Looking for a restorer in London
I found an old violin in my parent's house, most likely an early '900 German copy of a Steiner, that need some extensive restoration. The violin will be for my daughter, who is still a beginner and is now about to move from the 3/4 to the full size. Can anybody point me to a restorer in London? A basic google search showed me too many names ... any help is welcome, thanks
Guivier's in Mortimer Street W1 is a good place and they'll give you a candid opinion as to whether "extensive restoration" is an economical proposition. A few months ago I acquired a couple of Steinerish violins at auction for £100-200 each and did my own restoration job. During the course of preparing one of them for a little reglueing the tailpin block became dislodged and I was obliged to take the front off in order to replace it. At the end of the process both violins made a noise although not a very nice one. I put them back into auction and was quite pleased to be only about £20 out of pocket after costs.
I've had good dealings with Bridgewood and Neitzart, though never met them in person.
I would not go to the BIG London shops. They either outsource their work to very talented repairers but then charge a big fee on top, or their fees will see your wallet severely depleted. I very strongly recommend Michael Shakespeare in Blackheath. He does top notch work for the big dealers but does not charge the Earth.
I can second Michael. He'll also tell you if you're wasting your money (which you probably are - I got the T-shirt).
Thanks all, I appreciate the suggestions. The very first step is in fact understanding whether it's worth restoring it ... I'll let you know the outcome!
Carlo's right, for a Stainer copy, you don't need to pay Genuine Stradivari repair prices, which is basically what the big shops charge.
Bridgewood & N. seem one of the honest operators covering the normal levels of the market. A friend had a good experience of setup work at Stringers, and for all I know they are still good though that particular luthier has moved on.