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Fiddle repair?


ZachB

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I have an old fiddle that is in pretty good shape, other than the scroll at one time or another was snapped off. Structurally it seems great, and is missing the obvious hardware (tailpiece, chinrest, end pin, needs a sound post set, etc). It has a couple old repairs, and I don't think it has much value (base of neck is stamped HOPF, hard to see in pictures, but is there) but I'd really like to hear what it sounds like. End value isn't really important to me, as long as I'm pleased with the sound. I think a neck graft may be needed; anyone ever see a violin similar to this one? The F holes are kind of strange; there is no label inside. Pictures below. If someone has a neck they think may fit it, I'd be happy to buy it from you, I have a local luthier I could take it to for the repair and setup.

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Do you have the scroll? The first option would probably be to repair it with cheek grafts, but maybe its beyond that.

The second option would be to replace the whole neck/scroll, and it would make sense to just use a precarved German one. Althogh it might not be hard to find somebody that has an old German neck from a similar instrument in which the body was destroyed.

But here's the real problem. That instrument was probably built with a one piece neck/neck block, or "through neck". This means that a the instrument would also require that it be taken apart and rebuilt with a neck block. I've seen this done on several such instruments, but even with a friendly luthier who works cheap, it will end up costing you far more than the instrument is worth. That may not be an issue for you, I've often spent more on repairs than an instrument was worth, and I usually was happy I did. But I dont think I'd go that far with this one. Some closer pics of the neck area where it attaches to the body might help, mayne it does have a neck block.

Have you shown it to your luthier yet? Thats probably the thing to do first.

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Do you have the scroll? The first option would probably be to repair it with cheek grafts, but maybe its beyond that.

The second option would be to replace the whole neck/scroll, and it would make sense to just use a precarved German one. Althogh it might not be hard to find somebody that has an old German neck from a similar instrument in which the body was destroyed.

But here's the real problem. That instrument was probably built with a one piece neck/neck block, or "through neck". This means that a the instrument would also require that it be taken apart and rebuilt with a neck block. I've seen this done on several such instruments, but even with a friendly luthier who works cheap, it will end up costing you far more than the instrument is worth. That may not be an issue for you, I've often spent more on repairs than an instrument was worth, and I usually was happy I did. But I dont think I'd go that far with this one. Some closer pics of the neck area where it attaches to the body might help, mayne it does have a neck block.

Have you shown it to your luthier yet? Thats probably the thing to do first.

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Why not make a straight cut as close to the peg box as you can and attach a new part to creat new peg box.

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you could get a new scroll grafted on the existing neck, it should cost about $1000, which is cheap for a genuine 1700s hopf, which is what this looks like to me but im not certain, how is the neck set into the body, if its inset into the top the normal way, then im wrong and its worth much less, but if it set flush with the sides, thats a one piece and deans right, its harder to replace the neck, but it would only need a salvaged old neck and a new top block, thats only about a 400 job, its up to you, hold off till jacob and or peter have chance to look at it, but it doesnt look like the cheap ones, the're usually really square. 1700s hopfs are usually in the $2000-6000 range in good condition

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I should probably also note that the cost of the repair / setup is the cost of the Violin. I picked this up 10-15 years ago for nearly nothing, at a garage sale I think. It's been sitting in the closet waiting for repair, I don't have the original scroll. So I'm really curious to hear it smile.gif

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...I think a neck graft may be needed...

The usual reason to do a neck graft is to replace the neck while retaining the original scroll, but your scroll appears to be gone. I don't think there's any reason to graft a new scroll onto an original neck, since the neck is generally considered to be disposable. So I think that what you really need is a replacement neck and scroll. As deans says, this might require removing the top and fitting an upper block to receive the new neck.

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Some idiot seems to have ruined the f holes too. If the original scroll is really non-existant, I would chuck it into my scrap parts box and save up for a decent violin.

I should take a closer picture, but it looks like the F holes were carved that way - the edges of the wood is finished ; I already have a decent violin, but I'm curious as to how this one sounds :)

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[quot

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If I were you , I would have it repaired the best I could afford ( not to go overboard, that is, what I mean).

Old violin has its charm. Ask an enthusiastic luthier to repair it to a playable condition, without costing you an arm and a leg.

When you decide to sell it, it would be easier if the condition is playable.

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You can get attracted to Fiddles such as that, always wondering what they will sound like when fitted and strung up. You can also end up pretty disappointed as well. Logic would suggest that you would be better off going into a few Fiddle shops and just going through their cheaper end stock. That way, you have a much better idea of what you are spending your money on.

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The ff holes might be the stopper for me instead of the neck/scroll. It's hard to imagine how these things happen, but maybe not hard at all. someone may have struggled with setting the soundpost at one time, screwed up one or both ff holes, then cut them to match. Weird stuff happens (s**t happens?), too bad.

Scott

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The ff holes might be the stopper for me instead of the neck/scroll. It's hard to imagine how these things happen, but maybe not hard at all. someone may have struggled with setting the soundpost at one time, screwed up one or both ff holes, then cut them to match. Weird stuff happens (s**t happens?), too bad.

Scott

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Just throw it in a garbage can. One should arrest that idiot who widened the f holes.

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Some additional pictures above of the neck. They got posted up after some replies were made due to having to be approved first.

I don't really want to throw it in a garbage can; obviously it was played at one point, and I don't expect it to be a high quality fiddle. I already have a good violin to play, but I tend to get attached to antiques - especially something so old, that at one time, someone played, probably with the F holes as is - looking at the condition, they were either widened at the time it was made, or many years ago as the wood is finished, not just carved out. I fully respect your opinions and it may or may not sound decent. But if I can get it repaired for a reasonable price, I likely will. I'm not getting my hopes up on sound but at least want to give it a try. I don't need another violin, so this isn't me being desperate to find an instrument to play - it's the desire to make an antique playable again out of curiosity. It would upset me more to throw away something old than to get it repaired and not like the sound biggrin.gif

That being said, from the pictures above, do you think the entire neck and scroll should be replaced, or could I get away with a scroll only? If it is easier to replace the entire neck and scroll, does anybody have one laying around we could work out a deal on that may fit this one?

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Some additional pictures above of the neck. They got posted up after some replies were made due to having to be approved first.

I don't really want to throw it in a garbage can; obviously it was played at one point, and I don't expect it to be a high quality fiddle. I already have a good violin to play, but I tend to get attached to antiques - especially something so old, that at one time, someone played, probably with the F holes as is - looking at the condition, they were either widened at the time it was made, or many years ago as the wood is finished, not just carved out. I fully respect your opinions and it may or may not sound decent. But if I can get it repaired for a reasonable price, I likely will. I'm not getting my hopes up on sound but at least want to give it a try. I don't need another violin, so this isn't me being desperate to find an instrument to play - it's the desire to make an antique playable again out of curiosity. It would upset me more to throw away something old than to get it repaired and not like the sound biggrin.gif

That being said, from the pictures above, do you think the entire neck and scroll should be replaced, or could I get away with a scroll only? If it is easier to replace the entire neck and scroll, does anybody have one laying around we could work out a deal on that may fit this one?

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Okay, don't throw it into a garbage can. Then you have to make sure that the support of the neck and the block is secured. The neck has a big piece of wood

mortised into the block. Is it there? It looks like missing. It looks like it was cut out.

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That appears to be missing. I'm not a luthier so I'm not 100% on how everything fits together.

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Okay, don't throw it into a garbage can. Then you have to make sure that the support of the neck and the block is secured. The neck has a big piece of wood

mortised into the block. Is it there? It looks like missing. It looks like it was cut out.

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If anyone had a matching old saxon scroll with an intact through neck, it would be a waste to use it for a necrophile project like this. It would be much more sensible to use you're money to buy something better.

Only looking for something to make it playable. Not looking for a beautiful old scroll. Heck, I'd be content with an old lion head, gargoyle, or a scroll of any sort, provided the neck fits.

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I would take it to the person who would do be doing the repairs and ask him/her what to do, it may depend on their capabilities. I suspect that that they would recommend a whole new neck, if anything, and probably some other work while the top is off. It looks like the neck might be a bit thin anyway. Looks like good fingerboard though. I dont see any inexpensive (less than $1K-from a reasonably good luhier) way to get this in playing condition.

I understand getting attached to old violins very well. What you have here is old and interesting, but pretty common. There are tons of very similar old and interesting violins, already in playing condition, that would not cost nearly as much as it will take to get this running again. I know there is a certain pride in finding something like this and having restored, even if it may cost more than its worth. But this violin just doesnt look that special, I could be wrong. Just consider what else you might do with the money, there are lots of other violins that need repairs where the money would be better spent.

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Only looking for something to make it playable. Not looking for a beautiful old scroll. Heck, I'd be content with an old lion head, gargoyle, or a scroll of any sort, provided the neck fits.

well jacob has spoken and by his comment i assume he has no impression this violin is from the 1700s at all as i speculated, but rather much later in the 1800s which makes it "worthless" at least to a violin maker, on the other hand to you as a owner and a lover of the instrument it may still be worth something, and if you dont go to the most expensive shop, for perhaps $500-600 (or more???) you could have a new neck/scroll installed and have an instrument perhaps even worth slightly more than the cost of the repair, at least to you, grafting a new scroll onto whats left of the existing neck would cost at least twice as much and be more than the fiddles worth IMO

i do without holding it in my hands, from just pictures, see something a bit special about this hopf compared to run of the mill 1800s hopfs i have seen, though, so i kinda disagree with deans and jacob about it being worthless, ive had a couple of the older more valuable hopfs go through my hands, and this one looks more like them than the much more common, later, really cheap ones, its very common for people in the trade to bad mouth almost all hopfs, but even the cheap ones, in really good condition set up are worth 500-1000 i would guess, fiddlers often like them, not so much classical players, i hope ive given you some direction

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