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Are these hairlines or just woodgrains on my violin?
Please help me determine if my new violin has hairlines
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rheya
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February 25, 2015 - 10:49 pm
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Hello, I just got my new violin. It is lovely and I really like it. It's new but I have a prob with it. There are visible lines that just looks different from the other woodgrains that's on it. They look like hairlines. I looked online for comparisons butt there aren't a  lot.

I have been worrying because I noticed that they put some patches inside the violin along the back plate of the violin which was not mentioned in the description when I bought it. I contacted the seller and sent them photos of tthe lines and said thatt they are just deep wood grains. 

I've been looking at it over and over but they justt looks so wrong. Some of the lines were at the soundpost area and bridge, some from tailpiece that runs along up to the ttop plate, which is under tthe fretboard.

Some may look just like woodgrains but some are different and I took many photos. 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/93033794@N06/with/16441305417/

Please help me determine if these are hairlines. Thank you so much for your help.

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Uzi
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February 25, 2015 - 11:55 pm
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I'll let someone with better eyes than mine address this, but it would be helpful to have a little more information.  For example, you said "new" violin. When you say it is new, you are saying that your are its first owner right?  Where did you get it?  Does it have a brand name?  When you say "Patches", are you referring to the piece of wood that runs the length of the top plate on the bass side?  If so, that's the bass bar and it's supposed to be there.  On the other side, there should be a little post running from the back to the top a short distance behind the bridge.  That's supposed to be there too.  There shouldn't be anything else inside other than those two things. If there is let us know.  It's hard to tell from the pictures, but my first guess is it's just the grain of the wood.

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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rheya
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February 26, 2015 - 12:12 am
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Hello Uzi. Yes it is new. Unless it was returned back to them and sold it again. :) I got it from China, Liuxi workshop is the name that is inside of it. The little pacthes of woods inside  that is placed inside along the middle of tthe backplate is juts like these little square wood chips in the photo. https://fourstrings.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/violincleats11.jpg

I hope they're just wood grains but they don't disappear or anything like that when I shift the angle of the violin. Seems like they're also clean cuts. When I touch the varnish it's flat and seems flawless...maybe they repaired it back then..? It's just weird also that those grains seem darker, long and run along from the saddle area up to the fingerboard (under it).

Thank you so much for your opinion and help :)

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BillyG
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February 26, 2015 - 4:09 am
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Interesting....   can you by any chance get hold of a small (maybe dental) inspection mirror to see if any of these cleats are present on the underside of the top plate.   The presence of them already on the backplate, if I understand you correctly, immediately makes me suspicious that it was repaired somewhere along the line.....

From the pics themselves, it really is hard for me to say - but I do "get" what you're saying.

An instrument is something you want to care for and enjoy for a long time, if you are unhappy, or even just uncertain about it in any way - I would consider returning it for a refund.....  (that's maybe not a helpful suggestion when you are DESPERATE to start playing !)

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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micra
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February 26, 2015 - 8:30 am
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Regarding the patches of wood, that is not something I would expect or want to see in a new violin.  The other does look like wood grain to me, probably indicative of the quality of the wood and how it absorbed the varnish would be my guess.  

I think Bill is spot on.  You took a lot of pictures of this and that tells me it is bugging you a lot.  Don't let the seller talk you into thinking your concerns are of no consequence.  You want it to be love at first sight, if not sound ;)  Follow your heart in this!

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Uzi
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February 26, 2015 - 9:28 am
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I looked at your new photo. I would return it for a refund immediatly.

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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DanielB
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February 26, 2015 - 9:41 am
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"How does it sound?" would be the first thing I'd wonder before worrying about anything else.

The lines could be just darker lines in the grain that happened naturally or from where a stain was applied early in the finishing process and some parts of the grain took up more than others.  That could be intentional, depending on the maker, since some people feel that a bit more contrast makes the wood look a bit prettier.  

Wood often does have some little inconsistencies in the grain.  Wood is a natural material and has a degree of variance in even the finest boards.  Most folks like that look for acoustic instruments and that is why they'd prefer wood to some materials that can be perfectly uniform like metal or plastic.  Those inconsistencies are the individual features that make every piece of wood unique.  The closer and more you look at a piece of wood the more little quirks you are likely to notice in the grain.  That is part of the charm of pretty wood. 

They could also be where different pieces of wood were put together to make the top.  Not that unusual for a top to be made of 2 pieces of wood that are "book-end matched" to get a symmetrical grain pattern.  Usually it would be done with the grain lines closer down the center of the instrument for greater strength.  That is what at least the center line looks like to me.  Not necessarily a bad thing, unless  the instrument was advertised as having a one-piece top (and/or back, though I didn't see a pic showing the back).

I have seen some very long debates as to whether one piece is better than two.  One piece always costs more, since the amount of wood that is wide enough to make a one-piece plate with a good quality grain is always going to be a bit rarer than narrower pieces.  To some people, costing more always indicates that it must somehow be better.  But I have seen a lot of good sounding arguments for either option.  In the end, it depends on what you believe, what you like the looks of and what you are willing to spend the money for.

Some of the original Stradivarius violins have 2 or even 3 piece plates.  Not too many people would say that Stradivari didn't know what he was doing or made "junk"..

With the cleats, it isn't that unusual for two piece backs to have cleats down the centerline as some added insurance that the glue at the center won't come apart over time.  Some makers consider that a good standard practice, from what I understand.  Now if they are not at the center but off in some other area, then yeah, I'd wonder if the instrument had been repaired or if there was something about the wood that the maker was not entirely pleased with. 

Bottom line, I'd personally say that what matters most is how it sounds.  Is it comfortable to your hands, is the action reasonable?   With the appearance, well, to any listener at even a realistically close range, I'd say it will look lovely.  It is a very nice looking violin.

If the things you've noticed bother you though, well, maybe you can get the seller to give you a refund or exchange. 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Fiddlerman
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February 26, 2015 - 10:20 am
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I didn't want to say anything but I too believe that you are getting a violin with engineered wood and it's not acceptable except the two piece back normally. For the spruce top to be done that way I'm not sure you should be paying much for this. What was the cost if you don't mind me asking?
Next question is the sound. If you love the sound don't hesitate in keeping it because that really is the most important thing unless you are too bothered by the looks. Truth is if glued properly, two pieces of wood will be stronger at the connection than the grain itself. Unfortunately you can't know how it was glued. :(

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

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rheya
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February 26, 2015 - 2:11 pm
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Bill said
Interesting....   can you by any chance get hold of a small (maybe dental) inspection mirror to see if any of these cleats are present on the underside of the top plate.   The presence of them already on the backplate, if I understand you correctly, immediately makes me suspicious that it was repaired somewhere along the line.....

From the pics themselves, it really is hard for me to say - but I do "get" what you're saying.

An instrument is something you want to care for and enjoy for a long time, if you are unhappy, or even just uncertain about it in any way - I would consider returning it for a refund.....  (that's maybe not a helpful suggestion when you are DESPERATE to start playing !)

Hello Bill, I was able to put a tiny mirror through the sound holes. I don't see any cracks/hairlines on the top plate. I would love for this instrument to last as long as I can. But will go to my local luthier just to make sure. :) Thank you.

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rheya
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February 26, 2015 - 2:16 pm
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micra said
Regarding the patches of wood, that is not something I would expect or want to see in a new violin.  The other does look like wood grain to me, probably indicative of the quality of the wood and how it absorbed the varnish would be my guess.  

I think Bill is spot on.  You took a lot of pictures of this and that tells me it is bugging you a lot.  Don't let the seller talk you into thinking your concerns are of no consequence.  You want it to be love at first sight, if not sound ;)  Follow your heart in this!

I honestly didn't expect my jaw would drop as soon as I opened the case. It's beautiful. It was indeed love at first sight. I also like the sound it produces, it's loud and rich. And when I saw the lines, my heart sank. But so far I don't see any openings and will consult a luthier to be sure. Thank you for your help :)

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rheya
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February 26, 2015 - 2:24 pm
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DanielB said
"How does it sound?" would be the first thing I'd wonder before worrying about anything else.

The lines could be just darker lines in the grain that happened naturally or from where a stain was applied early in the finishing process and some parts of the grain took up more than others.  That could be intentional, depending on the maker, since some people feel that a bit more contrast makes the wood look a bit prettier.  

Wood often does have some little inconsistencies in the grain.  Wood is a natural material and has a degree of variance in even the finest boards.  Most folks like that look for acoustic instruments and that is why they'd prefer wood to some materials that can be perfectly uniform like metal or plastic.  Those inconsistencies are the individual features that make every piece of wood unique.  The closer and more you look at a piece of wood the more little quirks you are likely to notice in the grain.  That is part of the charm of pretty wood. 

They could also be where different pieces of wood were put together to make the top.  Not that unusual for a top to be made of 2 pieces of wood that are "book-end matched" to get a symmetrical grain pattern.  Usually it would be done with the grain lines closer down the center of the instrument for greater strength.  That is what at least the center line looks like to me.  Not necessarily a bad thing, unless  the instrument was advertised as having a one-piece top (and/or back, though I didn't see a pic showing the back).

I have seen some very long debates as to whether one piece is better than two.  One piece always costs more, since the amount of wood that is wide enough to make a one-piece plate with a good quality grain is always going to be a bit rarer than narrower pieces.  To some people, costing more always indicates that it must somehow be better.  But I have seen a lot of good sounding arguments for either option.  In the end, it depends on what you believe, what you like the looks of and what you are willing to spend the money for.

Some of the original Stradivarius violins have 2 or even 3 piece plates.  Not too many people would say that Stradivari didn't know what he was doing or made "junk"..

With the cleats, it isn't that unusual for two piece backs to have cleats down the centerline as some added insurance that the glue at the center won't come apart over time.  Some makers consider that a good standard practice, from what I understand.  Now if they are not at the center but off in some other area, then yeah, I'd wonder if the instrument had been repaired or if there was something about the wood that the maker was not entirely pleased with. 

Bottom line, I'd personally say that what matters most is how it sounds.  Is it comfortable to your hands, is the action reasonable?   With the appearance, well, to any listener at even a realistically close range, I'd say it will look lovely.  It is a very nice looking violin.

If the things you've noticed bother you though, well, maybe you can get the seller to give you a refund or exchange. 

Hello DanielB,

I love the sound of the violin. It's been almost three years since the last time I played the old violin but this new violin sounds a lot better than the first one I had. It feels easier to play too coz the first one had a thick neck.

I sent the photos to a local luthier here and told me that they could just be deep grains and scratches but invited me to stop by to make a closer look. 

Here's what the back and side look..

https://www.flickr.com/photos/93033794@N06/16035848403/in/photostream/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/93033794@N06/16469579789/in/photostream/

Thank you so much for your help :)

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rheya
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February 26, 2015 - 2:28 pm
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Fiddlerman said
I didn't want to say anything but I too believe that you are getting a violin with engineered wood and it's not acceptable except the two piece back normally. For the spruce top to be done that way I'm not sure you should be paying much for this. What was the cost if you don't mind me asking?
Next question is the sound. If you love the sound don't hesitate in keeping it because that really is the most important thing unless you are too bothered by the looks. Truth is if glued properly, two pieces of wood will be stronger at the connection than the grain itself. Unfortunately you can't know how it was glued. :(

Hello Fiddlerman,

I paid $250 for it. I love the sound it produces, loud and rich. I would love to keep this and would consult a luthier too to make sure there's nothing wrong with it. Thank  you so much :)

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BillyG
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February 26, 2015 - 2:39 pm
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rheya said

 

Hello Bill, I was able to put a tiny mirror through the sound holes. I don't see any cracks/hairlines on the top plate. I would love for this instrument to last as long as I can. But will go to my local luthier just to make sure. :) Thank you.

  That is encouraging, and as Daniel and Pierre suggested between them if the cleats are directly on the center-line it is probably down to the manufacturer just "being a but more particular"by adding additional strengthening - and from the image clearly it is a two-piece backplate.  ( I have a seen and handled only about 9 or 10 different violins in my life but have never seen that before - always learning something new! ).

 Good to hear there's no sign of either the hairline cracks or strengthening cleats on the top plate.   And good to know you like the sound....  I'm sure a visit to your luthier will set your mind at rest - keep us advised !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Fiddlerman
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February 26, 2015 - 3:21 pm
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For $250 you should just hang on to it, especially since you love the sound. :)
I could potentially see myself paying many thousands for a violin based on just sound.

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

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DanielB
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If the sound is what you like, and it feels much easier than what you had, then I'd personally think 250 was a steal.

It's a very nice looking violin, in my opinion. 

Perfect?  Well, maybe not, but who of us ever is?

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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rheya
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February 28, 2015 - 5:36 pm
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Hello, 

Thank you for your kind words. I consulted a luthier and said that those are just deep wood grains. As long as they're not hairlines or cracks I can ignore those lines. This violin is perfect for me :):):)

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rheya
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February 28, 2015 - 5:38 pm
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Hello,

I went to a violin shop and consulted a luthier. He confirmed that those were not hairlines and cracks. :) That's a relief. They were too kind to also fix the pegs, bridge, soundpost and the strings. They only charged me for the new strings. Yay!

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Uzi
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I'm glad it all worked out well for you.

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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rheya
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February 28, 2015 - 9:06 pm
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Thank you :)

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Fiddlestix
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rheya said
Hello,

I went to a violin shop and consulted a luthier. He confirmed that those were not hairlines and cracks. :) That's a relief. They were too kind to also fix the pegs, bridge, soundpost and the strings. They only charged me for the new strings. Yay!

I also did the same. The violin shop I frequent is like my 1st away from home on Saturday's and I asked my luthier today, at "Mark Schwartz Violin's" in Flint, Mi., if wooden blocks are unusual from the factory and he also confirmed they're not.

I told him about  your concern and he said not to be concerned, it happens a lot. Then he showed me factory wood patches inside of a double bass.

It's ok.

 

Ken.

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