Varnish on the edge of my new violin chipped

October 27, 2013 at 05:21 AM · Bought a violin through an online store two months ago. I love this violin, but now the varnish on the edge of the f-hole chipped a little. Right now it's just a pencil dot size chip, but I am worried that the chip would get worse. I don't know what to do. Should I make it easy and just take the violin to a luthier and have him seal the chip? Or should I call the online store and have them fix the problem? Please help.

Replies (23)

October 27, 2013 at 08:20 AM · my violin (student level) is chipped around 3-4 different places, same size as the one you have. as it's only a student instrument i don't bother too much. they didn't any bigger, by the way. but if yours is an expensive instrument, maybe you should worry more. how did it happen?

October 27, 2013 at 08:55 AM · It's an expensive violin. It just happened by itself. It might be the maker didn't apply a even good coat of varnish around the edge.

October 27, 2013 at 09:39 AM · If the damage is on the edge of the treble f-hole then there is the possibility that someone was not careful enough when using a sound post adjustment tool.

I'll also mention that there is that sort of damage to the edges of the treble f-hole on my No. 1 violin, for much the same reason I would guess, but No. 1 Violin is a couple of centuries old and a lot can happen in that time.

BTW, be very careful with the edges of the f-holes. The edge profile is most important to the air flow through the f-hole, and therefore the tone. If the edge profile is damaged, or just plain incorrect, then it could affect the air flow and perhaps cause a back pressure that will interfere with the power of the violin. (That's jet engine aerodynamics for you!)

October 27, 2013 at 02:53 PM ·

October 27, 2013 at 03:29 PM · Yes, I bought an expensive (it's not really THAT expensive) violin through Shar actually. They are trustworthy, and have some nice stuff. You probably know.

October 27, 2013 at 03:31 PM · If it won't cost more than $20 to retouch, I guess I will just bring it to a local luthier.

October 27, 2013 at 04:52 PM · Just leave it alone ! It is going to get much worse than that over the next 100 years. Somebody in the future will appreciate its well worn appearance.

October 27, 2013 at 06:14 PM · They're the marks of a well used instrument. In the old days we just used to touch-up small blemishes with a bit of brown crayon & rub them with a soft cloth. Cost about 2 cents & nobody was any the wiser. Not a big deal if it's a factory violin. My old German fiddle is looking quite nicely worn after many years (& it sounds better than ever).

October 27, 2013 at 09:17 PM · I love my violin too much to rub crayon on it. Now I don't even dare to wipe the dust off the "affected area" with too much force.

October 27, 2013 at 10:16 PM · You love your violin so much you won't care for it properly?

That might backfire on you.

October 28, 2013 at 01:13 AM · If the chip is that small I would suggest just taking it to a luthier to have a bit of varnish dabbed on to seal it, probably at no charge. That's what I did when I caused a good chip in the varnish around the E string peg by forcing it too much.

October 28, 2013 at 09:36 AM · At N. A., I do take good care of my violin. The chip wasn't my fault at all, from the look it does look like the man who set up the violin wasn't careful with the sound post adjustment tool.

I am always careful when I play my violin. I wipe the rosin off after every playing, careful not to drop it, and reading everything I could about violin.

Yes, I do take good care of my violin.

October 28, 2013 at 01:43 PM · I'm glad to hear that. I have run across some people who regard their instrument as so 'precious' that they don't actually use it as it was intended...

October 28, 2013 at 06:15 PM · It's like the first chip or scratch on a shiny new car, quite infuriating. I understand. But don't worry at all. As several people have already pointed out, if you don't like the notion of using a crayon, any luthier can put a little dab of colour and varnish over it.

It's tempting to say, though, violins are meant to be used, and chips and scratches will inevitably accumulate as you play. Just look at all the famous old instruments. The stress marks are part of their history and their charm. Many fine luthiers very carefully antique the finish of their new instruments with stress marks to give them that special appearance of warmth. There's a debate about that in violin circles, but it's a practice that's gone on for a very long time.

October 28, 2013 at 08:56 PM · Here's how I can prove I love my violin. I would take it to the luthier, but I don't want to part with it even for a few days. After all I did only have it for two months. I will bring it to a luthier little later.

October 28, 2013 at 09:44 PM ·

October 28, 2013 at 09:52 PM · At Darrett, just get a strange feeling the luthier will hold my violin, because he doesn't perform any job on the spot.

October 28, 2013 at 09:54 PM · But then maybe he will work on it right away, because he doesn't want more violins accumulating in his shop.

October 28, 2013 at 10:40 PM · I have to agree with Yinmui : luthiers in my area would not do it on the spot. They are backed up with work and you would have to leave it with them.

October 29, 2013 at 03:13 PM ·

October 29, 2013 at 05:22 PM · Not too long ago my new-ish violin got its first scratch. Nothing big, just a small little ding on the bottom. I just got a wolf SR that has an adjuster rod on it and the SR slipped giving it a small scratch. I thought oh well, its the first of many. Violins last a long time so im sure it will be okay and its story begins here. Theres still a small ding but the edges have smoothed over.

EDIT: @Krista - I was already thinking of these antenna caps that are the same thing but a smaller specific size. I just never got around to getting it since it was a one time thing (so far!).

October 29, 2013 at 07:20 PM · Slightly off topic, but I just wanted to let Nick (and anyone else) know that you can get a vacuum cap from the auto parts store to cover the adjuster bar on the Wolf rest to protect your violin's varnish from that rough end. The little yellow one is the perfect size.

October 29, 2013 at 08:06 PM · At Darrett - I have been taking my violin to this guy named David Herman who is in Bellmore. I will call him later and ask if he can do it right away when I bring violin in. If he won't, then I will take it somewhere else.

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