114 posts

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.

This violin had ended up storred in an attic for decades, so it needed quite a lot doing to it! The old soundpost didn’t fit, and the bridge was in terrible condition (in fact it’s probably best for the instrument that the strings weren’t left under tension.) Also the nut was missing and the tailgut (which was actual gut!) had snapped. Also the neck angle was excessively high (32mm), and the pegs were unusable. And the fingerboard was quite lumpy as well.

In the end it was necessary to bush the peg holes in order to get new pegs fitting well. I fitted a new set of pegs and made a new nut. I reshot the fingerboard and adjusted the neck to achieve a better angle and fitted a new soundpost and bridge as well as replacing the tailgut and of course fitting new strings. Quite exciting to hear the violin able to play for the first time in many years!

This cello had another cello dropped on it! Luckily the damage was fairly minor – a crack in the side and an unglued seam. I got everything repaired and also fitted a new soundpost as well as adjusting the string heights at bridge and nut.

This violin came into the workshop because the owner wasn’t fully satisfied with the tone and playability. It turned out that the soundpost was badly positioned, which was the main issue. Also the fingerboard needed reshooting, and was very twisted toward the bass side of the instrument creating the need to reach over quite far to play the G string.

I reshot the board and managed to mostly address the twist at the same time as well as tweaking the width at the end to make it point slightly more centrally relative to the body.

The string slots at the nut had also been placed very far off-centre in order to account for one of the pegbox walls being overly thick.

Unfortunately this was the opposite asymmetry to that which existed in the bass bar and bridge placement, leading to the strings visibly running diagonally across the neck. We decided the best approach was to tastefully widen the pegbox enough that a symmetrical nut could be fitted.

The final piece of the puzzle was tweaking the location of the endpin hole, which was actually fitted off centre relative to the body anyway and was putting uneven strain on the tailpiece. (Oh and some bridge modifications to account for the tweaked fingerboard twist!)

This viola came in because the neck had come unglued. Thankfully the glue had failed without any wood breaking, so it was a fairly easy fix. I also treated it to its first new soundpost since 2002 when it was made!

This violin came in for some general setup optimisations as the E string was sounding quite strident and the G quite muffled. As usual, the soundpost was the main culprit. I also adjusted the bridge and restrung it. It’s been quite a difficult violin to optimise due to how flat the top arch is, which tends to make it err towards shrillness, but hopefully it should be a lot more balanced now.

This violin came in for an insurance valuation, but the owner also asked if I could have a quick look over the setup. I spotted that the old bridge was quite warped, but much more worryingly the endpin way on the verge of pulling out, which would cause everything to fly off (maybe even whilst being played!)

The old endpin socket was very worn, so I ended up fitting a bushing before re-drilling a smaller hole (in the end I was able to re-use the old pin.) I also fitted a new bridge and soundpost, and the previous post was not ideally placed, and some new strings.

This viola came in for some general adjustments because the strings were coming loose and the bridge kept falling off! I adjusted the pegs and tweaked the bridge position as well as fitting new strings – a relatively quick job.

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.