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I have taken up the violin and went hunting on eBay to find a electronic "silent" violin so that I would drive my wife less nuts while practicing. I came upon a Daraxa Dev-2000 for about $70 and it looked to be similar in appearance to the early Yamaha silent violin and it had reverb built into the pre-amp. Once received, I discovered that it was unplayable since it had an upward sloping fingerboard like a ski jump. I then purchased a carbon fiber guitar type truss rod and I figured that it would be rather easy to remove the "ebony" fingerboard, route in the truss rod, reinstall the fingerboard, and start playing it.
Since Youtube is my friend, I found out that fingerboards are fitted to violins with hide glue and that you either heated up the fingerboard with an electric iron or dribbled alcohol on the joint with a razor blade and a small paint brush. I first used an electric iron placed on the fingerboard (held between two concrete masonry units) for about a 1//2 hour without effect. I then dribbled alcohol along the joint, again without effect. While dribbling alcohol, I noticed a small droplet of glue and heated it with a lighter and inhaled the flumes. It had a pronounced plastic odor nothing like hide glue. I was dealing with epoxy.
I got an artist's spatula, heated it with the electric iron, and slowly wedged it in the fingerboard/neck joint. Success. In less than ten minutes I removed the fingerboard.
Once off, I discovered that the fingerboard was made out of some type of injection molded plastic. It certainly is quite hard and completely minics the texture and appearance of ebony. It did have a slight arch to it, but I could bend it (I am sure that I could not bend carbon fiber).
I looked at the violin neck once the fingerboard was removed and it was straight. I think that what happened is that over time the plastic shrank and the glue had no give, causing the wood to bow to conform to the plastic.
I will route out a 1/8" slot in the neck and install the truss rod, since I have it, but I think that I am going to purchase an ebony fingerboard and nut from China and throw out the plastic one. I damaged the finish of the violin to order to remove the fingerboard, since it was applied to the sides of the fingerboard. It appears to be a self leveling urethane paint. I am going to apply Interlux Brightside (tm) hard, high gloss, one-part polyurethane boat finish to provide the look of the original finish.
The problem I had with the cheap Irin electric violin was with the type of plywood they used for the body. The plys were very wide apart and filled with what I believe is basswood dust. When my neck started failing causing the fingerboard to move closer to the body, I tried to fix it but found that the body was not strong enough to hold the pressure. So I just stuck a wine cork under the end of the fingerboard. Engineering at its finest.
An update. There is an extension to the neck of this violin (which seems to be common to electric violins) to offer more glue area for securing the finger board. This appendage makes it difficult to purchase a new finger board since acoustic violins have a long "scooped out" area on the body side of the fingerboard's lower surface in an attempt to lessen weight. I have not been successful in locating a violin fingerboard that does not have this scoop, so I purchased an inexpensive "c" grade ebony 3/4 cello fingerboard from India. Once obtained, I will have to cut off its lower end, reduce its width, and plane down the lower surface. I will provide a short length of "scoop" to match the existing, but it will be only about 22 mm in length.
I don't know if I will stain the new finger board, but it is likely that I will.
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