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Fix it or Leave it be?


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I’d be interested in hearing thoughts on whether this is something to fix/address or leave it alone.  In the two photos below you can see the back top of my violin.  Hopefully you can see the wear pattern.  In the foreground where the color is quite light the clear coat has worn down to the point where the surface has taken on a slightly rough texture.  The darker color?  Totally smooth to the touch.  And that sort of hazy band?  That’s actually the transition between where the clear coat has worn away to where it’s still totally smooth.  Basically it’s worn away where the player would use their left hand to grasp the instrument while not playing.

 My question is whether the surface should receive a fresh application of a clear top coat to protect the wood from the oil/perspiration from my hand.  Or is it fine and not an issue?




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Some varnishes wear surprisingly quickly. Some may actually like it.

Generally, I’d err on the side of leaving varnish alone, but I have previously touched up a similar situation for s customer.

If it is a contemporary violin you may want to consult with the maker.

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Looks like nice violin. If your sweat is agressive and the bare wood seems to degrade I'd at least opt for some protective layer on the thin upper rib - makers often apply plastic tape. This would prevent moisture damage to seams and cracks or warping of rib. Some would also seal the bare area with some clear varnish or sealer just to protect from perspiration. If the original maker is living he might suggest what would be best, otherwise any reputable restorer would know what to do.

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If you aggressively play, there is no question that protective material be added. If there is value in the instrument.

I have an older French instrument that is considerably asymmetrical ( plays so well ) but the value is significantly lowered in the current world for the wear. With very talented players, it only requires a few years to wear upper and lower edges. When the practice finds most of the player's time above the harmonic, better high school and undergraduate students, the contact is often taught and expected, until it's not necessary. 

Plastic on the rib, French polish ( which might last 3 months ) on the round at the least.

If you do not care of the instrument, like me, than no need to ask this question. If the instrument of is any historic value, then it should be protected for future players.

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