Monthly Archives: September 2023

14 posts

This cello had been knocked over whilst laid on it’s side, resulting in a crack along the side of the treble f-hole. Damage in this area can be very problematic because any repairs hairs to resist a lot of combined pressed from the bridge and soundpost, but reinforcement cleats can’t always be fitted without getting in the way of post fitting (hence why soundpost patches are sometimes needed.) Luckily in this case the break was confined to an area in front of the bridge, and it was possible to get in through the f-hole to close the crack and then to glue cleats. There was a bit of retouch to be done, and we also decided it was a good opportunity to address some general issues with the bridge, soundpost and nut.

This cello came in for a general checkup after having been unplayed for a while. I think the instrument had been stored somewhere damp at a point, because the strings were rather corroded. The setup was also a bit old fashioned, with incredibly high string heights at both bridge and nut which would be more suited to low tension gut strings. I ended up doing a partial fingerboard reshoot, lowering the bridge and nut and fitting a new soundpost, tailpiece and strings.

This violin needed some general optimisation. The old soundpost was too loose and the bridge was warped, so I fitted new ones as well as new strings, and tweaked the peg fit a little so it’s easier to tune. Hopefully it will make a world of difference!

This violin came in because the owner was finding it difficult to play in tune and double stop clearly. There were a few issues to correct; the bridge was a little twisted on its axis (though thankfully not warped), and the strings were unusually far apart. Also the string height at the next was more than it needed to be, meaning low first position notes were especially difficult to play. I also changed the strings, as the old ones had degraded to the point where the notes were false a lot of the time!

This cello came in for a new soundpost and some adjustments to the nut and bridge to get a comfortable string curve for the bow and easy string action up in 1st position. I also retouched some chips in the varnish around the edges and fitted a parchment patch on the bridge to stop the A string cutting in.

Last week was the week of bow rehairs, it turns out! 5 out of 6 of the bows I worked on. (They also required a good selection of other maintenance jobs, including three new eyelets, a new tip plate and a new lapping and thumb leather.)

The owner of this violin brought it in for a general setup check. It turned out that somehow the bridge had been moved forwards over the years, so the string length was almost a centimetre shorter than the instrument was built for and the strings were much too high off the fingerboard. Unfortunately the soundpost, whilst badly fitting had been pushed too tight at some point, resulting in the top becoming distorted. I replaced that as well as fitting new strings.

This violin came in for an emergency crack repair. For the best prognosis, the top usually needs to be taken off the top of the instrument to get proper access to clean, clamp and internally reinforce the repair. However this increases the scope of the job significantly, so in this case we’ve decided to go with an external glue-up and see if it holds. I also modified the fit of the pegs, as they weren’t at all easy to tune, and added a parchment patch to the bridge for the E string.

This 1980s viola needed a new soundpost because the old one kept falling over. It also required some peg adjustment. (The next time the pegs needs adjusting, they’ll probably need replacing, as they have almost run out of useable length.)

This violin came in for some minor setup tweaks. The tone was a bit weak on the bass end, and there were also buzzes around some notes. Fitting a new soundpost and doing a light fingerboard reshoot should hopefully put paid to the issues and let the instrument sound its best.