effect of belly crack repairs on violin sound
I searched for this on the site but could find nothing. I know many of the luthiers here repair cracks on the violin table. What I wonder is what do their clients say about the effect on the sound of the violin after. Also, as the repairs become more extensive (my example: four cracks from the F hole to the button end and repair of a hole all on the treble side) and if there are effects does this depend on the extent of the repair?
If anyone would like to comment on the effect of this all on the value of a contemporary (~25 yr) old italian violin I'd also appreciate it.
If the crack repairs are done well, they should be impossible to detect by the untrained eye and have little to no noticeable effect on sound. I've seen a number of old instruments with dozens of cleats, crack repairs, patches, doubling, etc. If the restoration is executed correctly it is fine. However on a contemporary instrument, we don't like to see a bunch of repairs. On an old instrument, if the cracks are not critical, i.e. cracks on the back, sound post crack, etc, there is little to no effect on value. On a contemporary instrument, it can definitely have some effect on value, if anything it'll make it harder to sell.
Anthony, you're referring here to small cracks in the wood, yes? i.e. cracks that come from age and weather? As opposed to major cracks that come from an accident?
I agree with Anthony that "cracks"... ones that run along the wood grain... are common, not difficult to repair, and should not sound different from the pre-damaged instrument, assuming competent repair. The "hole" would be much more tricky to repair, require new wood to be spliced in, and any change in sound would likely depend on the size and location of the hole, as well as the skill of the restorer.
Properly done, there should be no effect on the sound of the instrument.
Re: "effect of this all on the value of a contemporary (~25 yr) old italian violin"
I foolishly left a violin worth about $1500 hanging on a stand in an orchestra class in school during a brief break in playing. The resulting fall when another student brushed against it created a split in the belly about 4" long. Amusingly, the instrument sounded better after a nicely done repair, and I doubt that the split affected its value at all. The accident did make me very conscientious about putting an instrument into its case and closing it any time I was not holding it.
I frown everytime I see someone doing this at orchestra rehearsal, which commonly happens.
@Marion, the improvement in tone after the repair was most probably due to a good re-setup by the repairer, which would have been necessary after that surgery.
A student in rehearsal only today put a chair leg through a violin another had carelessly left on the floor. I wonder how that will sound after repair :) (if I've got the energy).
Elise, the violin will probably sound different. Maybe worse, maybe better. Or the difference might be so slight that you don't notice it.
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.