How loose is too loose?

July 16, 2014 at 07:28 PM · I recently acquired a German violin, circa 1900. All appears in good order, but there is some play in the neck mortise. With moderate pressure, I can wiggle the neck to and fro a small amount. I'm not sure if I should attempt to force some hide glue in there, as there is very little wiggle room, or perhaps leave well enough alone. The button seems firmly attached. to glue or not???

Replies (21)

July 16, 2014 at 07:36 PM · Take it to a Luthier in your area and have them fix/stabilize it. Save the violin and do not potentially ruin it if it's in decent shape.

July 16, 2014 at 08:04 PM · I should see your luthier as soon as possible: it sounds as if the button is taking all the strain, and it may break...

July 16, 2014 at 10:56 PM · I strongly agree with the other two. This is not a DIY project. I know because I've redone too many of them. To be a little more specific, there is about a 90% chance that the neck does not quite fit the mortise. If that is not corrected the same thing is pretty sure to happen again, especially when you probably can't get enough hot hide glue into the joint.

July 17, 2014 at 05:15 AM · If you have to ask what you should do, you shouldn't do it!

Take it to a person who specializes in violin repair. Do not attempt to repair/stabilize it yourself.

July 18, 2014 at 02:04 PM · If this violin was crafted in China, there are many who would proclaim what crappy workmanship caused the neck to work loose, and uphold it as another example of slipshod craftsmanship.

But, since it's a turn of the century German, all is forgiven, and loose parts, etc are all part of the "charm" of owning a vintage workshop violin, no matter the cost.

See how that works?

Just saying...

July 18, 2014 at 04:11 PM · I miss the good old days when the violin maker just hammered a nail into the neck block and was done with it. Can't do that any more, I suppose :-)

July 18, 2014 at 08:50 PM · Seraphim,

I strongly disagree with your insinuation. I've never found this type problem in a Chinese fiddle. Of course, most of them were not very old. When I do find a loose neck it is usually a poorly fitted European, but I don't work on expensive stuff much so I can't generalize. I know you're being sarcastic, but I think it is misplaced.


Yes you can but you still have to fit the neck to the outside of the ribs and glue it. So it's not "just nailing it." I've seen screws used but they didn't solve the problems.

July 18, 2014 at 09:17 PM · Lyle, I think Seraphim might have been making a joke about... uhm.... well.... you-know-who, who tends to trash Chinese instruments and glorify German ones here. ;-)

July 19, 2014 at 11:37 AM · Me? Sarcastic?


OK, so maybe...

David caught my insinuation quite exactly.


July 19, 2014 at 09:02 PM · Right. Got momentarily distracted. I take it all back.

July 21, 2014 at 09:48 PM · I think my post works on two levels.

On one level, it's a sarcastic send up of our local China basher.

On another level it directly calls into question what exactly it is that violinists find so valuable about their violins of choice. Do we, as violinists crave a new, shiny, well put together Chinese violin?

Or, due to some unknown force of psychology feel the need to seek out old violins that the neck has perhaps come loose on, that causes us consternation, yet at the same time fulfills the burning desire for a violin that is "old", "vintage", and of course European.

A well crafted internet post is like that: multifaceted, seemingly shallow on the surface, yet if you ponder it for a while it blossoms forth with new depths of meaning that can broaden your horizons. Much as a haiku can seem a simple and silly little poem, yet upon further reflection it can lead one directly to enlightenment.

You may contemplate this concept at your leisure

July 21, 2014 at 11:19 PM · Evan,

Is this the violin that you have for sale here on the forum?

July 22, 2014 at 12:44 AM · no, the one with the slightly loose neck is a different one

July 22, 2014 at 01:54 PM · Wait a second... are you being sarcastic there?

I can't tell...

Blasted internet! Robbing me of the knowledge of perhaps a true compliment, or leaving me hanging with doubt about John's true meaning....


July 22, 2014 at 03:43 PM · "il n'y a pas de hors-texte"

Jacques Derrida

July 24, 2014 at 09:13 PM · The sad thing is that Seraphim has to listen to and play all these Chinese violins he speaks so highly of, it would drive me nuts!!

July 25, 2014 at 12:47 PM · It drove me nuts too.

I am now certifiably insane. Obviously, that's the only reason they sound in any way acceptable to my ear.

I can, however, confirm that NONE of the necks are wiggly and loose. No split seams, No cracked bellies "expertly" repaired. None of that type of Old World *ahem* "charm" with any of my violins. Getting that neck fixed will probably cost more than some of the violins I've purchased.

July 25, 2014 at 02:53 PM · At my shop the repair on question would be no more than $40. given that it can be simply reglued, that is.

July 25, 2014 at 03:00 PM · ;^)

Is that a tongue implanted in a cheek with a wink? Brilliant, a good sarcasm emoticon would be a boon to Mankind.

July 25, 2014 at 03:32 PM · 40 bucks?

That's pretty cheap.

However, I think we've already determined that cheap=bad, right?

Or is that only if the work is done by someone who is Chinese?

July 25, 2014 at 06:44 PM · considering its no more than 30 minutes work, maybe not cheap.....

I'm sure it took a lot more time and money to get you're chinese "violins" playable!!

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