q: Does Desert Strings offer private lessons?
A: In addition to offering superior instruments for rental and purchase, we do offer private instruction. Working with local teachers from around Las Vegas, we provide lessons in violin, viola, and cello. Please contact the shop for further details.