Advise for revenge needed

December 21, 2016 at 07:35 PM · So a few days ago I went out of town to help a friend settle in a new apartment, I left my violin at home since I was not going to be gone long. Anyway, my brother decided to use my violin for a gig and nucleated to tell me about it. To make a long story short he snapped three of the four strings and broke my bridge doing god knows what. He is a professional musician so I was very shocked to come home and find my violin in this state. I have since replaced and had my violin checked up on, but I still feel that I need to repay my brother for his "kindness." What do you all think I should do? I am leaning heavily on pawning his viola as a joke since he is strapped for cash and wouldn't be able to buy it back. Though that seems a bit crule.

Replies (43)

December 21, 2016 at 08:35 PM · I'd just make him pay for your new strings and bridge...

December 21, 2016 at 08:37 PM · Since he's a violists - retune his instrument. :)

December 21, 2016 at 08:37 PM · Revenge isn't all its cracked up to be. It won't make you feel better and you could do a lot of long-term damage to your relationship. I'd ask him to pay for the strings and repair costs; plan on not letting him have access to your fiddle in the future and then just move on.

December 21, 2016 at 08:44 PM · Take the removable parts off the viola and hide throughout the house- pegs, strings, bridge, chinrest, etc. Won't do permanent damage, yet incredibly annoying!

December 21, 2016 at 09:00 PM · Would a violist notice?

December 21, 2016 at 09:25 PM · To the kind people worried about our relationship, this is our relationship, one wrongs the other and the other plays a prank. Basically the life of a house full of brothers, and I will never ask him for money or anything along those lines. Honestly I am just going to pull a prank on him and then were even till something else comes along. To JB I like your idea and will no proceed to do that to his practice viola.

December 21, 2016 at 09:26 PM · Mrs. Smith I wil retune his, well I call it his professional viola, (just a very expensive viola that he uses for concerts and the like.)

December 21, 2016 at 09:27 PM · Although the creative ideas for vendetta are limitless, I'd say: count your blessings and move on.

Make sure to let him know that there are boundaries when it comes to respect of your instrument.

December 21, 2016 at 09:30 PM · Hiya Mr. Milankov long time no see, and I apologize for the malevolent feeling of this post but, this is pretty much my brothers and mine relationship. I won't lie I was mad that he did that to my violin but I won't hold it over his head for ever, just one crazy prank and then we are even.

December 21, 2016 at 09:40 PM · Julio:

Look at it this way. Every minute - every second - that you give to thinking about your brother (or anyone else you are angry at) is THAT MINUTE OR THAT SECOND ROBBED FROM THINKING ABOUT YOUR GOALS AND YOUR FUTURE. You are, in effect, giving him free consulting time, and you're not even getting paid for it. That's what anger and feelings of needing to get even will do to you. You're robbing valuable time, energy, intelligence, creativity, and passion from your own goals and your own life.

Is it really worth it?

Hope that helps.


December 21, 2016 at 11:21 PM · Julio, how old are you? I ask as I need a context for your situation. It is normal to feel anger when you are the victim of a malevolent act. But the consequences of property damage are technically in the hands of the law, which may impose a fine and/or a short jail sentence. I hate to be realistic: you have not been the victim of "kindness" or a prank; property damage is a crime. Hopefully your brothers wlll find a way to live in peace and love.

December 21, 2016 at 11:41 PM · Agree with Sander 1000% but easier said than done. Human beings are pathetic; I am including myself in that pool. We spend so much time and energy pondering completely unproductive thoughts. If we just harnessed 1% of that wasted energy and put it into doing good, we would solve the world's problems.

December 22, 2016 at 12:52 AM · Here's what I really want to know: how do you break three strings and the bridge? Seriously.

December 22, 2016 at 01:34 AM · Best option: Let it go.

Second best: Make him pay for what he did, literally. I don't know how much you had to spend to get a new bridge, plus the strings, but I'd hope he will not let you pay for repairs all alone.

December 22, 2016 at 01:50 AM · If I were to play a prank it'd probably just be something stupid and harmless. I do not advise acting out of revenge though. It would honestly be best to just move on. From what you've said, it sounds like whatever he did has been fixed so I don't see the point in staying upset over it.

December 22, 2016 at 02:03 AM · lol. Last time I met a Cervantes was while reading "Don Quixote"!

December 22, 2016 at 02:07 AM · "To make a long story short he snapped three of the four strings and broke my bridge doing god knows what. He is a professional musician so I was very shocked to come home and find my violin in this state."

I hope this is a story and didn't really happen. If it did happen, then I do not believe either your brother or you are professional musicians. Breaking a bridge is a really, really big deal and not remotely funny. My suggestion is that both of you find more productive ways to entertain yourselves.

Rocky--I once had a viola student whose last name was Cervantes. :-)

Editing to add that if any of my private students ever treated an instrument, their own or someone else's, with such disrespect, I would not continue to teach that student.

December 22, 2016 at 03:47 AM · Fantasizing about revenge can be fun. Acting it out is a whole 'nother matter.

"Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord..... Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Simple as that, we're relieved from the burden of taking out revenge ourselves, and can put our efforts toward more productive things. It's a rather archaic way of saying it, compared to the more practical and contemporary way Smilie and Sander put it, but different ways of expressing things work for different people, so I thought I'd throw that out there..

December 22, 2016 at 04:12 AM · Forgive him. Just forgive him.

December 22, 2016 at 04:36 AM · For a harmless prank, I would say if his viola chinrest is ebony, you can cover it with a thin coat of boot polish.

I have a brother who had sticky fingers. Sometimes I left contact-adhesives on some of the things that I own, and boot polish on things that are black, just to rule out "I didn't touch your stuff" response. He kind of couldn't say that when he had my old computer game CD case glued to his hand, or trying for hours to get the boot polish with his fingerprints off of the things he touched.

I also read something about rubbing soap on the strings.

December 22, 2016 at 05:26 AM · ^^^^^^^ OMG please do not do either of these things.

December 22, 2016 at 07:52 AM · I am shocked that an allegedly professional musician would treat a musical instrument like that (on purpose?). I am shocked that anyone would do that, with so little respect for another person's property. To shrug it off with "This is how my brother and I treat each other" is no justification for this sort of vandalism.

To resort to revenge doesn't resolve any of this. In the spirit of the holiday season, maybe you two should have a serious talk to redefine the boundaries of this very special "malevolent" (as you put it) relationship of yours. Like grown-ups. There is good fun and pranks and banter, but damaging things on purpose is neither of that.

December 22, 2016 at 11:32 AM · Was it actually your brother who caused the damage, or someone else messing around?

December 22, 2016 at 01:13 PM · I understand your post and your brother. Fill his viola with rice. Cooked or uncooked,,well you be the judge.

December 22, 2016 at 01:22 PM · Some friends of mine were fed up with bass-player using his bass as an ashtray, so they slipped a slice of ham through the f-hole.

After the concert tour was over..

December 22, 2016 at 01:24 PM · I'd say...several rolls of duct tape around his viola case would be amusing.


December 22, 2016 at 01:30 PM · The joy of revenge may be intense, but it is short-lived, the results never end and are never good.

When you think about it you realize that revenge is a passive-aggressive (and kind of chicken) thing to do. It is better to find a more assertive approach and get it out in the open. I'd present the bill for repairs and demand payment -however long it takes.

December 22, 2016 at 01:34 PM · I'd go for more passive revenge...

A really good case lock, or a safe for your violin.

December 22, 2016 at 03:20 PM · Make him play Paganini's Moses Fantasy on the C string of his viola... with no chin rest or shoulder rest. :D

He might even get better as a result/ switch to violin (wait, those two things aren't the same? Really?!) :)

December 22, 2016 at 03:49 PM · Right, what Mary Ellen said.

I'm not convinced this is real. Sorry, but no "professional musician" would trash a violin like that, not to mention the logistics of how it would have even happened. Most especially at a gig. What?

The only time I have ever seen such catastrophic damage to an instrument was to my own, when a student's parent most unfortunately let their large dog back in from the outside without telling me, and I had set the violin down in a place I wouldn't have if I'd known the dog was coming. The big, dopey dog was very excited to see me, jumped up to say hello and came crashing down straight onto the violin. It broke cleanly at the neck, and the fingerboard came off as well. Fortunately, my husband (he wasn't at the time) was able to put it back together, but it was traumatic for everyone involved. And it definitely wasn't at a gig.

December 22, 2016 at 04:10 PM · "this is our relationship, one wrongs the other and the other plays a prank"

Okay, so my question is.... what did you do to him?

Not trying to judge you, but aren't you concerned that sort of relationship could spiral out of control and go too far? It kind of sounds to me that's what already taken place with three broken strings and a busted bridge.

December 22, 2016 at 04:34 PM ·

December 22, 2016 at 06:08 PM · Isn't this why we have lawyers and prisons?

December 22, 2016 at 07:55 PM · I tried to send the dog to prison, but the case was dropped. :(

December 23, 2016 at 04:47 PM · Napoleon said, "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."

I once got "accidental" revenge from someone I played some Beethoven for. He applauded, and then said, "That was beautiful. Which piece by Schoenberg was that?"

Happy holidays.


December 23, 2016 at 06:31 PM · You could kidnap one of his violas and leave a note (written by someone else, preferably with a bit of an Italian ring to it) demanding a ransom (= cost of strings + bridge, but you don't say that) to be delivered to a certain place ...

December 24, 2016 at 09:21 PM · If you have the time, just reverse the strings (E goes where G was). also reverse the pegs (E peg goes where A peg was). No harm done and the person correcting this situation might find it either exasperating or a challenge.

December 25, 2016 at 12:58 AM · Ooh, do what Ted says, except also turn the pegs backward.

December 25, 2016 at 03:39 AM · If you decide to take "revenge" (which I really don't recommend), please please please keep the instruments out of it!

December 26, 2016 at 01:11 AM · Just do as I suggested and de-tune a string. And then leave a note saying something to the effect of "I will tell you what string I de-tuned for $xxxx" (the cost of the repairs). No harm, no foul, tongue in cheek, a slap on the wrist, and a written request to pay for the cost of the repairs.

December 26, 2016 at 02:30 AM · Good advice Rebecca.

December 26, 2016 at 03:49 AM · Julio, when the bridge broke, did the fine tuner(s) cause considerable damage to the violin's top? I suggest you move on and raise your children better than your parents raised you and your bros. Nasty pranks and revenge don't go well with the art of music.

December 27, 2016 at 01:28 PM · Sometimes all that is needed for "revenge" is an elegantly and tastefully sarcastic reply that is worthy of repetition.

This reminds me of an anecdote (Actually, everything reminds me of an anecdote) about Brahms. He happened to be in the audience when a string quartet (or was it a quintet?) was playing one of his works. Afterwords, it was either the violist or one of the violinists who came up to him and started trying to butter him up. Brahms apparently hated this sort of thing. Finally, the musician said to Brahms, "Tell me, Maestro, did you like the tempo?" And Brahms replied, "Yes, especially yours."

:) ..... Happy New Year!!


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