I dropped my violin, did I break it?

Edited: June 5, 2017, 7:49 PM · Last night, I dropped my violin when I tried to put it on top of a cupboard, from around 170cm (or 5'5"). The bridge was moved around 1cm. The strings were out of tune (especially the E string), it didnt snap any string. There is a little scartch on the front bottom right side of the violin.

It is oke on the outside (except the scratch), but I dont know what's happened in the inside of the violin.

I dont know if the sound post was moved or not, but it's still there. I dont know if I did any damage in the inside of violin.

Based on those informations, did I possibly do any damage inside the violin? I dont know if there is any luthier near me.

Replies (15)

June 5, 2017, 7:47 PM · this is my opinion only, and not backed by a luither education. It is however exactly what I would do.

I'd say put everything back and see if it sounds okay. If it looks okay and sounds okay it's probably okay.

I've foolishly dropped a viola from my shoulder before while trying to turn a page - while standing. At 191cm it's quite a similar drop and likely a little heavier. The bridge collapsed but thankfully everything else was fine. Really nasty chip out of the edging on the bottom, but purely cosmetic.

The strings were likely out of tune because the impact loosened the pegs.

My question is why you were trying to put a violin on top of a cupboard.... IMO keep it in it's case or on your shoulder. There is a reason we spend money on those silly things!

June 5, 2017, 8:26 PM · a picture is worth one thousand words. post it.
In the meantime, if you do not have experience with violin maintenance, do not touch anything. It borders with miracle that there is no crack or more damage. I can only guess that it fell un such a way that movement of the bridge absorbed the energy.
Edited: June 5, 2017, 8:32 PM · The wood of a violin is pretty thin, so there is unlikely to be damage inside the violin that couldn't also be seen from the outside. Exceptions would be the soundpost position (which isn't technically "damage"), or possibly a the glue joint on the bass bar.

I would be most concerned about cracks in the top or back, and the integrity of the neck joint. These can all be seen from the outside.

I go along with the idea of getting everything back in place, tuning it up, and try it. See how it sounds, and if the neck seems out of place or not. I'm assuming this is a relatively low-value violin; for something expensive, I'd have a competent luthier inspect it extremely carefully before tuning it back up again.

June 5, 2017, 9:20 PM · It should be okay. The one and only way to find out is to experiment.
June 5, 2017, 10:16 PM · Thanks Michael, Rocky, and Ella Yu..
I've tried to play it, it sounds weird, then I realized the bridge was out of place a bit. But then I had to go to work so I haven't tried it with normal bridge position. Still at my office now.

Yes Rocky, I'm too afraid to mess around with it, except the bridge.

Haha yeah Michael that's silly, but it's not a tall cupboard, around 170cm, I always put the case on top of it, I dropped the violin when I tried to put it in its case. Going to be more careful.

Edited: June 5, 2017, 10:18 PM · Thanks Don..
Then I assume that it's ok in the inside, except the soundpost position. The neck seems ok.
Is there any way for inexperienced one to determine whether a soundpost is in correct position or not?
Edited: June 5, 2017, 10:47 PM · Ardo,

If the sound post is shifted it will sound different. You can also tell if it's skewed. There may also be a 'spot' where it was originally if it was fixed incorrectly (ex: with glue).


Try putting it in the case before lifting it up! ;) Glad it seems to have survived, though.

June 5, 2017, 11:13 PM · Just check if the soundpost is standing at all before tuning it up, otherwise you may damage the top.
I know that feeling all to well....
Edited: June 6, 2017, 12:26 AM · Unless the violin is of very low value, I'd take it to someone with training and experience in looking for damage. Some types of damage, unless caught right away, can get worse, or become more difficult and expensive to repair.
June 6, 2017, 3:58 AM · I would take it to a luthier, trained eyes will see problems you probably can't see.
June 6, 2017, 4:33 AM · I'd do what Luis said.

Even the slightest nick, I e-mail and/or call my luthier. It's like caring for an infant for me.

June 6, 2017, 9:22 AM · If the bridge didn't collapse, just tune it up. If the bridge collapsed, I would try to check if the sound post is standing straight. If the bridge shifted, then I'd tweak the bridge position. Once you've tried your violin after fixing up and notice anything weird, then I'd take it to a tech. If you're really shaky, then I'd skip experimenting and go to a tech like several people said.
Edited: June 6, 2017, 12:58 PM · Never tune up first and than look if something is different despite the bridge! You can easily break of the neck like this taking a part of the bottom with him, make a soundpost crack much worse and way way more.
It may also happen that the soundpost falls without the bridge falling. Only tune up if you are sure there is no physical damage to the violin.
Edited: June 6, 2017, 12:19 PM · That's true. I didn't think about that. Sorry.
Edited: June 16, 2017, 10:35 AM · I went to a session to play and I had my violin and bouzouki along. I brought this locking violin stand along to hold the violin-

https://www.interstatemusic.com/54658-Hercules-DS571BB-Violin-Viola-Stand-DS571BB.aspx

I have used the Hercules stands with guitars and never had an issue so I thought nothing of it. In fact, these are some of the best stands you can buy. They lock the instrument into a hold when you put it on the stand.

I came in late so I had to squeeze into a tight spot. I decided to put the violin in the stand and carry the stand with the violin locked into it. I got almost to my place and the violin slipped out of the stand and hit the floor hard bouncing. As it turned out I didn't have the stand adjusted high enough so the locking mechanism never locked the violin into place.

It made a terrible noise. Bounced a few times on the concrete floor. I picked it up and couldn't see any damage where it had landed. The bridge hadn't moved at all. It was only slightly out of tune, that's it. Zero damage! I consider myself very fortunate. It was a painful way to learn that I needed to make the stand higher for the lock to work.

If you use the Hercules stand, make sure you set it high so the violin can fully lock into it!!

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