Old Violin
 

Old Violin

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Old Violin    22:05 on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes
(Suzzie)
One of my students brought a very old violin to their lesson today and they want to use it. I really like its sound, it`s very rich and full sounding, although a little muffled. I suggested that new strings might brighten it up somewhat. The pegs are the biggest problem, as they slip all the time. We are going to try using chalk dust to fix this problem. What other things should I check on their violin to make sure its completely playable? The only thing that I changed today was I adjusted the bridge, as it was quite crooked.

The bow with this violin is also very old, to the point of being antique. It looks very much to me like it needs to be rehaired, but no one around here will do that. It is straight and it works, except for a spot near the frog that slips. They are going to try puting more resin on it and we`ll see if that helps. I think it`s playable, but maybe they should just get a new bow?

There was also a pitch pipe in the case. It seems to work okay, but I have no idea how old it is. Does it matter? Is it likely that it`s still useable?

By the way, the violin is a Strad. copy, and it has the words "Little Grand" on the back of the scroll (if I remember correctly).

Thanks for your advice/comments!

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Re: Old Violin    15:54 on Friday, October 22, 2004 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes
(Nox)
"I suggested that new strings might brighten it up somewhat." Good idea. Start with Thomastik Dominants, the current industry standard. They can be changed down the road if they don`t suit...but at least you know you`re starting with good strings.
"The pegs are the biggest problem, as they slip all the time. We are going to try using chalk dust to fix this problem." If chalk doesn`t work try peg dope. If that doesn`t work - might need new pegs.

"What other things should I check on their violin to make sure its completely playable? The only thing that I changed today was I adjusted the bridge, as it was quite crooked." Is the bridge cut right? Otherwise the soundpost should be checked...but that needs someone with experience as very slight changes in position can result in very large changes in overall sound.

"The bow with this violin is also very old, to the point of being antique. It looks very much to me like it needs to be rehaired, but no one around here will do that. It is straight and it works, except for a spot near the frog that slips. They are going to try puting more resin on it and we`ll see if that helps. I think it`s playable, but maybe they should just get a new bow?" If there`s enough hair, I would wash the bow with mild dish detergent and warm water. Do this by loosening the hair as much as you`re comfortable with. Do NOT get water in either end of the bow, or the swelling of the wood plug can cause the bow to crack. After the bow is washed and rinsed well...and dried (tighten bow to dry...but do not over-tighten)...re-rosin as you would a new bow (lots!) and see how it goes. That`s your cheapest option. If that doesn`t work, I`d buy a new bow. Keep in mind a bow is just as important as the violin itself. A rule of thumb is to spend 1/3 or more of the purchase price of the violin on the bow. So a $300 violin should be paired with a $100 bow (this is NOT written in stone - just a guideline).

"There was also a pitch pipe in the case. It seems to work okay, but I have no idea how old it is. Does it matter? Is it likely that it`s still useable?" Yes. Pitch pipes loose their pitch very quickly. Get the student a chromatic tuner (easier to carry than a piano and faster than learning by ear...for the time being).

"By the way, the violin is a Strad. copy, and it has the words "Little Grand" on the back of the scroll (if I remember correctly)." Can`t help you there other than to say the majority of violins are likely Strad. copies...doesn`t mean much.



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Re: Old Violin    12:35 on Saturday, October 23, 2004 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes
(Suzzie)
Thanks, that`s very helpfull! I hadn`t thought of washing the hairs, it`s a good idea. I feel bad always asking them to buy things but, expecially for this violin, they do really need a tuner. The bridge looked alright to me. It was easy to play the strings anyway.

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Re: Old Violin    13:06 on Saturday, October 23, 2004 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes
(Nox)
I know it`s hard to keep buying supplies...I`m currently taking violin lessons and my 3 children are all taking lessons or in band...

...but if you don`t have the proper equipment/supplies you just can`t play in a rewarding fashion...

...this past year I`ve discovered just what a huge difference good equipment makes...LOL...I remain astounded...

   

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