Varnish repair old German violin

Edited: September 17, 2018, 1:00 PM · I have the opportunity to buy an old Saxon violin from around the turn of the 19th century. I heard about it through a friend who knows the woman selling it, who has arthritis and can sadly no longer play as seriously as she used to. I paid her a visit to look at the instrument and try it out.

I went in with an open mind, since so often it seems that people don't really know what they have, but I was pleasantly surprised. I played a bit with the bow she had on hand, which wasn't in great shape, as she'd given the better bow that she used regularly to the daughter of a friend. Still, the violin sounded lovely, was comfortable to play once I adjusted to the slightly shorter neck than I am used to on my contemporary instrument. Structurally, it is in good condition, save for a small open glue seam near the tail, which doesn't concern me, since the wood was in good shape. I've never met a violin of that age that hasn't had the hide glue reapplied.

The main thing that concerned me was the state of the varnish, which seemed to be in poor condition. I suspect that at some point, probably long ago, the violin was cleaned by a well-meaning person who didn't know what they were doing. Is this something that I should be worried about, and could it be professionally repaired without damaging the acoustic qualities of the violin? It is by no means an exceptionally valuable instrument, so I doubt that it would change the value all that much, but it sounded good and suits my purposes as an amateur player.

Replies (3)

September 17, 2018, 1:23 PM · "Is this something that I should be worried about[?]"

Not necessarily.


"could it be professionally repaired without damaging the acoustic qualities of the violin?"

Very likely yes it could!

Show us some pictures of it? :)

September 17, 2018, 1:25 PM · I would, but they're all on my home computer, and I'm writing this from my work laptop!
September 17, 2018, 9:16 PM · best to leave the varnish alone

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