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Violin conditioning

Chief Chaos 13 Dec 05 - 01:41 PM
GLoux 13 Dec 05 - 01:59 PM
Pauline L 14 Dec 05 - 02:36 AM
treewind 14 Dec 05 - 03:59 AM
fiddler 14 Dec 05 - 05:49 AM
Chief Chaos 14 Dec 05 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,leeneia 14 Dec 05 - 10:41 AM
mooman 14 Dec 05 - 10:53 AM
jeffp 14 Dec 05 - 11:13 AM
JohnInKansas 14 Dec 05 - 11:19 AM
GLoux 14 Dec 05 - 12:01 PM
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Subject: Violin conditioning
From: Chief Chaos
Date: 13 Dec 05 - 01:41 PM

I wanted to call this "Old Violin" but then I realized that some are much, much older than others, anyway...

I just received an "old" violin created between 1940-1950.
I don't care about it's value, I just want to know if anything can be done to ensure that it is able to be strung and played without damaging it. It has been stored in it's case for at least 30 years and I'm pretty sure not under the optimal conditions. I'd take it to someone for an evaluation but around here all they want to do is sell you a new one. It might be "junk" but it was my wife's grandmothers and has greater value than anythin on their shelves.

Thanks for any help!


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Subject: RE: Violin conditioning
From: GLoux
Date: 13 Dec 05 - 01:59 PM

Where is "here" ???


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Subject: RE: Violin conditioning
From: Pauline L
Date: 14 Dec 05 - 02:36 AM

We certainly can't assess the violin without seeing it. Take it to a good luthier and ask whether it's worth repairing. If not, you can hang it on the wall and enjoy looking at it.


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Subject: RE: Violin conditioning
From: treewind
Date: 14 Dec 05 - 03:59 AM

Unless it's very obviously weak, (like damp/rotten, big cracks, joints coming unglued etc) it should be fine. Make sure the sound post is in place - they can fall out when the strings are off. Also look down the fingerboard from the scroll end and make sure it is central and not warped. If it's not perfectly straight it may not play so well but it will be usable.
If you're really nervous about it, wind your new strings up to a bit less than full tension and keep an eye on it for a day before tuning to concert pitch.

There's not much that can go wrong, and there's not much that can't be repaired either.

Then - play it lots! The tone will improve...

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Violin conditioning
From: fiddler
Date: 14 Dec 05 - 05:49 AM

I'm with Treewind on this one.

If the soundpost is in, if there are no obvious flaws (big cracks etc.) and ungluing then string it and play it lots.

I have a £1K value fiddle with a warped neck and fingerboard that sounds good. It has volume but not so hot on the tone. I used to play it for Morris but now my nephew plays it in a school orchestra.

String it - carefully - play it.

Make sure the bridge is well fitted and positioned correctly, this cna ruin tone, hopefully if it has been used there will be feet marks so it is just a case of fitting. If you need advice give me a pm or find a competent luthier - they will usually help on things like this for free (but not always)

And yes where is here?

Andy


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Subject: RE: Violin conditioning
From: Chief Chaos
Date: 14 Dec 05 - 10:33 AM

Here is Washington D.C.

Shops tend to be mass consumption / biggest / newest / best types.
It helps to think of it like your driving a decent VW bug and the dealer want's you to junk it and buy the latest Porsche.

The violin was left strung and under tension. It's not much to look at (although her bow is beautiful). It doesn't seem to be warped (just my playing ability). One of it's pegs is slipping (that I know how to cure).

I knew a good Luthier just a little ways north (in an old mill with antiques shops). Can anyone suggest one closer to the Fairfax area?

I know you can't really examine it without seeing it /holding it. I appreciate all the responses so far. Actually I think the wife would rather see it on the wall than live through the screeches and squonks of me learning to play it.


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Subject: RE: Violin conditioning
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 14 Dec 05 - 10:41 AM

Is it dried out? Given that most American homes have heat in the winter and a/c in the summer, it probably is. What can you do to restore moisture to the wood? Gently and gradually?

As for the wife, practice when she's not around or can't hear.

However, it has been noticed before that mothers seem to have infinite patience for listening to their children practice. I bet the same thing is true for wives.


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Subject: RE: Violin conditioning
From: mooman
Date: 14 Dec 05 - 10:53 AM

I'm not so sure about wives with husbands practising the fiddle leeneia!

My guess (without seeing it) is that it may well be alright if it was left under tension for 30 years and it is still intact. Even in its case there will have been natural swelling and shrinking in response to humidity changes. It is possible that glue joints could have been weakened by this process (if there were severe changes in humidity or temperature) or that the soundpost has fallen out but having first checked that the best policy is to give it a try. It certainly doesn't sound as if there is anything that can't be fixed.

Peace and good practising!

moo


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Subject: RE: Violin conditioning
From: jeffp
Date: 14 Dec 05 - 11:13 AM

It's not Fairfax County, but I've dealt with Gailes Violin Shop in College Park. They might be able to refer you to someone closer. They are a family business and very friendly. Not snotty at all. Their phone number is 301-474-4300. They're on Rhode Island Avenue. Web site here: http://www.gailesviolin.com/


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Subject: RE: Violin conditioning
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 14 Dec 05 - 11:19 AM

If you decide to take it to a good fiddle shop for examination, don't forget to take the bow and get an opinion on it.

The 1940-1950 era is a bit late for the good finds, but before good pernambuco became difficult to get, lots of bows of quality rare today - except at rather high prices - were sold at fairly modest cost. The bow may have greater monetary value now than the violin. (But don't take a mortgage on it until you've checked it out.)

Better quality pernambuco is available now than was common a few years ago, thanks to the "Pernambuco Mafia" that has very carefully, and apparently successfully, instituted preservation and recovery controls that are a rare bright spot in ecological policy. But I doubt that prices will go down for good bows.

John


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Subject: RE: Violin conditioning
From: GLoux
Date: 14 Dec 05 - 12:01 PM

Chief Chaos,

I can't give a personal recommendation to any of these but using Google's Local, I searched on

Violins near Fairfax, VA, and got:


Gary Frisch Violins
3008 Westcott St, Falls Church, VA
(703) 533-5883

Brobst Violin Shop
5584 General Washington Dr, Alexandria, VA
(703) 256-0566

Alexandria Music Company
1502 Belle View Blvd, Alexandria, VA
(703) 660-6025

Violin Gallery
2601 30th St NW, Washington, DC
(202) 332-7460

Weaver's Violin Shop
4706 Highland Ave, Bethesda, MD
(301) 654-2239

Potter Violin Company The
4706 Highland Ave, Bethesda, MD
(301) 652-7070

Violins of Lafayette
10 4th St NE, Washington, DC
(202) 546-9332

Shifrin's Violin Studio
10105 Wildwood Rd, Kensington, MD
(301) 564-3034

Dale Music Co Inc
8240 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD
(301) 589-1459

Yanfu Tong Violin Shop
966 Hungerford Dr # 6A, Rockville, MD
(301) 762-8115

-Greg


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