From Ed Barreto
Posted March 20, 2005 at 06:47 AM
I was picking up the thing to got to a lesson and the case was unzippered (how easy it is to forget) and the velcro was not enough to keep the violin inside. So the case opened and dropped the violin to the floor (why the heck isnt the handle on the other side of the zipper so that if that happens I have time to notice, not to mentioned my body can stop the opening...idiot case makers).
An extra computer monitor was on the floor at that time and the violin hit the corner of it. The damage was done at the bottom of the body, half a centimeter away from the brige to about 1 1/2 centimer away from the lowest part of the tailpiece, luckily on the side opposite the chinrest.
As soon as it fell, I had no time to react. I am lucky it did not break at the point of the bridge.
Interestingly, it stayed in tune after this happened.
I dont know what you call it, but the curved part of the body, "sandwiched" between the top and bottom of the body (the part that the tailpiece is connected)...I dont know what else to describe it as. Anyways, that part of was not at all affected. Only the top part of the body was damaged (just think of the violin as lying down, with the scroll gently touching the ground). It came off easily and splinted off. There is only 1 piece that came off. The soundpost is still in place.
I know the repair for something like this would cost a lot. My teacher told me to call a friend of her's that would give me a good deal (but I know this will end up being more than what I paid for the thing).
Would all I need to do is wood-glue the piece back together and use it's miserable life up until I get a new one?
Seeing that the strings were in tune were an indicator that the tailpiece exerts little pressure on that specific area of the body (am I correct on this?), but I am concerened about the bridge. The part that was broken is split right next to the bridge. In that side of the violin, there seems to be no structual support for the bridge, but on the other side there seems to be a rib running down the length of the body. The soundpost seems to be the support for the other side, i've no clue.
Help me here...
LOL! Not at what happened but the way you relate the story. I don't think that the case makers are the idiots... they just aren't musicians in musicians' mind.
Seriously though, you should have it professionally fixed by a good luthier ASAP! A badly done repair will make the value drop even further and render the instrument useless. I am really sorry that this happened. If the instrument has value, then get it repaired. If it costs more to get it fixed than it's worth, then decide consequently. But please don't do what some people do and try to do it yourself. You will simply ruin the instrument. The glue luthiers use is a special kind of glue and is unlike anything available "around".
GOOD LUCK! Cheers?!
Maybe this is your moment to get a new violin?
I probably will just wood glue the thing...
I paid 60 dollars for it, so its not really anything bad, I just need to get practicing as soon as possible. It's a shame too, it was such a cheap violin but the tone was that of a 500 dollar one (i've tried many cheap violins with those nasty accentuated mid-frequencies).
So I was kinda attached to it.
I'll probably just hold on to it until I can order one of those student violins from southwest strings ~200 dollars. Its from my own pocket, I can't afford anything great.
Ed: That's such a sad story. As for getting something cheap, keep an eye out on EBay. Sometimes, I've been told that there are some amazing deals there, and you might be able to get something better than anything for 200$ at Southwest Strings.
I had a thought. Rather than doing this yourself, consider taking it to the repairman and tell him you don't want to spend much on it and tell him how you want the repair done. You don't want the top taken off, don't want it cleated, doesn't need to be invisible, etc. It might be inexpensive that way and at least it will have the right glue and might look neater than what you could do yourself. A big plus is that the damage wasn't really structural judging by your description. It might really not turn out to be that big a deal. If it split down the grain the whole length of the bout like I suspect it did, it might not even end up looking that bad. When you get it back it might sound strange for a week and then get back to normal.
"If you have some good book store in your area, just find some book like 'Violin Repair Guide' by Michael Atria "
Thanks for the title. I am going to go look for that one, i'll try to memorize as much as I can ;).
P.S. I am in NO way connected with Violin Depot or any of its affiliates. I just love typing that. It makes me feel so warm and fuzzy.
yes, the violin was so heavy it took a chunk off of my leg. :P. I wonder if anybody has sustained any immediate injuries by playing or dropping the violin to themselves rather than their instrument.
"How much would you be able to spend, Ed?"
300 would be sort of stretching it, as far as the time it takes to make that is involved. Being still in high school, I manage to scrape up ~300 dollars a year. 200 dollars would be a lot more of a comfortable of a buying situation, but i'm seriously considering the name you mentioned. Since it's an actual company, im more willing to invest into it.
It actually has. Most of it is shattered off...
I don't think ill be able to replace the violin, much less the void it's left in me...the part that shattered off of the violin is as much of my soul that went with it *sob*...
It actually will be funny to get my ear more acquainted with expensive violins and then berate that nasty sounding splint of wood. Then again, my long time orchestra member teacher said the tone was marvelous at that price. It has a special significance. It was probably the one that the conveyer belt worker spent more time on it because he was in a good mood. -_-
I have the horrible habit of clenching my jaw (not as embarrasing as having the mouth open), but still something I have to get rid of.
What's maddening about the whole situation is I havent been able to play the thing. Im sitting there playing strings tuned at the first octave, they sound like an old man under screeching rubber.
Another worthy suggestion. 15$ doesnt sound bad at all.
Thank you fellow humans for all the suggestions, you have all provided me many options to take here. Thank you.
From your drawing, it looks like the cracked off piece actually shares a boundary with the f-hole. Are there any loose splinters, or is it very clean? Where the piece popped off of the rib, is the gluing surface clean, or jagged? What happened to the purfling where in crosses the break? Have you left the strings tenstioned? If so, does the piece still fit in place? (Whatever you do with the strings, try to help to maintan the fit of the piece ontp the violin).
The hide glue used for building a violin is water soluble. It is also re-activatable. Fresh hot hide glue will soften what is there, and it will all go back toether. I have a lot of hide glue, I would be happy to send you some.
Perhaps you could glue the piece back in place yourself. I could also loan you some clamps. They are special purpose clamps designed for glueing the plates to the ribs.
Hide glue really isn't all that difficult to use. Just practice on some scrap wood. I can send you some tongue depressors for that, and for stirring it. In fact, I think it is fun--and non-toxic, which is so nice after working with epoxy.
And if the attempt fails, no problem, just soften the joint with some warm water in a slightly damp sponge, and try again.
Also, if the soundpost falls, I think you would probably want to drop the string tension immediately to prevent warping. and it is easy to make a sound post setter out of a coathanger.
What do you think?
From the f-hole area, it is a clean cut, looks like an ax went through it cleanly. The part that is cut off from the rest of the top near the rib, it is jagged and semi-splinted.
The part that is seperated from the rib, there seems to be no evidence of apparent gluing. I see a very fine, thing, clear covering, it looks like it had good reason to splint off with that little amount of glue. It seems that the part of the top connected to the rib came off, which as it was coming off, it fell off at an angle and took a chunk out, all in a period of .5 seconds. (earthquake just happened...)
Where the break happened, the purfling was cleanly cut off. The splints in that area expose the purfling a bit, but is still connected to the piece.
The piece still fits in place, I have taken the tension of all my strings.
My dad, being a "jack-of-all-trades" has some hide glue and clamps (I suppose they can be applied to the violin, as they have those padded contact surfaces).
Do the strings exert tension in that area of the body?
I called the guy, and he said, whatever he's going to do, he's going to charge more than what I paid for it.
I'd be happy to talk to you on the phone:
mail me at by first name, at plattdesign.net with your number.
(You have hide glue from your father, yes? Is it the "liquid" kind that comes in a bottle, or is it the real thing, little granules/pellets? You want to be sure the violin is warm--it will give you more "open" time with the glue--so 75 or 80 degrees--if you can get the room up to that temp it will help--do this gradually. You really should make some experiments with the hide glue first.
There is some really good information at the following links: http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Luthier/Data/Materials/hideglue.html
read all of the links in the document as well. It is pretty much how I make up my batches. (I have a photographic thermometer, and I do the mixing in a pyrex measuring cup, and wash it out when I'm finished -- non-toxic).
To practice, take some freshly planed pieces of scrap wood, and glue them together. This will give you an idea of how to understand the "gelling" process, the speed with which the glue cools and gels, and how the glue behaves under clamps. Let your test pieces dry overnight, and them pull them apart to see how they worked. )
We used an assortment of ropes and clamps. It turned out rather nicely as well. The oozed out glue was carefully shaved off.
All that is visible is a little hairline.
Thanks again for the information!
Congtratulations on making the repair. I am glad it all went back together nicely--and even improved the sound!
Now your fiddle is really yours--in a way that it was not before--because you had a hand in making it.
Violinist.com Editor Laurie Niles is in New York to cover the biennial event at The Juilliard School, including classes by Brian Lewis and Sarah Chang.
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