Wood thinning out or wear spots on old violin?

Edited: August 6, 2019, 7:31 PM · Hi!
I have a German made violin that is circa 1900's - 1901 to be exact. Well, it seems to me as if the wood itself is looking thin on the areas where the violin touches my shoulder (I chucked my shoulder rest over 10 years ago) and also on the belly directly under the strings. ?? I'm quite concerned as she (my violin) is my darling girl and we have quite the history together.
I've googled until my eyes and mind could take no more, with no results or answers.
Has anyone else heard of this or have any experience regarding something like this? I'm incapacitated at the moment and at a total loss... and to be honest, it's driving me crazy with worry that the wood may get so thin that she may crack or develop a hole!
She is a lionness in her sound projection with a tone as relaxing and deep as warmed honey in hot tea (or a well made hot toddy!).
Any info/help would be greatly appreciated!!

Replies (6)

August 6, 2019, 10:25 PM · To be honest, it kind of sounds like you're just describing typical varnish wear, but photos would help.
Edited: August 6, 2019, 10:58 PM · If your shoulder managed to actually bore through the bottom plate of the instrument, it would have to be a world first. And after only ten years? You would be the Ben Lee of violin destruction!
August 7, 2019, 6:42 AM · Varnish and wood can certainly wear, but from your description, my guess would be that most of this is prior wear (or artificial aging undertaken when the violin was new) which you are just now noticing.
August 7, 2019, 1:10 PM · Did you perhaps replace your shoulder rest with a sandpaper sponge?
August 7, 2019, 3:24 PM · Maybe her shoulder is oozing hydrochloric acid like your hands, Cotton. Or was that someone else.
August 9, 2019, 3:29 PM · Brandy,

As Erik noted it is impossible to diagnose without a visual image. That being said, I also am guardian of what I call my Mitenwald Strad (there are thousands of them out there). It sounds like you have a good one. Unless the grain of the wood is separating, it is probably just that the varnish has worn off the wood. That can be re-varnished if it really - really bothers you.

These violins have been used (and abused) for well over a century and these instruments are still young with a long life ahead of them. They are a lot stronger and more durable than you would think.

Pay a visit to your local luthier and see what she says.

You are another person who treasures the violins from this period and area of production. There were some skilled craftsmen back then who made excellent copies of Strad's and other violins. Enjoy her singing and know that she will outlive you and sing for generations to come.


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