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Joyce Lin

Checklist for a ready-to-play violin

May 10, 2011 at 11:11 PM

  1. Body has no unrepaired cracks or open seam.
  2. Neck is smooth and has correct* thickness, angle and length.
  3. Bridge is well fitted, is perpendicular to the top plate, and has correct* thickness and shape.
  4. Correct* string heights, string distances, string length and after-length.
  5. Sound post has no crack and is at the right place.
  6. Fingerboard has acceptable thicknesses, widths, radius, scoop, and the surface is smooth (no grooves, etc.).
  7. Nut is well fitted (no sharp edges) and provides correct* string grooves, distances and heights.
  8. Pegs and fine tuner(s) are easy to tune and stay in tune, and there is not excessive wear in pegs and peg holes.
  9. Tailpiece, tail-gut, and end-pin are in good shape.
  10. Newish, good quality strings that are not false and have no apparent wear.
  11. No buzzing sound or loose parts

*Correct means within industry standard, or is optimal for the instrument. Here is a table of the average measurements of the violin.


I'm going through my 5th round of violin hunting in less than two years as an adult violin student, and the above is a checklist that I came up with.  It was posted in a discussion, but I think it might be useful for people who will soon shop for a violin and don't know what to look out for, so I'm re-posting it as a blog entry.


From Christina C.
Posted on May 11, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Hmm... a few of these points have more to do with the set-up than the instrument itself, they're easily corrected.  Even fittings, they're changeable. And fingerboards need to be planed every now & then, as long as there's enough thickness left, that's easily taken care of too. If I came across an instrument whose sound I loved, I'd probably look past several of these issues.... but I might use them as negotiating points for the price. Good luck with your hunt & keep us posted with your progress.

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