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Neck pull up


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I have read about a procedure that has been termed a neck "pull-up" although I am not sure if that is the right term. I have a violin with neck that is a bit on the low side, with the fingerboard projection to the bridge projection of 25.5mm. The rest of the parameters, of overstand and string angle, from what I have read in the archives here, are within acceptable. The bridge has been cut on the low side to accommodate the lower neck and I think that this could be negatively affecting the sound output of my violin.

Would a neck pull-up be a good thing for a violin with this problem and if so, what is a reasonable price to pay for such a procedure. I am a long way away from a decent luthier and I want to be sure before making the trip.


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It depends to some degree on the condition of the instrument. How fragile is the top? Are there any issue around the button? Is there enough overhang? What color/clarity is the varnish and how difficult will it be to retouch after the job is done? I'd guess it could take anywhere from one to three hours to do the work. Apply hourly shop rate to figure out cost. Your luthier should be able to give you a ball park figure, many shops have a flat rate for routine work.

Oded Kishony

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I just had this conversation, with my luthier, yesterday.

 He's one of the best in the NYC area.

I have two fiddles with fairly low FB's, and the luthier convinced

me to go with the "New York Lift"

He took the time to show me one in progress, and it seems to be a

completely solid way to go. He showed me one that was just

finished, including varnish-touch up, and it was invisible. He said

both of mine had plenty of material to work with, and the right

kind of varnish.  The price then made it an easy decision:

 About $200, vs at least $700. (each)

Oded's answer is spot on, in that the success of the job depends a

lot on the particular violin.  You'd best take it to someone

really good, and trust their opinion on which way to go.

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Does yur shop have a flat charge for this job or does he charge by the hour? Do you know his hourly rate?

Oh, when I worked in NYC we used to call this the "NY neck reset" it's cheap, it's fast and it's dirty" (it's a joke) I still call it that even though I live in the boonies of Virginia.


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Hey, Oded.

I actually never asked him about his hourly rate.  His

reputation is of the highest level, so I thought that would be

insulting.  I show him the subject, have him suggest several

levels of repair / setup, along with a ballpark price, then


I have only been to him twice.  I used to use the guy who made

that crummy bridge (remember that thread?) because his prices were

very reasonable, and because he had a great line of BS.  I

decided it would be smarter to use someone local, expensive, and

with experience working on Strads & DGD's

BTW-  he loaned me an absolutely exquisite violin ( I don't

DARE call it a fiddle!)  by American luthier Dennis J.

McCaigue.  I can't possibly afford it right now

 ($25,000) but I wanted to record it into my test session, for

future reference.  That's what I call service!!!  

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My husband had the neck pulled up on one of his violins and the charge for that particular piece of work was $150. This was several years ago, so adjust that for inflation. He also had a new bridge and tone adjustment done at the same time (which I expect was necessary because of the neck change) so the total charge was more.

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This topic interests me to the point where I am going to

change from a long time lurker to a first time poster.

 I am the typical cheap parent of  a high school fiddler.

 My son has a violin of no apparent value, a German Maggini

copy about 100  years old, that he loves.  It is in

excellent condition, with no cracks or repairs, etc, and I have a

good luthier who set it up nicely for him and does annual servicing

on it.

As a cheap old fiddle, it has a stained wood fingerboard, which my

luthier complains about every time he services the fiddle, since he

has to apply new stain after he shaves the fingerboard.  Also,

somewhere in its history  the neck angle must have been wrong

because there is a shim under the fingerboard (excuse me if I sound

ignorant, because I am ignorant, never having owned or played a

violin myself).  The last time I had it in for service the

luthier said that at some point we could do a neck reset on the

instrument.  I didn't ask him what that cost, but I did look

up prices on the internet and saw it was a fairly pricey operation.

 So - what exactly is the New York  neck reset? Is it

different than a full reset? And would my son's old fiddle be a

possible candidate for it? And would it make sense to do that in

conjunction with replacing the stained wood fingerboard with a real

ebony one? I am not averse to spending a few hundred dollars if it

will make the violin better for my son to play and easier for the

luthier to service.



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Hi Julie,

Welcome to the board. A 'regular' reset means the neck is removed from the body some adjustments often made to the mortice or neck foot and then the neck is glued back at the proper angle. The NY reset is described above. As to whether your son's violin is a good candidate for a NY reset depends on a number of factors outlined in one of the previous posts. Your luthier would be best qualified to determine if your son's violins is suitable. Basically the instrument should be robust around the button, there should be adequate overhangs at the top bouts, the underside of the top should be solid. There should not ba any cross grain cracks of the ribs at the top bouts. The arching should be healthy, not caving in. Perhpas others can flesh in other details. It would be a good idea to replace the fingerboard at the same time.


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Magnus kind of described it, but no one else really has. The seam between the table(front) and ribs is opened, including freeing the table from the upper block. Thin glue is then placed in the opened joint, the neck is pushed into the correct position, and the table is clamped back down. The result is that the neck angle is increased, the upper block and ribs bend out a little where they meet the front, there is a little less overhang where the front meets the ribs at the neck, and there is a little open space between the neck and the front under the fingerboard. A small filler is added to this open space under the fingerboard.

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Here's a related question:

How low can a FB get before a lift is considered necessary? 4mm?


Also, someone here (Jacob, I think) recently wrote that it is also

viable to lower the saddle height, as long as the proper

string-angle is maintained over the bridge.  If this is true,

then again, at what point is the more expensive lift required?

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In my experience some instruments sound and respond very well despite the low neck angle. "If it aint broke don't fix it" is my working motto.

The other factor regarding neck angle is damage to the edge from the bow. If the player is chewing up the instrument then a neck lift is called for.


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Thanks for your detailed responses - I think I understand what is

involved here, but I am not sure if my son's fiddle fits the

criteria -  I especially don't know what a "robust button"

would be and if his is robust or not, lol.  I know you guys

are used to much nicer violins than this one, but I thought maybe I

would try posting some pics and see what you think - is it

possible? is it worth it? or should I just leave well enough alone.

 Sorry for the quality, and if I didn't take pics of the right

things, well that is my ignorance showing again.  



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Julie; Looking at your photos,it appears the bridge height is ok,however if the finger board is to be replaced and the shim taken out than it would be definitly too low and would require a complete neck reset.The NY pullback probably would'nt do the job because there doesn't appear to be adaquate top plate over hang.IMHO I would not be spending a lot of money on it unless it has some sentimental value to you. The best to you, Henry

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 At a glance your son has a very nice Maggini copy

and it is probably worth some time to adjust it. I don't know if

these all came from the same factory in Germany, but I own one and

I really like the tone. I have seen a few in nice condition at the

violin shops for over $1000 US.

 At any rate it is difficult from the side view to

decide neck angle from a glance but it appears that the wedge is

doing it's thing and the fingerboard projection is OK. If you want

to measure it, lay a straightedge on top of the fingerboard and let

it tough the bridge. Then with a ruler, measure how high the

straightedge is from the top. It should be around 27mm. Below 25mm

on can start having problems with the bow contacting the C



t is also worth checking the lateral alignment while you are at it.

Lay the violin on it's side on a table and measure the distance

from the center of the scroll to the table. Do the same laying the

violin on the other side. Hopefully the distances are

equal. The neck should be square. Usually you can see a severe

lateral offset from the angle the E and G stings make with the

fingerboard. In your case it appears that the neck may be tilited a

bit to the G side but photos usually lie. If you do need a lateral

reset the neck is generally removed (The NY reset is simpler and

the neck stays in place).

I think most folks here will agree that if the player

really likes the instrument it is always worth the repair.


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From what I think I can see on the photos, the string angle in front of the bridge is way too flat. If the shim is removed, the overstand seems high enough and the top edge overhang sufficient to do a pull-back which can get everything the way it should be.

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A trip to a local luthier (best one in town) is in order. You will come back with a much

better violin, I think. I have spent $120 about 4 years ago to my local shop in Chicago.

They have made my "Factory German" playable. The neck angle was two low. The bow

keep getting caught in C-bout, I thought my technique were poor. after the repair, I am

much happy, never get caught at the C-bout. Even the bow is happy.

I have many other good violins to play. The urgency of repair was not called for,. It was for

sentimental reason. Even a " factory" should deserve great attention. The German worker who

made such violin are not longer do this kind of jobs. It was right after WWII, every German

needed job. I figure. Now I believe they are working in solar panels. They are very versatile.

I should be better not to let my imagination go too far.

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Originally posted by:

From what I think I can see on the photos, the string angle in front of the bridge is way too flat. If the shim is removed, the overstand seems high enough and the top edge overhang sufficient to do a pull-back which can get everything the way it should be.

I agree to this, it would probably be the best compromise for this violin. The overstand is way too high as it is, remove the fb, remove the wedge, have a new fingerboard made and the neck pulled back a bit. Even a slightly low projection is better than this situation, it would have to have a new bridge of course. Or just buy a new violin

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