Do I get it repaired?

May 9, 2013 at 04:18 PM · I am teaching myself to play the violin. I am using a borrowed violin. My friend found out and gave me a violin that her father-in-law owned but never played.

It is a copy of Antonio Stradivarius, Made in Germany. It has either a bone/ivory? saddle and top nut, inlaid purfling, and a nice 2 piece flamed back. The top has very, fine and straight regular graining

It needs strings, polishing, gluing of seam on about 2 inches of the top to the side wall [what is that called?]. The only crack in the wood is at the very bottom of the side wall where the end button is located part of the end button is chipped.

Thanks for any input.

Replies (20)

May 9, 2013 at 04:25 PM · what's your real question, actually? of course you can't play if there's no string on the violin and when the violin needs to get repaired :/

May 9, 2013 at 06:04 PM · If you're asking if you should fix the violin you were given, then you need to take it to a shop and see if the cost of repairs exceed the cost of a comparable instrument.

A good luthier should be able to help you.


Pat T

May 9, 2013 at 06:10 PM · Of course you get it repaired! If it hasn't been played in a long time and kept in its case where there shouldnt be huge temperature and humidity changes, when you take it out and let it become accustomed to a new environment, there is a chance the crack could get bigger and the seems could become more undone.

Also does it have a bridge? With strings and the current repair can cost to ~150 (dont quote me on that please!). The violin shouldnt need to be polished, maybe just a good cleaning. If it needs a bridge that cost between $50-90.

IMO you should have the luthier give you an estimate of the work that needs to be done and ask him if its worth it. again dont quote me on this - but with strings, cleaning, bridge cut and fitted, repairs to cracks and regluing could cost ~$200-300. Would that, to you, be worth it? The luthier would be able to give you better insight and price estimates but this should give you good ballpark estimate on what should be done and a rough guess to the price of the work to be done

Good luck!

May 9, 2013 at 06:55 PM · or probably the first step is this: ask the luthier to taxate the violin (or what do you call it in english? :/ to let him take a look for what the violin is worth for the money).

So if the repair cost is higher than what the violin is worth, i think you better buy a good violin with reasonable price.

May 9, 2013 at 07:05 PM · hope it comes with a soundpost - otherwise you have to have it made ($$). As the other people says, bring to a luthier or a music shop (it's better if you have more than one place to consult) and have them estimate the cost. Usually they estimate the cost for free. You don't lose anything but your time.

Good luck!

May 9, 2013 at 07:28 PM · Soundposts are cheap, as are bridges. The real money is spent taking the top off if there are open cracks (you may be unable to see them).

May 10, 2013 at 01:37 AM · Don't forget the bow, does the bow that comes with it need re-hairing? If the hair looks really thin, it might need it. That will cost too. If the repairs are too expensive and the bow is good, you could just borrow the bow. A nice bow will make the violin sound better.

May 10, 2013 at 12:28 PM · Thank you all. Yes I did not want to put $200-$300 into a violin that should be used as a wall decoration! Yes this is the scariest part = "haven't even heard it to determine if you like the sound"

Rachel - Yes there is a bow but it looks as if the hairs have fused together, very stiff and caked. It is a Glasser.

Nick - The violin has been in a case in an unheated house for over a year. So far no noticeable increases in size of the crack at the button and no new ones have appeared. There is no bridge.

Noriko - Yes there is a sound post.

One really great thing - I smell no mold - I have a really good nose and can smell mold even when it has been cleaned up/treated!

Two things I forgot to mention - there is a very small bit of a warping of the lower part of the f hole down into the body on the side that needs to be glued and there is no chin rest but a pillow?

Thanks again. Saturday I am taking it to a luthier.

May 11, 2013 at 02:08 AM · Vanessa Gouw said:

ask the luthier to taxate the violin (or what do you call it in english?)


I have no idea, but I'd love to know.

May 11, 2013 at 03:57 AM · Appraise?

May 11, 2013 at 06:53 PM · I have an old German fiddle that fits your description -- it was in my grandmother's attic and needed similar repairs. It turned out to be a decent fiddle, not amazing, but it served me when I was a beginner, a lot better than the new violins I was offered. Definitely see how much it would cost to repair, and whether the violin maker thinks it is worth it. You should be able to find a number of good violin makers/repairers in Indianapolis, anyone have suggestions for her?

May 11, 2013 at 10:27 PM · Casa del Sol seems to be good. Possibly "Frank's Fiddle Shop?" I haven't been there. I don't recommend the one in Carmel.

May 22, 2013 at 08:07 PM · I am so excited!! The luthier downtown said - "absolutely!" to the question of whether it was worth getting it fixed or not. With $275-300 worth of repair it will be a good $500 violin, a step above a beginner's.

That includes a good $50 bow

Thanks to everyone for your input!

May 22, 2013 at 10:39 PM · congrats Pat - let us know what you name it :D

December 23, 2013 at 02:45 AM · I decided to take lessons from my son's violin teacher from when he was in grade school some 20 years ago.

My teacher recommended another Luthier. He was much cheaper then the first estimate - $115!!

He glued the seams, worked on the pegs, replaced the broken end button and dirty ivory top nut and saddle with ebony, made the bridge and replaced the tail gut. I decided against tuners - still had not heard the violin so didn't want to put any more money into it.

My teacher then had me buy strings from Shar -Dominant A, D, G with a Gold Label E String.

My teacher and I compared my violin with her very, very expensive violin. The D strings are the same, the A is very comparable. At the time the E string was weaker, didn't hold the note as long or as rich, but I swear the violin itself is sounding better - not just me getting better.

It was repaired at the end of October. Do violins improve like this?

I didn't get it polished but I have been gently spit shining it. It is definitely shinier. Did I read about the spit shining on this forum?

I played for our family Christmas Party tonight!!

I am so excited about playing. Too bad I didn't start sooner!!

Interesting thing - I played flute in high school. I could never memorize very well and when I did I pictured the page of music - the notes on the staff.

Now my mind just hears the music as I play from memory - it is very nice!!

December 23, 2013 at 09:31 AM · Spit polish?

December 23, 2013 at 01:46 PM · Yes. Ladies though don't spit!, so I lick my finger and rub it on the violin, then take a paper napkin and gently rub and buff until dry.

When I first received my violin it had a greasy grime on the entire top and sides, no shine. The first few times a bunch of gunk came off. That has slowed down of the majority of the top and sides so that only a faint shading appears n the napkin.

I was spit shining every few days but now just once in a while, but wipe the violin down with a dry cloth about every other day.

The back has always been shiny, dinged but shiny. The front seems like more of an oil type finish.

December 23, 2013 at 03:20 PM · Congrats on a happy ending! Enjoy! :D

December 23, 2013 at 05:40 PM · peh-too-wee ... sounds like you got a goodie - long life to you both.

December 23, 2013 at 09:34 PM · Glad to see you're maintaining etiquette, Pat :). I hope you keep your pinkie out while you do that rubbing.

Glad this worked out for you with a nice ending.

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