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"Hopf" Violin Purchase


MaryS
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Good to know the pegs look good! New pegs don't cost much and a pegbox reamer is cheap, but a peg shaper (to reduce the shaft diameter) costs a lot. Some of the pros on this site make their own and have posted pictures of their work, but I was never able to make one that worked well...

Good luck with the fingerboard. It's all about angles and height and scoop. There's tons of stuff on the net to get you started. A suggestion: you might want to buy a few bridge blanks and carve them so that the top-curve and height is correct and the feet are roughly fitted to the curve of the table. That can really help with getting the geometry of the new fingerboard correct. 

Actually now that I think about it: maybe you should make and fit first order approximations for top & bottom nuts before fitting the new fingerboard? The geometry of a fiddle is subtle -- top and bottom nuts, neck angle, fingerboard geometry and bridge height -- all have to work together to pull the best sound possible out of the plates.

I hope I haven't annoyed anybody with this posting. I have a lot of respect for what MaryS is trying to do, and am only trying to help (given my very limited knowledge of how to fix up busted instruments).

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Al Cramer said:

Good to know the pegs look good! New pegs don't cost much and a pegbox reamer is cheap, but a peg shaper (to reduce the shaft diameter) costs a lot. Some of the pros on this site make their own and have posted pictures of their work, but I was never able to make one that worked well...

Good luck with the fingerboard. It's all about angles and height and scoop. There's tons of stuff on the net to get you started. A suggestion: you might want to buy a few bridge blanks and carve them so that the top-curve and height is correct and the feet are roughly fitted to the curve of the table. That can really help with getting the geometry of the new fingerboard correct. 

Actually now that I think about it: maybe you should make and fit first order approximations for top & bottom nuts before fitting the new fingerboard? The geometry of a fiddle is subtle -- top and bottom nuts, neck angle, fingerboard geometry and bridge height -- all have to work together to pull the best sound possible out of the plates.

I hope I haven't annoyed anybody with this posting. I have a lot of respect for what MaryS is trying to do, and am only trying to help (given my very limited knowledge of how to fix up busted instruments).

 

 

I truly appreciate all of the help! Luckily, I work in a violin shop with a lot of the tools needed. I'm a broke college kid, so otherwise I'd be out of luck. I will hopefully be getting some of my own tools for the holidays. 

In a stack of older, used bridges, I found one that was very high and I think I can shave that down to work.

So far the most annoying part of this project has been getting the glue off of the fingerboard! Haha. I've used a scraper and sand paper, but maybe I'm not putting enough elbow grease into it.  

 

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8 hours ago, MaryS said:

This is simply a violin that was cheap to learn repairs on. I'll be more than happy if it sounds decent once it is finished, but if not, oh well. I learned a lot. 

Doug, I don't think I'm going to take the top of and fix the inside. I haven't decided fully yet. Time will tell! 

The pegs were actually in decent condition! So, I fixed those up and they're running smoothly. The fingerboard.....is beyond repair and a new one is on order! The nut is also too far gone. I suppose I could shim and recut it, but a new one will do much better...and will save a lot of time/frustration.

I would warn about the screw through the button. This most lightly shows that the through neck came adrift at some point, and a handyman thought that that would be a brilliant solution. The chances that the handyman screwed the neck on straight are slim. This will mean (before you make a new fingerboard) that you should remove the screw, get the neck apart, and glue the neck in straight. This won’t be as easy as it sounds

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9 hours ago, MaryS said:

This is simply a violin that was cheap to learn repairs on. I'll be more than happy if it sounds decent once it is finished, but if not, oh well. I learned a lot. 

Doug, I don't think I'm going to take the top of and fix the inside. I haven't decided fully yet. Time will tell! 

The pegs were actually in decent condition! So, I fixed those up and they're running smoothly. The fingerboard.....is beyond repair and a new one is on order! The nut is also too far gone. I suppose I could shim and recut it, but a new one will do much better...and will save a lot of time/frustration.

I would warn about the screw through the button. This most lightly shows that the through neck came adrift at some point, and a handyman thought that that would be a brilliant solution. The chances that the handyman screwed the neck on straight are slim. This will mean (before you make a new fingerboard) that you should remove the screw, get the neck apart, and glue the neck in straight. This won’t be as easy as it sounds

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23 hours ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

Is the objective to end up with a quality instrument, or to learn how to do repairs?  

In my opinion, this is a good project for OP.  Unless I'm missing something, it needs a lot of common repairs which have not been complicated by epoxy or warpage.  The instrument is not valuable at all, so if she screws it up (pun lol) it's no great loss.  However, it does have a better chance of turning out nice than the cheapest of the cheap VSOs.  My first couple repair projects were extremely similar and I think it's a good way to learn.  

Bingo.  OP said she was looking for a project violin.  Lot's of comments on cheap, junk, etc.  It is a violin.  It needs repair.  It didn't cost OP much money.  Why on earth would we need to comment on whether its a "HOPF," or "HOFP," or whether it is a quality violin?  Now, if she bought a strad and was looking to fix it up as a "project," with limited skills, woah...that is cause for concern.

MaryS...use it as a learning tool and remember, you did the right thing in going low risk on the violin.  Let us know your progress and good luck!

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Thanks to everyone who posted about making peg shavers -- I'm going to try again when I get some time.

MaryS -- if I were you, I'd be very tempted to follow jacobsaunder's suggestion about regluing the through neck. He is an Olympian figure, and the old Greek myths show what generally happens when mere mortals like you & I follow the advice of gods (especially when they say: it won't be as easy as you think). But I bet you're up to it. If it gets messed up you can post pictures & people here will help you. Wouldn't it be nice to have that screw gone?

 

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Mary... listen to Jacob... Remove the top, the neck and repair every component thoroughly... I have done many of these and if you take shortcuts or take the easy route ( which ends up not any easier) you will be sorry.

Remove top ( learn how), re graduate, fit new bass bar, remove & reset neck, check blocks etc. Learn how to align neck for direction and height, Fit new new ebony fingerboard, nut , post, bridge, new ebony pegs. and learn how to clean and restore the finish ( not refinish!!)

Each of these tasks are not necessarily easy or quick but are a great learning experience and you will end up with a violin you will be proud of, will likely sound decent  and you will want to save as keepsake. 

Avoid the concept of "good enough"! ... because every less than perfect step leads to further problems down the road.

We are all here to guide you with each specific step if you wish:)... just ask... Good luck, Mat

 

 

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6 hours ago, Mat Roop said:

Mary... listen to Jacob... Remove the top, the neck and repair every component thoroughly... I have done many of these and if you take shortcuts or take the easy route ( which ends up not any easier) you will be sorry.

Remove top ( learn how), re graduate, fit new bass bar, remove & reset neck, check blocks etc. Learn how to align neck for direction and height, Fit new new ebony fingerboard, nut , post, bridge, new ebony pegs. and learn how to clean and restore the finish ( not refinish!!)

Shorter @Mat Roop: Go to violin-making school! :)

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17 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Shorter @Mat Roop: Go to violin-making school! :)

Yes, is curious that many people seem to think that violin repairing is something that anyone can do, if they are fairly good at putting IKEA furniture together. In fact, it is a profession that one must learn, should one wish to even improve such a modest widget. Far from being condescending, any trained violin restorer can only see all the disasters waiting to happen

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14 hours ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Learning regraduation is great experience to becoming a hack!

Could you consider that regraduation is the process of finishing work that was left in an unfinished state.... sort of like buying a house with a nice exterior and main living quarters but with an unfinished basement ... and then finishing the basement to complete the job. 

Also, not much different than the markie method of a violin having been built by multiple makers doing different parts... regraduation is simply another part with another contractor doing another part of the project, just maybe a century or two apart:P.

Don't get me wrong...  I get the issue of regraduation, but for vso's why is it a sin to make a vso playable for beginners and kitchen party types? ... they seem to appreciate it! 

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Anyone that regraduates a historical violin is a hack, doesn't matter how much they think they know better, 9 times out of ten they will make it worse. they don't even have the skills of the original makers in most cases. no one has demonstrated that a roughly carved interior is any worse than a smoothly finished one, its all up to the incompetent arrogance of the hack regraduater who hasn't even listened to the violin properly set up before doing the work, and usually doesn't have the skills to make a good violin himself, so how would he know how to graduate well.

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47 minutes ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Anyone that regraduates a historical violin is a hack, doesn't matter how much they think they know better, 9 times out of ten they will make it worse. they don't even have the skills of the original makers in most cases. no one has demonstrated that a roughly carved interior is any worse than a smoothly finished one, its all up to the incompetent arrogance of the hack regraduater who hasn't even listened to the violin properly set up before doing the work, and usually doesn't have the skills to make a good violin himself, so how would he know how to graduate well.

I would beg to differ! Most of these tops were made by cottage industry "craftsmen" who only made parts, and never handled the final product (so much for the "skills of the original makers").These were mass produced commodities that were never meant to be great instruments. Calling them "historical" is a bit questionable. If I find a roughly gouged top 5mm thick, and reduce it to a proper thickness, I'm removing a ton of mass that can only damp the sound.

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People make outrageous claims about how their presumably inept regraduation improved the tone, I can assure you that 99% of the time they never bothered to properly set up and test the sound of the violin before they "improved" it, that's why they will always be referred to as hacks, people that do more damage than good to violins.  A cheap violin is a cheap violin, it doesn't magically improve when you totally destroy the intent of the maker, however ignorant you may consider them.

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Yes. If quantity was the goal, putting extra time into quality wouldn't be a priority. They likely had to meet a minimum standard and would'nt bother to do more than that.

If you are mass producing an item you inherently have no interest in - other than to make money in order to feed the kids - no point in romanticizing the item.

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