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Another violin restoration
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SaraO
Michigan
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May 27, 2012 - 10:47 am
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Recently, my husband discovered an old violin in the depths of our garage. It belonged to my grandfather. There is no date on the label, but it was made in U.S. occupied Germany, so that would date it between about 1945 and 1955, correct? Considering it had been stored in various garages and basements between Michigan and Florida, for the last 35 yrs or so, I think it was in pretty great shape. After a quick polish, it looked like this.

 

It was only missing a few things. The chinrest was gone, the fine tuner was broken, the bridge needed replacing, and it needed some new strings. The pegs still fit and turn well. I was able to put it back together last night. I strung it with a spare set of Dominants I had lying around. It projects really well. The first thing my husband said was, "It's really loud." LOL. It plays and reacts really well, even in upper positons. I'm really excited about it. It may sound a bit nasal-like with the Dominants. I'm curious as to what it will sound like with Zyex strings.

 

My biggest concernIMG_5831.JPGImage EnlargerIMG_6052.JPGImage EnlargerIMG_6054.JPGImage Enlarger right now, is the angle of the tailpiece. I must have done something wrong, because the tailpiece is sitting at a severe angle, leaning toward the treble side of the instrument. Anyone know how to remedy this?

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TerryT
Coleshill, Warwickshire
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May 27, 2012 - 11:35 am
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Can't offer advice on the tailpiece, but it sure looks a gorgeous instrument!

I was born with nothing,
and to my surprise I still have most of it left!

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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May 27, 2012 - 11:43 am
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1) The strings are put in in the wrong direction. They should be put in from the top into the tailpiece and then over the ridge part of the tailpiece.

 

2) Move the chinrest over to the treble side so it is not touching the tailpiece.

 

3) Considering the picture is taken straight on, the bridge should be moved slightly over to the E string side.

 

4) It looks like the bridge needs to be shaped differently. Like the hieght of the E string is the same as the G string.

 

5) Rewind and rehair the bow, it might be a real good one. and the case should be also repaired. I love the old cases.

 

Does the label say West Germany or just Germany? Judgeing by the case I'm thinking it says West Germany.

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SaraO
Michigan
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May 27, 2012 - 11:58 am
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Thanks for the notes, Kevin.

Ah ha! The strings are in the tail piece incorrectly. I'll straighten that out right away.

The chinrest is not actually touching the tailpiece as it appears in the pic.

The bridge does need some further shaping, but it is not quite as evenly shaped as it appears in the picture. Yes, it is a bit off center.

I am considering getting the bow repaired.

There's a good chance this is not the original case for the instrument. Grandpa had at least a couple of violins. Several years ago we got rid of one that had been reduced to kindling. It was in an old wood "coffin" case.

The label reads:

Copy of Heinrich Theodor Haeberlein

Made in Germany U. S. Zone BKN

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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May 27, 2012 - 12:03 pm
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What a find that is. Your dating of it is right on.  Kind of a historic violin made right after the war.  I have several coffin cases.  I think there are the best ones.

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SaraO
Michigan
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May 27, 2012 - 12:10 pm
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Strings are back on correctly and the tailpiece is happy.

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Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
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May 27, 2012 - 3:47 pm
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That's a beautiful one! I like it. Maybe we have a chance to hear it?amuse

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SaraO
Michigan
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May 27, 2012 - 6:16 pm
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Sure. One of these days I'll put up a little sample.

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Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
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May 28, 2012 - 10:42 am
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oooo! Nice! Thank You. Will wait for it=)amuse

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
May 28, 2012 - 11:48 am
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Nice discovery. As far as the tailpiece goes, I think it's just because of that fine tuner on the E. It's quite high. If you put another type that brings the string lower to the tailpiece you will probably be just fine.
Also, tighten the tailpiece gut so that the tailpiece is closer to the back of the violin. My luthier used to say that it should rise before applying pressure to the strings. IOW, be so tight that the curve actually lifts it. You don't have to get it so tight but the sound will be better if you shorten that distance to get longer string lengths.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
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May 28, 2012 - 3:53 pm
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I think the tailpiece should be flush with the end of the violin, that will give the rise due to the radius on the end of it. Also, check to make sure your tail gut nut's are even.

Great discovery.   thumbs-up

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