Guarneri del Gesu violin in the white Bernard o'Leary violin maker repairer

How to damage
your violin

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Write to:

5 John St, Willowtown,
Ebbw Vale,
Blaenau Gwent
NP23 6NL

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an appointment:

Tel: +44 (0)1495 309863

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View of fine tuner needing to be altered Fine tuner actually digging into top plate

Some typical problems

Fine tuner damage 1&2, Check your fine tuners to ensure they are not fully extended as they will gouge a deep hole in the top of your violin. You must loosen them and tighten the strings with the pegs before they get this far then you can use the fine tuners again. Just because you haven't got a Stradivari doesn't mean your instrument is worthless but a hole through the top will make it so.
2, This bridge is bent and could fall over or break under the pressure of the strings causing a great deal of damage if not changed immediately.
3&4, Here are examples of fine tuner damage normally found on young students' violins because it is easier to tune using them than using the badly fitting pegs.
Old brittle glue. 5&6, Look at your violin especially the seams. 'A stitch in time really does save nine' because a slight opening or crack will only get bigger.
Badly glued neck joint. 7, Someone has tried to fix this using ordinary carpenters glue. Please do not glue any part of a violin with white carpenters glue as the result is often unsightly and the 'repair' can not be reversed without serious damage to the violin.
Damaged corner. 8, Once the edge, and as in this case the corner damage reaches the purfling, it becomes more serious and costly to repair. It is difficult to match the grain of the wood and the varnish colour.
Fine tuner dammage Fine tuner damage to the top plate
Back plate separating from the ribs Ribs sprung away from the top block
Ugly carpenters glue in joint Badly damaged corner
View of the sound post On bass side, view of bass bar
Sound post, base bar and structural integrity
The set up of your instrument is very important and can have an effect on the overall structural integrity of your instrument as well as the sound quality. The sound-post should be no more than a couple of millimetres behind the bridge foot, treble side. If they are too far apart then this will put pressure on the top plate which could eventually result in cracks. I've seen too many violins where the bridge has been moved up towards the fingerboard and away from the sound-post. Many are often inferior quality and being far too long are jammed in causing damage to the inside of the softer top. 9, View of the sound post from the treble side. The post should be vertical and not slant in any direction though it is often difficult to tell when viewed through the 'f' hole. 10, View from the bass side. If you look closely at the bottom of the 'f' hole you can see the bass bar that is glued along the top under the bridge foot. Both the bass bar and sound post help to support the top
What is involved in a set-up? The bridge: Should be cut and fitted from quality maple to transfer sound and correctly shaped for ease of playing. Sound post: New sound post should be correctly fitted but also the grain should be at 90 degrees to the grain of the top plate. This is to help prevent the post from sinking into the violin top. Pegs: Correctly fitted quality hardwood pegs. The Nut: Correct height for ease of playing. Quality strings: correctly wound. We need to be careful and only do the work that is needed to get out of your violin the best sound but take into consideration the quality of your violin.

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