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Refinishing a Violin: Can I Do It Myself?

Instruments: 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?

From Tom Eccstein
Posted 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?

From Timothy James Dimacali
Posted on 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. :-)

From Dumitru Lazarescu
Posted on 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.

From Stephen Brivati
Posted on 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.
Cheers,
Buri
From Tom Eccstein
Posted on 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.
From Michael Avagliano
Posted on 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."

From Stephen Brivati
Posted on June 22, 2004 at 06:31 AM
but michael, i have always found that quite stimulating,
cheers,
buri
From Juergen L. Hemm
Posted on 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.

Bye,
Juergen


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