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Worse wear ever...


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13 hours ago, Rue said:

Er...how does that happen? Watch band? Cufflinks?

I have puzzled over this for years, and finally think I've found one explanation!  I have seen this happen when players hold the violin in guitar position during rehearsals, and pluck their part quietly with their thumb.  the row of fingernails sits right on the top varnish, and scratches are inevitable.  Watch for it and see if you agree!  :)

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That might make more sense.

I was holding my violin trying to see how I could scratch it up like that...but my watch strap wasn't it...I couldn't make my fingers touch the side like that either...playing normally...although I suppose heavy cufflinks might still hit the wood...but am doubtful.

...and I don't play with a shoulder rest...so that would be same as it would have been way back when...

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That kind of abrasion wear, parallel to the fingerboard, is from the fiddle rattling around in a one-size-fits-all-case, hitting and rubbing back and forrh against the (often much too heavily) rosined hair of the bow a few inches above it. 

Nobody completely misses the fingerboard with the left hand fingers while trying to play unless too drunk to manage the bow either, and pizzicato doesn't require r.h. contact with anything but the tip of one finger with the string it plucks (while holding the bow, usually).

FWIW

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I've seen wear similar to this on friends nice violin. My conclusion was that it was most likely caused by a loose bow in the case. The bow did move slightly and abrade the area over several years. But in his case the wear was smoother, this looks like a loose beaver in the case...

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Another thought of me was pulling the violin out of case by grabbing the fingerboard end thumb on the bass side and four fingers on the treble....

BTW, my friend with similar wear that I mentioned in previous post never played that high, mostly BG and old time fiddling in lower positions so dragging fingers while playing was ruled out.

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I would rule out toddler damage.  It's not chaotic enough.

...back to thinking it is damage from a bow (storage) like HoGo suggested. If they tossed it in one of those old holster cases - sliding it in and out - while the violin was in the case...would account for it.  No?

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This is a violin that I have owned for 45 years. It had this kind of wear when I purchased it from the wife of a deceased orchestra player who had owned it for 55 years. I have since then noticed this particular wear is quite common, as is holding the violin by the top treble bout as pictured above.

However, for the damage on the OP's violin to have happened from holding it, I would think that the prior owner must have claws instead of fingernails. Or maybe a long thumb nail while doing pizzicato.

2022-12-01_11-21-16.jpg

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49 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Or maybe a long thumb nail while doing pizzicato.

I believe this is where a lot of this wear comes from. People anchoring their thumb on the side of the fingerboard during pizz, Easy to get sloppy when playing long periods in orchestra.

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I dunno...

While I've never played hours of pizz in a pit...I've been playing and holding violins since I was 10.  I do lock my finger...on the side of the fingerboard when I pizz...(versus not locking)...and I absolutely can't see that extent of damage happening from either pizzing or holding the instrument...

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On 11/30/2022 at 10:05 PM, HoGo said:

I've seen wear similar to this on friends nice violin. My conclusion was that it was most likely caused by a loose bow in the case. The bow did move slightly and abrade the area over several years. But in his case the wear was smoother, this looks like a loose beaver in the case...

Bravo.

Such a 'wear' used to be caused by a (loose) bow holders that was mounted in an old style violin cases. When holded together with a violin in a case and moved for example during walking (people used to walk much more than now those days) the bow was sliding with friction against the violin belly. 

Notice that nowadays bow holders in cases are quite different than the old ones and now one doesn't care much about this problem because of bigger spacing between bow and instrument and a smarter holder (propeller (?) vs. simple bracket). Thus the bow just does not move in a case during transport.

The OP's wear finally indeed seems to be even bigger than usual probably because of totally loose a tip holder or even lack of it. 

I know in person violinists who would think such a lack of bow holder is perfectly fine. For years.

 

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13 hours ago, matesic said:

It seems unlikely but I wonder if the old coffin-style cases had a bow clasp that allowed the stick to rattle against the violin just here?

It seems very likely to me and I've seen results of it on multiple violins.

Sorry for a double post.

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