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Refinishing a Violin: Can I Do It Myself?

June 21, 2004 at 03:06 AM · I have a really horrible violin I used to start off with. The paint comes off if you scratch it. Since it is the summer, I was thinking of refinishing it. Could this be done on my own? What would I need?

Replies (7)

June 21, 2004 at 04:51 AM · I'm not a luthier (nor a violin virtuoso, for that matter), but I do know for a fact that the kind, quality, and thickness of the finish can drastically affect the sound of a violin --especially over the course of several years as the finish and the wood age.

IMHO, I don't suppose there would be any effect on the overall sound of your instrument if you decide to cover up small nicks and scratches. However, the same can't be said of a full overhaul.

If you're a handyman kind of guy, you could probably redo the entire finish yourself but you would really need to get expert advice from a veteran luthier. Again, IMHO, you might as well have the luthier do the whole job for you and save yourself a lot of trouble if not a lot of money. :-)

June 21, 2004 at 06:45 AM · Oh brother!... Before you start working on that instrument, take it to a luthier to look at and then give you anadvice on how you can do it best.

If it turns out to be a bad violin, then take all finish off and then paint it a metallic color, add a piezo pick up on it (Barcus Berry or Fishman) and amplify the darn thing. You'll be rockin' and rollin' in no time.

June 21, 2004 at 08:29 AM · Greetings,

sinc eit is the summer refinish your house and then buy a new violin as a reward to yourself.



June 21, 2004 at 09:13 PM · haha no its really crap...

it was 200 dollars new...and all that comes out are scratches...i mean how good is a violin that has half the pegbox unpainted? but i have repained my own guitar and that turned out fine.

June 22, 2004 at 03:15 AM · I have a former coworker in Indianapolis who used this analogy when someone asked us about revarnishing an instrument:

"As long as you're okay with taking your skin off and putting on a new skin, go right ahead."

June 22, 2004 at 06:31 AM · but michael, i have always found that quite stimulating,



June 22, 2004 at 11:37 AM · Hi,

Tom, I wouldn't recommend that you refinish your violin on your own. You say that it is a "horrible" violin. If you're convinced of that, paint it any way you want and use it as a decoration. If you're not really sure, take it to a good luthier, let him check the setup and the varnish and get an estimate.

It is almost unbelievable what a correct setup/overhaul by a qualified craftsman can do. Of course, that will not come cheap.



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