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johntgr

Thin lines appearing on my german oil-varnished viola

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Hello from Greece,

 

  I've been lurking in this forum quite a time reading various topics and I've decided to register in order to ask your opinion about a matter.

  I have a viola made by german luthier Walter Mahr in 2012. It is a nice handmade instrument that has been in my possesion for almost a year now. It's an imitation of an old viola, it has some beautiful craquelure that were made on purpose by the luthier itself.

  The varnish looks delicate and soft and I have noticed some thin almost straight lines on varnish that are visible in certain lighting. They look like scratces, like if somebody scratched the surface with an ultra thin sharp object.

  Also there are some semi circular lines right under the strings between the end of the fingerboard and the bridge - I suspect that while wipping rosin off the viola small particles of rosin dust scratched lightly the varnish. Is this possible?

  Relative humidity in my room is usually between 50-70% while outside can be 60-90% as it is quite rainy place and an island.

  I attach few pictures. I will appreciate your comments and advise.

 

DSC04717.jpg

 

DSC04720.jpg
 
DSC04724.jpg

 

P.S. This is the Ebay ad from which I bought the viola. There are also few pictures of the instrument there.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bratsche-deutsch-Meisterinstrument-Walter-Mahr-Bubenreuth-super-Sound-2684-/200779874110

 

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The lines on the scroll sort of look to me like lines from the brush used to apply the varnish. There are similar lines on my viola, but I can't be sure. The image of the top is not very clear so I don't know about that. Those lines look quite distant from each other and are vertical to the grain; it doesn't look like a brush to me, but I don't know what it is. A better photo perhaps?

 

 

How do you like the viola?

Thanks for the answer. Yes, it's a good instrument, I'm happy with it. I have this image as well DSC04729.jpg

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Why are you concerned?  You do want the instrument to age and develop a patina.  This doesn't look like an issue.

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Why are you concerned?  You do want the instrument to age and develop a patina.  This doesn't look like an issue.

I'm more concerned about the hairline little scratches that appear on the varnish from nowhere...the parallel lines on the upper plate look cool because they look like somebody did them on purpose.

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If this kind of thing is bothersome to you then I'd suggest getting out of the stringed instrument game lol.

But being serious I'd just say that the lines on the chin are either brush marks, as thirteenth said, or simply small scratches from the instrument being handled. I don't see why they won't wear away soon anyways, being in a place on the viola that will be touched a lot.

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Looking at the second picture in the OP, seems to me that the lines are the consequence of antiquing or maybe traces of the sandpaper that are telegraphing through the final layer(s) of varnish that contracts as the time pass by. Or, if these lines are superficial, my vote goes to the errors in the polishing procedure.

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If this kind of thing is bothersome to you then I'd suggest getting out of the stringed instrument game lol.

But being serious I'd just say that the lines on the chin are either brush marks, as thirteenth said, or simply small scratches from the instrument being handled. I don't see why they won't wear away soon anyways, being in a place on the viola that will be touched a lot.

 

Yeah, I think it is from my index that sometimes when playing in half position touches the right side of the scroll's base...

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Looking at the second picture in the OP, seems to me that they are the consequence of antiquing or maybe traces of the sandpaper that are telegraphing through the final layer(s) of varnish that contracts as the time pass by. Or, if these lines are superficial, my vote goes to the errors in the polishing procedure.

I suspect that it was the luthier intention to apply a varnish that will wear easily as it is an imitation of an old viola. Just a thought...

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