Cleats on Unrepaired Instruments?

September 16, 2016 at 09:47 PM · So I'm helping a friend who's buying a new cello, and the one he's got his heart set on is a Goffriller copy made in the 70's with a "Roelof Weertman" label in it. The owner says it has never been repaired, but there are cleats on the center seam of both the top and the bottom plates.

Is that a common practice? Or a practice at all, to put cleats on 'new' instruments like that? Or is it perhaps indication of something going on with those seams?

Replies (9)

September 16, 2016 at 10:01 PM · Some makers and workshops place cleats on the center seam as a matter of practice. Most Mirecourt violins have them.

Common practice for some, not all, nothing to worry about unless you see the seam coming open.

September 16, 2016 at 10:13 PM · Duanes right, it was common practice on some French instruments, and is not a sign of anything being "wrong".

September 17, 2016 at 01:23 AM · I learned something new today. :)

Thanks folks!

September 17, 2016 at 02:47 AM · It isn't just French makers. I've seen quite a few instruments from various makers with center joint cleats. I own such a violin and it was made in Illinois! Splendid instrument, BTW.

September 17, 2016 at 03:01 AM · A lot of American "makers" imported violins in the white from Europe then finished/graduated/varnished them and inserted their label, are you sure your violin didn't start out in Mirecourt??

September 17, 2016 at 02:26 PM · Just wait until you stumble upon a brand new instrument with sound post patch with no sound post crack!

Some makers started doing this while making the instrument.

September 17, 2016 at 04:11 PM · Some (many) very well known makers, at that! That's what happens when you use very low density wood, and you can fit a tighter sound post from the start without the risk of a crack.

I've only done it once. On a Viola. (Rimshot).

September 17, 2016 at 05:16 PM · ... which begs a question of sound quality and market value. While sound post crack may depreciate the value of an old instrument, it appears to have no effect on price of a new one...

September 17, 2016 at 09:57 PM · My insurer gives 0-30% as depreciation for a post crack in the top. A post patch in a top without a crack is fairly common in instances where the post has been poorly fit or adjusted by someone who didn't release tension when doing adjustments. No crack, but a badly scarred interior. No devaluation there.

As for sound quality, I think that you will find that an old instrument, after settling back in, almost always sounds better after a post patch. Strange phenomenon, but true.

Our Kokopelli
Please support
your donation
or sponsorship campaign. is made possible by...

Shar Music

Yamaha V3 Series Violin

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Zhuhai International Mozart Competition - Apply by April 30, 2017

Metzler Violin Shop

Gliga Violins

Anderson Musical Instrument Insurance

Bobelock Cases


Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Long Island Violin Shop

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Pro-Am Strings

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop

Study with Simon Fischer in Michigan, July 31-Aug 4