If You Love It, Take It To A Violin Repair Workshop
Violins and those instruments that comprise the violin family, which includes the viola, cello, and double-bass, are among sweet-sounding and most popular instruments for students today.
However, no matter how well your violin is taken care of, sooner or later, you will have to trust it to the capable hands of the professionals at a violin repair workshop. Even the rare but mighty octobass, the Goliath of stringed instruments, is a delicate beauty at heart.
Common damage dealt to stringed instruments of all types comes most often from improper storage and transportation. Others, however can occur because of age and normal use.
An open seam is one of the most common problems to befall violins and the violin family. The glue that holds the instrument’s seams begins to weaken over time, sometimes due to being kept in a dry environment. A humidity of 40-70% is recommended with no abrupt changes. Sometimes the seam can be easily repaired, but a luthier will be able to tell if it might be better to re-glue the whole top.
Cracks In The Instrument
Cracks in the violin can be caused by accidents, and are not always a death sentence for the violin. A skilled luthier can repair cracks, which involves removing the front or back piece, depending on where the crack is. However, if the crack is over the soundpost, the repair, while still possible, is trickier. While some people on the internet may offer ways to repair open seams, it is highly recommended that for cracks you take your instrument to a repair shop you trust.
Bridge And Soundpost
Appropriate positioning of the bridge and of the soundpost is important. A bridge is easily bumped and moved out of position. A very temperamental piece, if it isn’t positioned exactly right (and the luthier will know the formula), you’ll never properly tune your strings. The feet of the bridge need to sit flat on the particular instrument it’s going to be played on. They are not interchangeable from one violin to another. If the bridge is positioned incorrectly, the ill fit will make itself known.
The soundpost is also a temperamental, but vitally important piece of the violin. A poorly placed bridge will affect the quality of sound, but a poorly placed soundpost can crush the fibers of the wood and harm the instrument. Special tools are needed to set the soundpost correctly. As with the bridge fit and placement above, this repair is best left up to a luthier.
Unlike guitar tuning pegs, which use metal gears to hold strings taut, violins use wooden pegs lodged into holes in a wooden head. Even with the best of treatment, these pieces will wear over time. Anyone who has ever had to re-hang an old door knows how to make things fit again by filling in the expanded hole to fill-up the gap.
However, this repair is not as simple as it looks. Tuning pegs have a slight taper to them that a luthier will have the tools to match.
Don’t try to just force the pegs in tighter; you’ll only end up splitting the head. Take it to a repair shop and let a professional do the job.
On a good instrument, the fingerboard and nut are made of ebony — a very dense, hard wood. Over time, however, the strings will wear grooves in the fingerboard, and it will require planing. After a few planings, however, the fingerboard will become thin and weak. At this time, you will need to replace the fingerboard and the nut, which must be set at the proper height for the particular fingerboard. You may even have to replace the bridge. If this is not taken attentively cared for, your fingerboard may warp. Since the supply of ebony is dwindling, a luthier might remove it and try to straighten it, and it may require another planning. This is a very tricky procedure and should only be handled by a skilled luthier.
The care of your violin should be taken seriously. Treat your violin with love and respect and it will provide you with many years of joy. When it needs repair and upkeep, take it to a professional luthier.