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Anna Heifetz

Worm Damage!

March 1, 2012 at 6:42 PM

My sound post had been replaced about 6 times and nothing would help. Then, miraculously at Schuback Violin Shop in Portland, Oregon, they managed to see that there was a culprit: a worm! Sometime between when the instrument was last opened (1927, as is shown by the pencil signature on the inside top) and 2012, a worm snuck into my violin and began eating it away. The bass bar and all.

So... after some extensive repairs, my violin is almost finished. It still needs a new sound post again, after two weeks of playing it settled and needs a slightly larger one.

This has been an adventure for me, but I'm glad for posterities sake and for my symphony excerpt repertoire's sake that the mystery is finally solved of the moving sound post, and that I can successfully play now without much else to intervene. That is... for now... :-)

From Tom Holzman
Posted on March 1, 2012 at 9:35 PM
Wow! I can remember one of my teachers telling me 40+ years ago that there was a Strad with so much worm damage that it was unplayable. It was referred to as the "Wormy Strad."
From Ann Marie Cordial
Posted on March 2, 2012 at 2:41 PM
That's incredible. I wondered why (when I went to insure my instruments) I was told that I would not be covered under insect/critter damage.

--Ann Marie

From Paul Deck
Posted on March 2, 2012 at 6:32 PM
Is there something we should be keeping in our violin cases (or in the Dampit) to protect against such vermin? There are chemical compounds that will likely ward off worms at extremely low levels. I wouldn't want to use something like naphthalene which would diffuse into the varnish, however.
From Francesca Rizzardi
Posted on March 2, 2012 at 8:53 PM
Anna, you're certainly keeping a sense of humor regarding this. I'd be freaking out. And now I have something else to worry about.

A couple of years ago I was doing some web searches and came across an article about the restoration of a worm-eaten violin. I think it was either a Strad or a del Gesu, and a lot of careful cutting had to be made to its back to remove as little wood as possible. But in the end, you couldn't see any patches.

From enion pelta
Posted on March 2, 2012 at 9:29 PM
Schuback is the best. They have done some wonderful work for me in the past.
From enion pelta
Posted on March 3, 2012 at 8:57 PM
I now know that the attending luthier was Caitlin Pugh. She rocks - careful, intelligent, work and an all around awesome person.
From Trevor Jennings
Posted on March 4, 2012 at 12:03 AM
When I was in my teens I slipped on a patch of ice and fell on my cello on my way to rehearsal. The belly was cracked and needed to be repaired and that was when the luthier discovered worm in the lining, which he promptly replaced before it spread. That was indeed a lucky slip for me.
From Joyce Lin
Posted on March 5, 2012 at 7:14 AM
Yay for Caitlin, Schuback Shop, your violin and you! :)

Anna, if you have a couple hours next Sunday afternoon (March 11), please come join us at the 2nd Portland get-together. :)

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