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New to violins, need advice


greg
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I purchased a violin at a garage sale for fifty bucks.(I do not play but wanted to mess around with one and learn) I knew the family and they told me they had it appraised by one dealer who said it was worth fifty bucks. But it was in an attic for years and is filthy, mostly dust and the wooden cases cover has kind of disintigrated. The dealer said it would take about $200 dollars to recondition it, and then it would be worth $200 dollars. I don't necessarily care about the value, but I'm not sure if--because it has been in the attic and may have dried out or whatever-- that even with reconditioning it will sound good. Does anyone have any experience with this or advice? Am I taking a big chance with my $200?

Inside is a paper label that reads: Antonius Stradiuarius Cremonenfis Faciebat Anno (and what looks like the number 13, although the 3 could be a Z or something)

Also, there were a couple of extra bridges in the case and I wondered if these are glued onto the violin or are they just held in place by the pressure of the strings? Like I said, this is new to me and I don't want to ruin it or get taken by anyone when I go to get it reconditioned. Any advice would be greatly appreciated in either a post or email. Thank you.

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The bridge is held in place by the strings. Sometimes the soundpost (if one is still standing in that instrument) is also held in place by the pressure of the strings. You must not tighten the strings if the soundpost is not standing.

What you have is most likely a factory fiddle (Sears or Wards genre) of modest capabilities.

The fact that there are a number of bridges in the case indicates to me that a previous owner really cared about the instrument and was trying (perhaps futily) to improve its playing characteristics. (I had up to 6 extra bridges with my cello (all my own attempts) until I finally got it right (but it's not a $50 cello).

Before investing in an expensive repair (and $200 is not that expensive for a regular repair shop), you might want to look at one of the books (usually less than $20) on doing your own repairs that are sold by SHAR or Southwest Strings. I have found books of this type very useful for teaching me how to cut and fit bridges and soundposts and to repair minor ungluing.

Andy

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Also note the recent posts on string height, they may help you in set-up. Remember to make sure that the bridge feet are placed in line with the notches in the two f-holes on the top. And like the previous post said, don't tension the strings unless the post is in place (look in the right side f-hole fo it).

Good luck. The $50 violin I have (swap meet buy) is much better than the $150 (swap meet buy) I got a year earlier. Now if I could just learn to play the darn thing...

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