Should I have This Violin Repaired?

June 12, 2018, 9:21 AM · I bought an August F. Kohr K555 violin awhile back used.I believe it is 10 years or older.

Since I bought another violin this one has been collecting dust in a closet. It has a nice loud tone and resonance, however my luthier says it needs to have the finger board re worked.

He showed me a slight dip where the most common fingerings are on the finger board. I can play the violin, however it isn't as easy to finger as my new one and it isn't unusual for me to struggle more playing it.

I did a little research and found the K555 is a slight step up from the K550. Their top model seems to be the HC650. The K555 has a bit more refinement than the K550. The Kohr company seem to deal mostly in either student or low end intermediate violins. My model hovers around the 1000.00/1100.00 US dollars mark new if it can be found.

It's a nice violin cosmetically with a one piece back and nice finish. The pegs are tough to move though with a bridge tuner on the E.

I am considering keeping it to play as a back up. I'm not pro. A luthier estimated it would cost 200.00 to fix the finger board issue. I spent 650.00 on it used.If I spend another 200 US on it that will put me at slightly less than the cost of buying another violin in this range new. The main consolation being I'll know what I have if I have it repaired.

Do you think the repair will make this violin easier to play? Is it worth the money to have it repaired as opposed to simply looking at other violins? I do think this violin is exceptional for a factory violin otherwise and one reason I bought it.

Replies (20)

June 12, 2018, 9:52 AM · Forget what you paid for it, since that's a sunk cost. The question is if you're going to keep it or not.

If you're going to sell it, will it sell for $200 more if you repair it than if you don't?

If you're going to keep it, is it worth $200 to you to have a good backup? (Since it's been sitting in the closet for a while, I presume that will be its function).

June 12, 2018, 10:09 AM · Find another luthier, $200 to level the fingerboard is a total ripoff, I charge $30, unless there are other issues included in that price he quoted you.
June 12, 2018, 11:53 AM · Madeye Hobbit. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would probably be at a -5 for salesmanship.It isn't an ability I possess. Though I try to be a very informed buyer. I posted some violins awhile back online and I had no bites.

I don't think there's any way I'll recover what I spent on it if I have it repaired for that amount. I could get lucky I suppose. The violin is still under the retail price for that instrument if I break even. I think some buyers would reason that for a few hundred more dollars they could have a new one.My intuition leans me away from optimism here.

There is a chance I'll have it repaired and still not like the way it plays. This is something that concerns me. If it were set up with the repair I would probably be ok with it for what it is.Notice I said "probably".If you sense some apprehension you would be correct. The fingerboard repair needs to make a difference in how it plays for me.

Lyndon- I think this is very reasonable. Thanks for your advice and I wish you weren't all the way over on the WC.

June 12, 2018, 11:54 AM · Once in a blue moon I agree with our friend Lyndon: a total ripoff
June 12, 2018, 12:08 PM · leveling a fingerboard is about 30min of labour, your "luthier" is charging $400/hr!!
June 12, 2018, 2:14 PM · Perhaps we haven't heard the whole story. The Luthier may have quoted a finger board replacement (which might get too thin otherwise) and nut adjustment, which would be reasonable I presume. We don't know and haven't seen the instrument.
June 12, 2018, 2:23 PM · A practically new violin would not have a fingerboard that was so thin it needed replacement, that takes many years.
June 12, 2018, 6:22 PM · I had similar thoughts but perhaps the luthier sees some issues. It may have started too thin to begin with etc. Perhaps the OP can clarify what was quoted.
June 12, 2018, 8:11 PM · There's supposed to be a slight dip in the fingerboard. It's not supposed to be ruler straight. Is the problem that your strings are too high off the fingerboard, which could be caused by the neck sagging? If so the simplest solution for a violin of that value might be to just lower the bridge top a bit.
June 12, 2018, 11:23 PM · How severe is the dip, and on which side of the fingerboard? As Mark says, a slight "scoop" of 1 or 2 mm is normal and deliberate, although this should be on the G-string side rather than the E-string where wear is more likely to occur. Also it's not found on many instruments at this end of the market. If, on the other hand, your dip is due to genuine wear and tear, someone played that violin a heck of a lot!

I recently bought a violin at auction without noticing that the neck was warped. Correcting that cost a lot more than $200.

June 13, 2018, 12:59 AM · he said it was wear from the finger positions, not the dip in the middle of the fingerboard length, which should be about .5mm on the treble side and 1mm on the bass side
June 13, 2018, 9:05 AM ·
Thanks for the info on the fingerboard. I didn't know this.

I'll try to post pics of it with a ruler on the fingerboard.Its seems I recall he did mention replacing something and maybe his "rework" was actually a replacement.

I don't know how old the violin actually is. I guessed at 10 years because the model can still be found online and I knew the young woman who owned it played it all the way through college.It could be older. I doubt it's much older.

She played it a lot from what I gather. She had recently purchased a much nicer violin and this was the reason for the sale. At least this is what I was told.

Some people adopt puppies. Some people adopt cats. I adopt poor helpless violins:)

Edited: June 13, 2018, 12:18 PM · Doing a top-notch job of planing a fingerboard can take considerably longer than 30 minutes. On top of that, there may be adjustments to the upper nut and bridge required, as a consequence of planing the fingerboard, and there's some possibility that they may even need to be replaced.
June 13, 2018, 12:52 PM · We're not talking a Stradivarius here, David!!
June 14, 2018, 2:40 AM · Some luthiers prefer to do top-notch work, even on inexpensive instruments. To some extent, the quality of the work is how the luthier's reputation is established and maintained. Every piece of work that goes out the door is their "calling card".
Edited: June 14, 2018, 3:36 AM · I do top notch work on resurfacing fingerboards, I'm just not anal about it
June 14, 2018, 3:24 AM · Before 8 could afford a top quality instrument I had a cheap low quality violin but this low quality instrument sounded pretty good with time and effort for the right bridge and afterlength and soundpost adjustments. I think paying a good luthier to get all of these things right for the instrument is money well spent
June 14, 2018, 3:59 AM · I stand by Lyndon. Give it a rest.
June 14, 2018, 4:20 AM · Well given that I do some leveling on the fingerboard of almost every violin I restore, I've never had a customer come back unhappy with the surface of the fingerboard, in fact I often get compliments about just how well set up my instruments are.
June 14, 2018, 1:24 PM · Rocky, give what a rest?


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