This cello came in because the pegs had slipped and the soundpost had fallen over. Usually if it has fallen over which the cello being knocked etc. then it is an indication that the current post isn’t under enough tension. In the end, after checking the fit, we agreed that it made sense to fit a new post. I also addressed the cause of the immediate problem by tweaking the fit of the pegs. I also adjusted the string heights, as they were a bit low for gut core strings.
This cello came in for a new bridge as the old one had warped. I also fitted a soundpost as the old one wasn’t contacting the top very well and had to stand at an angle to get any sort of pressure.
This cello came in for a replacement corner as it had been chipped. It’s always a fun (if frustrating) job making a clean new corner and then varnishing and distressing it to match the surrounding wear and tear. I also decided with the owner that it made sense to fit a new soundpost as the old one was very loose.
New bridge to start the new year! At some point this violin will also need a new fingerboard as the old one is on its last legs, so I checked the elevation to try and ensure that, when that happens, the new bridge will still be of the correct height. Thankfully it’s fairly standard.
This bass came in because the owner wanted to see if they could get a bit more power out of it as well as eliminating some troublesome buzzes. We spent several hours experimenting with various options before deciding that the best approach would be to fit a new soundpost and raise the bridge slightly with shims under the feet. I also found quite a lot of lumps and bumps in the fingerboard, so I decided to give it a partial reshoot. (It was so un-level that the strings were too low at the nut whilst being uncomfortably high in first position, and buzzing in second position!) After tweaking the board I also tweaked the nut, as it was overly high with very deep string slots – another potential source of buzzes.
Unfortunately the maker had obviously rushed the last bit of carving the top, and so the fluting was very deep (in many places light was visible through the wood!) This meant that there was an area where a crack had opened. I managed to glue the crack, but without taking the top off the instrument there aren’t many straightforward ways to reinforce it (the wood isn’t flat enough to easily fit a cleat externally – a process which is finicky at the best of times!)
This violin came in because the owner needed a bow rehair. However when we looked at the instrument together, it was clear that the bridge was very bent over and was on the verge of snapping – unfortunately it had gone long past the point of being able to be set upright. If the bridge were to snap, it would render the instrument unplayable immediately and possible cause other damage, so in the end we decided that in the interests of budget the best approach was to leave the bow as it was and prioritise fitting a new bridge and soundpost (as it became clear it would benefit a lot from one as well). I suspected that the bridge and post would actually make a much more immediate different to the tone and response than the rehair – the bow is ragged but still useable for a while.
I had this 1960s Czech bass in last week because the neck had popped out. Amongst other things, this was possibly due to the purfling around the neck joint being fitted so deep that there was no proper support for the button, which had come off along with the neck. We decided that given the severity of the break vs the overall value of the instrument, but far the safest and most sensible thing to do was to bolt the neck back in. Hopefully it should remain solid for many decades to come.