Viohazards

September 29, 2015 at 04:02 AM · Recently I brought my violin to my office and took it out for tuning, forgetting the fact that my desk has an overhang bookshelf. I knocked the scroll, and I freaked!

Not only that, all the strings came out of tune! I panicked even more and inspected the violin slowly and I've been able to re-tune it. Thankfully, no damage other than small dent on the varnish at the scroll.

Only a week before that, I also smacked the side of the scroll to my sheet music stand while being carried away.

With my previous violin,Campbell, it had an unusually low fingerboard projection, so I always "frogged" the rib on the treble side.

I find it a little bit ironic that not only do each violin has its own character, it also has favorite spot that gets damaged.

So what are some of your home-made viohazards?

Mine are:

-Office desk

-Music stand

-Bow, bow, and bow

-Unfortunately, me.

Replies (31)

September 29, 2015 at 05:47 AM · Hello,

whenever you are holding the violin you have to condition your brain that you don't get very near solid objects.

In the beginning I used to bang the projection of my case on any door I used to enter, Now I have a mental note in my brain to be careful.

The good thing about all this is that the violin box is a sound magnifier so when you hit it the banging noise comes out louder than the damage you think you have inflicted on it on account of the sound it makes.

September 29, 2015 at 06:46 AM · My music stand is responsible for two of the three nicks on my violin but I don't obsess over it. Even though I paid a lot of money for it, it's still just an instrument, a tool if you will. These things need to be used, not guarded like oil paintings.

Okay, okay I confess if I had a Strad I would probably only practice in a large empty room with the walls covered in foam.

September 29, 2015 at 01:52 PM · 1. Violin case - the quality, sequence of opening and closing it and where do you place it.

2. Your non-strings musician friends - we love playing with them, but they do not have the same perception of personal space (violin + bow) as we do.

3. Animals & children.... for all kinds of reasons.

September 29, 2015 at 08:57 PM · Lost in thought, playing through some concerto I do not remember years ago, down bow right onto the edge of the violin and took off a chunk of it in the process. Only thing I can think of.

September 29, 2015 at 09:45 PM · If a cat finds an open (and empty) violin case it will go to sleep in it.

September 29, 2015 at 11:45 PM · Also, the Baroque bow. I forget how shorter it is, Carl Flesch teaches in his Art of Violin playing, which part of the bow to use for playing.

I've adapted quite well into it, power and multi-stops at the tip, detache in middle, and staccato near the frog.

With my Baroque bow, I had it caught between the strings a few times, and stabbed the bridge with its sharp tip a few times. Worst is fortissimo triple stop(Strong upbow) followed by down bow staccato. I managed to miss so horribly, I had the tip stuck in between the string and the fingerboard and the tip made it all the way to my left hand in third position then I dropped the bow. For a moment, I thought I must've snapped the bow in half, thankfully no damage the the violin from it yet(other than bridge being poked).

September 29, 2015 at 11:49 PM · Uuhm I never dinged or scratched or bumped mine in any way. Hazards are everywhere, though, so I watch for them with the zeal of someone with OCD!

Even though my main one has some repaired scuffs and scratches from whomever owned it before me, I'm pretty sure I'll be pretty mad at myself if I ever scratch/ding/scruff it.

September 30, 2015 at 12:08 AM · I actually snapped a bow in half before, when I was in a hurry getting ready for a recital and accidentally lunged it at the case :). I super glued it back together, and it was never the same(this was a long time ago!). I still have this bow as a spare.

Also, it's pretty easy to knick the side of your violin sometimes, when you're playing aggressively near the frog on the e string, so you gonna be careful about that as well.

September 30, 2015 at 12:33 AM · I had a double case with a weak latch. ONCE I forgot to zip the cover, and spilled violin and viola onto the sidewalk. Nearly died. Instruments undamaged--not even untuned--save for a small nick in the viola varnish--it had the farther to fall. A friend made an enormous embroidered label "ZIP!" which was glued onto the case cover till I was able to replace the case.

September 30, 2015 at 01:31 AM · When I was a kid I lopped a chunk off of one of the C-bout corners off on a particularly vigorous up-bow. My dad fixed it really nicely complete with purfling and matched varnish.

Marjory, XYZ!!

September 30, 2015 at 03:19 AM · Trevor,

and if a bear finds an open (and empty) cello case....

September 30, 2015 at 05:20 AM · I'm usually more worried about other people than myself damaging my violin, though. Case and point...

Airline smashes Colorado orchestral musician’s double bass

September 30, 2015 at 03:16 PM · I nicked some varnish on sides with overly vigorous practice of chords in Chaconne.

September 30, 2015 at 04:34 PM · Forgot to properly latch my bow in the spinners, closed the case, and as I was carrying my precious instrument to a gig, the bow fell onto the top plate and the frog scratched it, rather badly. The blanket didn't help. Being somewhat absent-minded, I have committed this mistake more than once. I now own a Negri Milano case which absolutely prevents dumb accidents like this -- the compartment for accessories is cleverly placed at the right-hand end of the case, so the bow can't come in contact with the fiddle if it gets ever gets loose.

October 1, 2015 at 04:43 AM · Parker,

it happened to me a number of times also, while the violin was being transported to rehearsal. Nothing happened to the top of the violin as the blanket prevented any scratches.

I own three different models of Musafia cases and it happened on all three. I don't know if the Musafia company put any thought into that when they chose the materials for their blankets or the bow spinners.

This has to be answered by Mr Musafia himself.

October 1, 2015 at 05:28 PM · Yes it's very annoying. Glad you had no damage, Kypros. The cheap case I was using probably contributed to the problem -- if the blanket had had some way of securing it from sliding around in the case, say with velcro, the damage would have been avoided. My Negri case has this useful feature. I'm thinking of also getting a dart-shaped Mustafa case for for travel abroad, as I'm tired of lugging around a heavy oblong case. Maybe Dimitri will have a solution.

October 2, 2015 at 04:59 AM · Dear Parker,

I am the custodian of an excellent old French violin, in perfect state of preservation. As such it's my duty to keep it in the same state for as long as I have it in my possession. Deciding back in 1993 which case to buy for it was not an easy matter. I went everywhere in London asking players and shops what they would recommend. The deciding factor to buy a Musafia was not on account of its good looks but how it would protect the instrument. I bought the master series which at the time was top of the line. That case went everywhere around the globe and it protected the violin admirably despite the many accidents one is bound to have along the way and I had more than my fair share of them. Had I skimped on the protective quality on the first case I don't really know in which preservation state my violin would be now.

Last year I wanted to replace it with something newer. I bought another Musafia top of the line again knowing that my violin is protected in a better way than ever, as this case has all the protection features that the original didn't have as options.

I sold the first case to a friend for the same money I bought it back in 1993.

October 2, 2015 at 02:01 PM · That was a good decision! Top rule for Viohazards: get the best case you can afford, and give your violin the protection it deserves. The violin I carelessly scratched up is a lovely old German workshop fiddle from the 19th century -- a beautiful sounding instrument, sentimentally but not commercially very valuable. I should have given it a better case. My main instrument now is an excellent contemporary violin (Guy Harrison 2011), for which I bought the Negri oblong case as its principal residence. I now want a lighter dart-shaped case for airline travel. Any suggestions?

October 2, 2015 at 10:56 PM · On the violinmaking end of the Viohazard realm, I once cut my hand rather seriously on a razor-sharp woodcutting tool. Grabbed a paper towel, but that wasn't nearly enough to cope with the blood flow. Decided to go to the next room to get a bucket. Slipped on the blood on the floor, and went down, hitting my head on the floor hard enough to almost lose consciousness. A little harder, and that could have been the end right there, bleeding out, unconscious on the floor. LOL

October 2, 2015 at 11:13 PM · Yikes! So glad you're still with us!

October 2, 2015 at 11:16 PM ·

October 2, 2015 at 11:19 PM · Maybe that's what helped you become a great violin maker.

October 3, 2015 at 01:46 AM · Yikes Dave,

that sounds more like a viostrophe than a viohazard. I've had a carving accident, while carving a chess piece, I got distracted by a colleague and almost cut my left thumb off with a 7" razor sharp skinning knife(only knife I had with me at the time). Quite a bit of stitches and a month to heal the broken artery and tendons never healed just right.

I'm glad that you're still with us.

October 6, 2015 at 04:57 PM · My violin is 108 years old. It came with a cacophony of nicks and scratches that testify to it's playing history. Personally, I think it's part of its charm

October 6, 2015 at 07:57 PM · Parker and Steven, I should probably wear one of those

"Help, I've fallen and I can't get up" emergency devices. I've heard that the latest ones will detect a fall, even if the person has been incapacitated to the point that they can't push the button.

Kypros, I don't think anyone would even entertain getting into my business, without a few substantial knocks on the head. ;-)

October 6, 2015 at 08:09 PM · Stradivarius had a similar experience and, while still on the floor, an angel descended from heaven and whispered the secret of violin making!

The rest is history.

October 6, 2015 at 08:22 PM · David; that is quite the accident!

So glad you lived to tell!

:D

October 6, 2015 at 08:48 PM · Don't be so hasty. It often works out quite well financially for existing owners when the maker kicks the bucket.

And don't get any ideas. I have two ferocious guard kitty-cats. Sure, they'll befriend almost any stranger and rub up against them seductively, but that's just the setup for the kill. Or so I like to think. ;-)

October 7, 2015 at 02:48 PM · If I'm ever in the neighbourhood...I can pop by and test your security system.

*note to self...bring a can of tuna...

October 10, 2015 at 09:07 PM · Yuck,

after a detailed cleaning and inspection today, there seems to be a crack on the bone on the tip of my best bow. The crack is on the side, it doesn't seem to affect my playing, but I guess this should be expected considering that the bow has survived a LOT of poking concrete walls in a hallway in my basement.

October 22, 2015 at 03:14 AM · Has anyone had this happen yet?

This tiny hallway in my basement parking lot where I play all the time, the light bulb on the ceiling blew up while I was playing a piece at high position on E string. It always flickers when I play high pitch, but this time, I was too into it to pause. Thankfully I leaned forward just in time, it wasn't fun getting the glass out of my hair, hoping my violin isn't hurt, in pitch black.

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