Stuck Endpin

August 8, 2015 at 04:38 AM · Hello,

I have purchased a violin a few months ago, and the luthier I bought it from (I no longer deal with him) I think was dishonest in certain things. i.e. he refused returns/trade and also his "$1000" violin was worth "$2500" in matter of weeks, the bridge he cut was not pleasant to play with, and the violin I ended up buying costed me a sum of money for a good set-up.

I have been going to a new luthier, and I am very happy with her quality of work, last time I saw her, I asked her to plane the fingerboard, fit a new nut, fit a new bridge, new (Wittner)tail-piece and new soundpost.

Currently I know for a fact that my pegs are not fitted properly, but it's not something I'll be looking into since my Wittner tail piece allows easy tuning.

One of the remarks that my new luthier made after working on my violin is that my endpin is stuck. It may be glued or just wedged in there somehow, she tried every method in the book to get it out and it was just stuck. I guess she tried every method without cracking the bottom block, and she did mention that the wedged/glued endpin may lead to bottom block breaking. I can only imagine what swelling/shrinking in the winter may do here in Canada.

I have a very competent carpenter friend, who can literally drill a hole into the center of the end pin then shave out the endpin from inside out.

I haven't yet resolved to the drilling method, but I'm curious, has anyone dealt with glued/stuck endpin in a violin?

Replies (26)

August 8, 2015 at 04:52 AM · All the time.

Why do you need to remove the end button? There really isn't anything that is user serviceable inside the violin.

Yes, you can drill it out, but if your "carpenter" friend does that, well, as your violin maker, I probably wouldn't want to see you again!

I don't hang doors, your carpenter friend shouldn't work on your violin.

If it is glued in, it was probably glued in because it was too loose, not too tight. Take it back to your luthier in the winter and try to remove it then. When it is humid and the block takes on moisture, the hole gets smaller and the pin gets larger. A self tightening joint, just like a Brumby Rocker!

August 8, 2015 at 06:23 AM · It may ruin the endpin but I use long nose pliers leveraged against the back(underneath the endpin) with the long ends either side of the endpin where the tail gut would normally go.

August 8, 2015 at 07:19 AM · 1. Why do you need to remove it anyway ? Leave it alone unless it has to come out for some reason.

2. Some idiot could have glued it in there with white glue ( yes, there are people who do that ! ) in which case it will probably have to be drilled out by a competent luthier. Attempts to lever it out could cause damage.

August 8, 2015 at 08:13 AM · I would not try to force it out!

Unless you have a really good reason for taking out the end pin, like it's been said already here, leave it alone. If it's been there all this time and hasn't caused any failure anywhere due to the change in seasons, chances are it won't hurt to stay where it is.

August 8, 2015 at 08:19 AM · Its not very easy if even possible to professionally fit a soundpost without removing the endpin and sighting through the hole, I thought he said he was going to get the soundpost replaced.

August 8, 2015 at 01:06 PM · The soundpost has already been replaced. I'm thinking of removing the endpin for three reasons:

1, I am actually concerned of weather change cracking the bottom block at some point.

2. In the past, with cheaper violins, I stuck an endpin fitted for one violin to another violin, the sound quality suffered a bit.

3. I CANNOT sleep well at night knowing that something is "wrong" with my most precious item in my room.

August 8, 2015 at 02:10 PM · Steven,

sorry to hear about your troubles.

If you happen to travel to Toronto, contact Quentin Playfair. I have trusted him with all my violin and viola repairs in past 9 years.

(send me a message and I will reply with his contact info)

He might have a creative idea how to remove the end-pin.

There is a better way to stay sleepless than to worry about your violin!


p.s. Name the luthier. I am getting sick and tired of poor service and zero accountability here in Canada. We are too kind and are being ripped-off because of silence.

August 8, 2015 at 02:38 PM · There really aren't that many luthiers in Ottawa. Go to Toronto or MontrĂ©al for specialty repairs.

August 8, 2015 at 07:04 PM · Very well, bad violin set up from whom I bought the violin from:

Carlo Loso

He worked on a bridge on my previous violin, it wasn't good, but I didn't know better, he rehaired my old bow, it wasn't good, the wedge keeping the hair by the frog came out within weeks. I really should've visited other luthiers but he was recommended by a cellist in the area. I was naive enough to buy my current violin from him.

Current Luthier(s):

Olivia Pelling, she worked on my "Campbell", I have to compliment her quality of work. I borrowed one of the Chinese workshop violin which was set up by her for a few days as well. It was easiest to play/best setup I've encountered to date.

David Doyle, he is currently restoring the nut for a new violin I invested in today. I picked it up for $50 this morning, a West Germany Stradivarius copy with metal saddle and alloy tail piece. Badly repaired neck, I carved/sanded down an old bridge to fit this one and the twang caused by the nut(lower than the fingerboard) bugged me. It will eventually become a surprise gift to a friend who I lended a $100 Palatino violin. This one sounds actually decent. Its sound is comparable or better than my "Campbell", it just cannot be set-up properly without neck reset which would cost me.

I have not asked Olivia specifically regarding the endpin replacement, but I will ask her about it in the winter. After my consultation with David, he recommended waiting until Winter for rib and endpin to shrink. I will stick with one luthier per violin.

I have been also recommended to visit Guy Harrison, I will do so eventually.

Also I will inform you that I lose sleep over anything that isn't "right".

August 8, 2015 at 10:05 PM · Guy Harrison is an award-winning maker. Try one of his violins once you have $18K in your bank. :)

August 8, 2015 at 10:06 PM · That's the main reason why I haven't reached him... I don't think I can afford his work. My car was $20K...

August 9, 2015 at 12:57 AM · Try this guy

August 9, 2015 at 10:30 PM · That method works perfectly for stuck end pins.

August 10, 2015 at 12:36 PM · Ugh, I can't bear to watch that, I don't care how crappy of a violin that might have been.

August 12, 2015 at 02:21 AM · Well, at least it's not YOUR violin being beaten...

Everytime I accidentally miss and frog hits the rib/edge, I cringe, and today, while working on a piece with pizzicato, I left a scar next to the treble f hole with the bow button(It's a new bow, It's got sharp corners!).

I'm quite upset with myself... With a Century's worth of scars and dents, I have so far contributed 1 scar and 3 dents to my violin.

It's funny that with my old violin or VSO, I didn't leave a single scratch or dent...

August 12, 2015 at 03:00 AM · "My car was $20K..."

Had you bought a $2000 car you'd have $18,000 left over for that Harrison violin.

A few options for your end pin:

1. leave it alone

2. ask a qualified luthier to free it

3. clamp up your violin in a vice and drill out the end pin with a Forstner bit that is just barely smaller than the diameter of the hole and remove the rest with a sharp knife.

August 12, 2015 at 03:27 AM · Had I bought a $2K car, I would've had a break-down on my way to Harrison's workshop...(I remember a friend spending $4K on his car, and spent the half of his salary fixing it until he's had enough.)

I've decided after a good thought, I'm going to leave the endpin until this winter at the earliest then go for Option 2.

There is also a possibility that I may request trade-in and make another step-up, because I am noticing that I feel quite confined on this violin. I have hit most of the learning curve this summer and I've found out that I will have a small sum of money that I can dedicate to this hobby(Without this hobby, I may go insane). I have a relatively more time at the end of the month, I'm hoping to try out some violins in the $1000~$2000 range then make a decision in September when I have collected the sum.

I'm quite happy with the sound of my "Campbell", it's just the dimensions make it not easiest to play. I've borrowed a Chinese workshop violin for a few days and it was possibly the easiest to play, just sounded rough in my ears.

August 13, 2015 at 05:58 AM · >> 1. leave it alone

>> 2. ask a qualified luthier to free it

>> 3. clamp up your violin in a vice and drill out the end pin with a Forstner bit that is just barely smaller than the diameter of the hole and remove the rest with a sharp knife.

Argh! No, please, make it stop! First a violin smashed with a hammer, then the mental image of one being clamped down in a vice and drilled into! It's too much, I can't take it! I'll do anything you want, just stop mistreating instruments! ;)

August 13, 2015 at 12:35 PM · Well, in the spirit of the daft "advice" being given, how's this?

First, read these instructions:

1 Prize off the violin's lid - sorry, the front - with a flat-end screw driver or chisel (it may help to take the strings off first, but not essential).

2 You should see the inner bit of the end pin poking through into the body of the violin. Take a medium sized hammer and give said inner bit of the end pin a smart wallop so as to drive it out of the bottom of the violin (if it's glued in that won't work so you'll need a bigger hammer).

When you have read and considered the above instructions, sit down, have a mug of your favorite beverage, or stronger, and then take the violin to your luthier, who will have the right tools and skills to do a proper job.

August 13, 2015 at 12:40 PM · The thing about DIY on your violin is that one does sometimes need to consider whether to spend $200 on luthier services for a $500 violin that one doesn't even like that much. A $500 violin, frankly, sounds like a good medium for learning how to do a few things on one's own. I've thought about buying a few eBay VSOs just so that I can practice moving the soundpost around or seeing if I can take them apart and put them back together. Violins are property.

August 13, 2015 at 02:33 PM · "Violins are property." You may own a cheap violin; however, you are merely the steward, the custodian of a good violin--wise to keep that in mind; with fine instruments history and community are involved.

August 14, 2015 at 11:34 PM · There's quite a gulf between "cheap violins" and historical treasures. But no, the kind of DIY I'm talking about here is for the under-$1000 kind of instrument.

August 15, 2015 at 12:12 AM · I wish I could call ~$1000 violins DIY projects, my DIY project is $50, I leave my ~$800 in professionals' hands.

August 15, 2015 at 05:52 AM · That's an odd attitude I noticed on what concerns violins (and some violinists):

"Oh it's just a $1000 violin."

Seems that if a violin is worth less than $10000 they get no love. Less than $1000 and they might as well be firewood.

I've always advocated in favor of affordable instruments. There are good affordable ones out there!

August 15, 2015 at 07:17 AM · If one is to believe that Yitamusic makes decent violins (its so-called Best Model ones), then one can have a decent violin for less than $150+shipping if one lucks out on Yitamusic's Ebay auction.

One of its Best Model Strad copy under my watch has just sold for $126.50 + $58.99 USD.

August 16, 2015 at 10:28 PM · It's just a matter of proportion. If a $1000 violin needs $700 worth of work, you've got some thinking to do. And I proposed $1000 as the *maximum* of the DIY range.

Get Dalton Potter's kitchen table violin repairs book. That'll tell you what you can do yourself on pretty much any violin.

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