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Violin Check up

Steve R.

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I wasn't sure which thread to put this in - but since the basic question is about going to the Luthier, I picked Pegbox.

Question: How often, or when, should one just take a violin (viola, whatever) in to the Luthier for a "Check up"? Just to make certian there are no seams opening up etc. I know I wouldn't know an open seam unless it was REALLY open. And I constantly see references to violins being traded out of that are simply set back up given a little maintenance and voila! good as ever.

Just curious since mine are coming up on 6 mos for one and a year for the other since they were worked on.


Steve R.

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And keep the bridge upright and straight. Whenever I instruct a new customer about this, the inevitable response is "but my teacher says he/she has never had to do that". My response is to look at the teacher's bridge and then come and tell me what they saw. Invariably the answer is "bent".

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I think that one should learn what to look for. My instruments have generally gone decades without luthier inspection. But I monitor the bridge at least weekly. Seam separation is not generally a problem unless one can hear the results.

Over half a century ago, when I was a teenager living at least 2 hours from a luthier, Dad got the tools and know-how to resurrect soundposts, unstick tuning pegs, and install new (gut) tailpiece adjusters. There was even a bag of hide-glue crystals in the house to repair small seam openings. I still have some of his tools and have added more.

There are books (paperback, magazine-size) on instrument care that are worth owning to help one acquire the minimal skills and knowledge needed. Perhaps the most important thing to learn is WHAT NOT TO DO YOURSELF. That's when you need to visit a luthier - in my opinion.

All that said, new instruments do undergo some changes early on that are worth a luthier's inspection after one year - even sooner if you notice some troubles. If the instrument was not set up by a good luthier in the first place, you might even expect to need a new bridge, soundpost adjustment (or even a new soundpost), and (if they were not properly tapered) some work on the fingerboard and nut.

Also, this might be a time to reconsider the strings on the instrument and to select different ones for tonal reasons, if there is any lack in that area.


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All moving parts.

#1,pegs....Make sure they are in GOOD working condition.

( A lot of people don't know they have bad pegs until they have a good set and good peg holes.)

#2,soundpost....I was told it doesn't move. Need no attention if the sound is okay.

#3 saddle.. separete easily under pressure (becomes movable?)

#4 bridge feet.. definitely moveable.(tilt easily too)

#5 Strings. need cleaning or replacements.


general cleaning? (especially under strings top area between fingerboard and bridge. Rosin dust accumulated there

thorough cleaning should done professionally or damage will be on varnish?? hard to decide)

controversal item. Ask experts here)

#7 Inspect the nut

#8 button... get damaged easily.

Just my list for your reference. Thank you for asking.

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In addition to all the things to check already mentioned, I like to make sure the fingerboard is not coming loose. If you pull up gently on the wide end of a lot of fingerboards, you will be surprised at how many are starting to come loose. It can be unglued for about half its length and you would never notice without doing this check.

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In addition to all the things to check already mentioned, I like to make sure the fingerboard is not coming loose.

Hate to admit it, but a completely loose fingerboard is what took in the violin a year ago...

It also turned out to have some open seams - No surprise to me now...

In my defense, it had been sitting in its case, in the corner, at my parents, unplayed for 24 years.

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