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Patrick Tinney

I may be a bit shallow, but I do love my violin. I mean looks aren't everything.

June 10, 2013 at 11:19 PM

A discussion on this site considered a problem that might have been an interaction between the case and the finish, or perhaps just an uncured finish. This caused me to reflect on my UCWV (Unlabeled Chinese Workshop Violin). We have had a relationship for just over nine months and feel like there is so much I do not know about my UCWV. I was able to find that it had been made in 2011 and imported by a man in Sugarland Texas.

But about the finish, the only thing I did not and to a certain extent still do not like is that the violin was antiqued. Though I know we should not base our relationships on looks I still think about this. Originally I thought I would pick the best sounding and playing instrument in my price range with no regard for looks. After an intense day of my teacher and me comparing over a dozen instruments in and slightly above my price range I took my love home. There was no doubt at the time nor is there any now that this instrument was meant for me or I for it.

I was so fried mentally after my purchase that I wasn't even sure what it looked like until the next day. I still remember taking it out of its case and looking at it. There is no label, I looked at the top and into the f-holes and thought ‘stripes, I didn't know it had stripes’. Then I turned it over and was very pleasantly surprised by the nice figure in the maple. So I have a wonderful partner with a beautiful voice, nice figure but a skin problem.

I noticed that under the fingerboard it was really dusty so I cleaned it up. Then I noticed that the finish was sticky and where one finger seemed to actually stick to the instrument I found I had left a finger print, ridges and everything. And it did have a smell. Not “a strong solvent smell” but a sweet smell reminiscent of vanilla or honey.

Though I treat my UCWV with the greatest care I do find that after I take the one cloth (I use two microfiber clothes) and remove any rosin and sweat I then wipe down the instrument with a cleaner cloth (the cloths are different colors). I have to admit my relationship with the finish seem to cause me to maybe buff the instrument a little too intensely. Maybe I’m secretly trying to remove the evidence of artificial enhancement.

The antiquing originally had droplet looking patterns in the “worn” area. I think this worn area is supposed to look like it has been slid in and out of a holster type case. There is even evidence of a bow being slid in the slot above the violin. I think it really is a good job of antiquing, but these droplets had a great three dimensionality, OK they were thick. Well I don’t think they’re that thick any more. I also noticed today that the finger print is just a few short ridges and not the FBI looking thing that had been there. The finish its not sticky any more and for the most part it has barely retained its smell.

I am trying to control my impulses and I am starting to get over the idea of paying to have my UCWV un-antiqued. I am madly in love with my UCWV I just hope I’m not making it feel embarrassed for having blemished skin. I have to be careful how I treat it. After reading about tap tones I carefully tapped on the top of my UCWV. I felt so bad; I could feel chills going up its back. Sorry baby.

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