Theo

114 posts

This violin came in because the owner was generally dissatisfied with the balance and projection of the instrument. There was also a crack in the scroll (thankfully out of the way of the pegs, as this would require serious reinforcement.) I fixed the scroll and fitted a new bridge and soundpost, which have really transformed the tone of the instrument (the old bridge was too heavily built, and the old soundpost was not a great fit.)

This 1970s English cello had sat unplayed for several decades. It needed a full setup, comprising of a new bridge, soundpost, replacement endpin and modern tailpiece with built in fine tuners, as well as some fresh strings!

This cello came in because there was an intermittent buzz. There was also a general instability in tone across the strings, and an underlying hiss. There were several aspects of the setup which together contributed to this – the most major to fix immediately was a loose fingerboard (the fingerboard stabilises the neck, so if your fingerboard is loose then it’s important you get it seen to immediately.) I also fitted a new bridge as the old one was very heavy and slightly bent, and a new soundpost as the old one was a good fit but not under sufficient tension. The saddle was also very tall and beginning to come unglued, so I replaced that with a better fitting, more appropriately sized one.

This cello came in because the bridge was too high. While it would technically have been possible to lower the existing bridge, it was already warped to the point where it might not last very long, so we decided that the best way forward was to fit a new bridge which could be correctly calibrated from the start. The cello is fairly new (2013), and as such still in its period of stretching and settling. The soundpost had obviously become too loose at a point, so someone had pushed it tighter, but as a result it was placed outside the bridge foot, resulting in a treble-heavy sound, without any possibility of doing in-place adjustments without it becoming too lost, so I fitted a new soundpost as well.

This violin came in because it needed some retouch around the edges and also because the endpin was putting up, which the owner had spotted (a good thing to check for every so often!) However I also spotted that the rib was pulling away from the back plate, meaning that either it has come unglued from the bottom block or the block itself wasn’t properly seated. This can happen gradually anywhere on the instrument as the wood shrinks, but in the bottom block area there is the additional tension from the tailpiece to worry about. Luckily there was enough “wiggle room” to move the rib/block in and regain the overhang and gluing surface by balancing it out with other areas where the overhang was more than it needed to be. I also fitted a new soundpost because the old one wasn’t a brilliant fit.

This violin came in because the A string had started to cut into the bridge resulting in the string being hard to bow on its own. I examined the instrument and realised the reason was that a rather unscrupulous music shop had fitted guitar strings for the A and E strings, resulting in a string which was very high tension and acting like a cheesewire on the bridge. It could have been possible to salvage the old bridge, however it was not a very high quality one so we decided it made sense to fit a new bridge. However the neck angle was also very shallow, so after consultation we decided to do a neck angle reset first, rather than made a new bridge which would only need replacing again once the neck reset happened. I also fitted a new soundpost and re-glued a loose seam in the bottom bout, as well as fitting a new set of (violin!) strings and tidying up the nut a bit,

This violin came in for a new soundpost after having been unused for a bit. When I strung it up I realised that the nut slots were also too deep so the strings were buzzing, but I was able to shim it up to get the extra height needed.

This violin came in for a string-up and some soundpost tweaks after having sat unplayed for a while. We also decided it made sense to fit a new tailpiece with built in fine-tuners rather than having 4 external ones.

This violin came in because the bridge had snapped during tuning. From examining the old bridge, it was clear that it had warped over time, and this was unfortunately an accident waiting to happen. One a bridge begins to lean over, it’s in danger of warping as this one had, so it’s always worth getting familiar with how your bridge looks when standing properly (a straight face towards the tailpiece and a slight “belly” on the fingerboard side). With a bit of practise, it’s possible to get into the habit of straightening your own bridge every so often, which helps keep it going a lot longer!

I also gave this violin a comprehensive clean and polish, and there was a serious buildup of rosin on the top.

This Swedish lute from 1804 came in for some repairs. A couple of the back panels had come unglued and needed attending to. I re-aligned them and fitted new parchment on the inside to reinforce the seams, as well as removing a metal reinforcement bar which had been added at a point when the instrument was strung with high tension strings.