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Is this a soundpost crack?


tx8

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Hello,

I would appreciate any opinions as to whether or not this is a soundpost crack, and if so, whether it needs a soundpost patch. I am not sure whether the instrument is worth more than the cost of the patch.

Thanks for any advice :)

Tx,

Do you have a picture? You could try putting a drop of water on top of the area where you think there is a crack. If the water seeps in, you have a crack.

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Sorry, I was going to edit and add pics last night (for me) but I had to wait for the post to appear.

The crack from the 'f' hole was already repaired a long time ago by a previous owner.

3agTXl.jpg

Hi,

Cant really see the crack. Maybe a pic with a piece of paper showing the location of the crack would help. If it were a soundpost crack I would expect it to run roughly from the center of the bridge foot or just to the right of center.

Tony

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Thanks, guys.

There seems to be a jagged red line running from the white patch on the table, just to the left of the treble foot of the bridge.

I think (hope?) that is something else. I'll have to look closer.

Perhaps this one shows it a little better, I have taken a lot of photos and it was not visible at all on most of them:

1pZRfl.jpg

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1pZRfl.jpg

If that is a crack where you have indicated, I think it would be outside the extremity of the soundpost. The outer edge of the soundpost I would expect to be close to the lower black line. It is, however very close to the soundpost and could be a problem.

I think you would have to take all tension off the strings and see if there is any movement possible on either side of the crack. Very carefully of course. Or run your finger across the crack to see if one side is raised.

Tony

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Please don't do this. It can turn a pristine, easily glued to be invisible crack into something more problematic. If you want to check for misalignment, use a straightedge with back-lighting.

I agree if this was a pristine instrument, but as tx8 said: I am not sure whether the instrument is worth more than the cost of the patch.

Tony

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Misalignment can also be easily seen by reflecting light off the surface. Get a light to shine on the crack(maybe) area and move the instrument, or your head and as the reflection of the light passes across (perpendicular)the crack. You should see a slight change in the light. Not sure if I explained this well. Not foolproof though, but works most of the time. Every violin I buy, I reflect light over this area to help show a crack. jeff

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I agree if this was a pristine instrument, but...

I'm with David on the "please don't touch it" thing, but I recognize that it's simply a good habit-good practice to keep those fingers off the cracks (no mater what the instrument is "worth"). It doesn't cost the owner anything to check it properly.

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Thanks again you for the advice. I haven't touched it.

appears to be just the grain of the wood, not a crack, just like the other line coming down from the eye in the f hole, does it break the surface of the varnish, in which case it would be a crack....

It doesn't break the surface of the varnish.

I am taking it in to be inspected today or tomorrow; I am worried because once there is a soundpost patch it's so drastic and irreversible. I am so nervous about taking it in to the violinmaker, I don't know why because he's really nice. I suppose I just don't want to hear any bad news or waste his time either. I took it to one bloke who is really good a while ago (before the possible crack) and didn't go back as I was busy, now I feel awkward about calling him again.

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I wonder if I could ask for some more opinions on this. The luthier has said that the line is in fact a crack forming, in the end under the strong light it was more obvious than in the photos.

I have been given two quotes, one for glueing (sp?) from the outside and other work which needed doing anyway (new bridge/strings/tailpiece/plane fingerboard and more). The other quote is for top removal and a soundpost patch, re-doing previous crack repairs, and all the other work as well. There is a substantial difference between the two prices (about £1000/$1572 difference) especially because of removing the top. If I spend a total of about £1500 ($2358) :o then I believe I am edging towards or past the financial value of the instrument, but I don't know. I don't think he is advocating glueing, and he told me that glueing is a more high-risk option, but he probably suggested it in light of the value of the instrument and down to my general air of poverty. If I only have the crack glued and monitor the situation, I could have to spend the higher amount anyway for the patch if it suddenly deteriorates.

I don't have a teacher at the moment so I don't have anyone (who even knows what the Dickens am talking about) to ask for advice. What is the best thing to do? What is going to be the impact on the sound? If I spend £1500, might I just as well save a bit more and buy a Chinese one instead?

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How would one glue a developing crack from the outside if the crack has not broken thru the outer finish?? When you say the developing crack is visible from the end, do you mean you can see the crack on the inside thru the endpin hole and/or with mirrors or are you looking at the edge of the plate at the end of the instrument. If the latter, I doubt that you would be able to tell very much.

If the glueing from the outside involves opening up the crack to enable glue to be forced in, I would be tempted to just leave it and let the crack develop... it might not. Be sure though that the top plate is secure to the rib in the area of the line of the potential crack.... not an expert... just thinking!

Good luck... Mat

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From what I've seen, a properly done soundpost patch usually does not affect sound negatively, and it often sounds better after a patch, if this is of any help to you. Others may have different experiences.

It sounds like a soundpost patch is the best repair solution, especially in light of the fact that there are other cracks need work while it is open. If you are attached to the instrument, and cant afford the repairs right now, you may just want to set the instrument aside for now and go with a Chinese instrument until you have the cash.

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Thanks. Though I'm not planning to sell it, it would be totally stupid to invest more than value of the cello with out a patch, for the end result of an cello worth even less with a patch. What is leaving me uncertain is that the luthier said the cracks (old and new) would still be visible after the repair, I was hoping that they would be basically invisible as I have seen on other people's instruments. I think that this would put buyers off if I ever tried to sell it. Do people buy cellos with cracks in them?

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Thanks. Though I'm not planning to sell it, it would be totally stupid to invest more than value of the cello with out a patch, for the end result of an cello worth even less with a patch. What is leaving me uncertain is that the luthier said the cracks (old and new) would still be visible after the repair, I was hoping that they would be basically invisible as I have seen on other people's instruments. I think that this would put buyers off if I ever tried to sell it. Do people buy cellos with cracks in them?

Like it or not, there are various levels of repair. Making a dirty old crack "go away" can be an expensive process. "Invisible" is a matter of degree. I think most people refer to "invisible" as something they can't see easily. Others, used to looking, probably can see even a great repair with a bit less difficulty (with certain exceptions; I've seen a few repairs that were very, very difficult to detect). I'm scratching my head about the new cracks. If they're new, they should go back together pretty well.

Not sure what the angst about the project is. If you like the 'cello, have it valued. If the proper repair will be more than half the appraised value, I'd suggest you consider other options.

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Not sure what the angst about the project is. If you like the 'cello, have it valued. If the proper repair will be more than half the appraised value, I'd suggest you consider other options.

Thanks for your help. I think the 'angst' comes in because quite simply it is a lot of money for me to spend when I have not used this person before. I am putting the fate of the cello in his hands and I feel a bit sick about it, that's all. No doubt he is very good, and someone told me his own instruments are amazing. But you're right, I won't find out any more from an online forum. Anyway, I am going to go ahead so the decision is made. Thanks for the help from the people here, it really was very useful to me. Whatever might seem obvious or straightforward to experienced people is not necessarily so to me.

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I'll add a couple more comments, that have nothing to do with the technicalities of this repair. I dont think its necessarily stupid to pay more for a repair than the value of an instrument. I've done it more than once and have always been happy with my net loss of cash value. And I've never been rolling in cash that I could just throw away. I have an old Bohemian viola with a zillion cracks that every luthier I talked to said wasnt worth fixing (it needed a neck set when I got it). That instrument has given me (and others who have played it) years of playing fun, thats worth something. This may be a different situation than yours, but I've seen other practical situations where an "un-economical" repair makes sense. The problem is that we get caught up in this idea that our string instruments are like bank accounts, kind of like how we used to view houses here in the US.

In your particular situation, if you want to play cello, you are probably going to have to spend some money on equipment that you might never get back. My suggestion of holding off on the repairs and getting a Chinese instrument is also not the best financial move if you are keeping a spread sheet. A $2K Chinese cello that you buy at a shop is going to have considerably less resale value, and it will be that way for a long time. You may get trade in value at the shop you buy it from, but that isnt always the deal you think it is. But it still may be your best option if you want to play now, and I wouldnt discourage anyone from buying a Chinese or any other instrument due to potential depreciation. You just have to accept that, at this stage of the game, your equipment will probably be a net expenditure. But the value you get in playing time will probably be well worth it, it almost always is.

I dont know anything about your current instrument, but given the numbers that you have thrown out, it is very possible that it could be hard to find a comparable playing cello for the cost of the repair of your old one. $2K really does only get you a Chinese instrument or some other "problem" instrument that really only has playing value. Go try many cellos in your price range, take a friend and decide if they play/sound better than your old one. You may find that sound post patch for an old worthless cello might just might have more practical playing value, and be your best buy. On the other hand a Chinese instrument might just hit the spot and you'll forget about the old one. But remember too that we are talking about the lower price range in the cello world.

If I sound a bit harsh I dont mean it, and I certainly dont want you to put yourself in a bad financial situation. But in your current situation you should be think about what real value you want to get. In my opinion the value you get for your money at your stage of the game should be about 95% quality playing time and 5% wood. You have to pay for that playing time. These numbers would be different if we were talking $50K price range.

BTW, as a general rule, cracks in cellos is very common. Sound post cracks and patches are very common as well, and many instruments in all price ranges have sound post patches, its not a horrible thing. Some instruments its a big devaluation, others its not. In your case its very possible that it could devalue your cello to nothing, in which case you have to write off the entire repair as an expense to have a working instrument. I'm guessing though that your cello might still be worth at least $500 or so, its hard to imagine any carved working cello worth less than that, and its about the resale value of many $2K student Chinese cellos.

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Sounds like you made your decision before my long-winded reply, you can disregard that comment, but it sounds like you are making the decision I would probably go with. BTW we still dont actually know your cello is, it might be a no-brainer anyway.

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Hello,

I would appreciate any opinions as to whether or not this is a soundpost crack, and if so, whether it needs a soundpost patch. I am not sure whether the instrument is worth more than the cost of the patch.

Thanks for any advice :)

___________

+++++++++++++++

I assume an un-repaird cello would not produce the sound you would like to have. So some sort of repair is necessary if you want to keep the cello.

shop around of repair places. The risk is always there. It is life. It may turn out just fine. The cost is minimum and the repair is great. Everyone is happy after.

Try it. I would. If you don't try you would never know. I have not seen an old instruemnt without repairs.

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