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lowered the chin rest
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November 22, 2014 - 4:27 pm
Member Since: February 11, 2014
Forum Posts: 633
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Couple weeks ago, I replaced the fittings on Jane and have been using a chin rest.  But I found it too high so today I lowered it by 5 mm.  Putting it back together I realized that I had no thin cork to use (only the really thick round dots) (where do you get the thin stuff?) so I cut out a piece of posterboard and used that.  Lowering the rest puts me down where I think I like it,,,time will tell.

Everyday for the past week I have had to re-tune each violin and the past couple of days some of the pegs have spun loose.  Humidity or rather the lack of it is having an effect here, so today I filled an empty coffee tub (plastic) with water, cut some holes in the lid and set it on the floor near the violins, hope it helps.chinrest-006.JPGImage Enlarger

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Honorary advisor

November 22, 2014 - 8:58 pm
Member Since: September 19, 2013
Forum Posts: 234
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Hey Mr ,

I think this has been gone over in the past but here we are again ...it's all good ...no biggie ...humidity control can be a pain ..here in Tucson we can go from 2 % to 98 % in a matter of a few days ...oh boy ....we're having fun now ...

Trying to stay within the 40 % to 50 % range is not always possible ...dang ...unless yer keeping yer instruments in a humidity controlled room or cabinet ...ie ..cabinet is great if ya have one ...

Many violins have been treated with peg compound before you get them ...others not .

Combination Peg Drops / Peg Compound cures both slipping and sticking pegs ...my favorite ...I think Pierre has this brand in stock ...if yer of a mind to try it i think yer problems can be a thing of the past very quickly ...

Humidity control is still something we want to aid in the overall well being of our instruments ...you can get case humidifiers that work well but i don't care for the hose type that go inside the violin ...must be filled daily ...a small one like this one pictured with my peg drops / peg compound gets filled weekly and you can get longer ones fer the new style cases that need filling less often ....know that all hygrometers are not very accurate so if you get a cheap one ...welll there ya are ...

I'm sure Pierre can fix ya up here too ...all ya need do is ask him and place an order ...violin-1267good playing to ya ...    Oh , yeah ....thin cork ? most hardware stores carry it ...and you can thin it further by sanding ....i cut mine with a razor saw from a cork to a wine bottle ....IMG_2690.JPG

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 IMG_2491.JPGImage Enlarger

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November 23, 2014 - 5:37 am
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
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You can get the sheets of thin cork at most craft stores, even sometimes at dollar stores.

The humidity, well, I've never had any luck with keeping the house at a good range when winter gets cold.  Mostly the instruments spend more time in their cases then, with an in case humidifier.  Nothing fancy here, I use a pill bottle with holes drilled in the top filled with those silicon "water marbles".  I take the bottle out of the case and fill it up with water when I start morning practice, then pour off the excess and put it in the case when I put the violin away.  According to the hygrometer I keep in my case, that usually keeps it close to 50% humidity inside the case.  

It takes a while for low humidity to strip much moisture from the wood of the violin.  The finish has the outside covered, and the amount of wood that is actually bare on the inside is only open to the outside air at the f-holes.  So an hour or two of practice or an hour of playing here and there through the day won't do a lot to the wood, so long as it is kept at somewhere near the right humidity in the case.

The tuning pegs, well, it depends on how you like to do things.  Some folks like to keep them very tight so they don't move easy at all, because they mostly use the fine tuners.  I peg tune every day, since I didn't put fine tuners on my acoustic violin.  Tuning them every day, I think that I kind of automatically adjust for the big changes in humidity, since I keep the pegs pushed in just a tiny bit tighter than the point where they'll slip.  I haven't run into any problems with the pegs.  Maybe it is a matter of how well the pegs are fitted in the first place, but since my violin was a 170$ beginner package, I rather doubt it is any paragon of peg virtue or anything. LOL   

But they don't usually slip, nor do they "creak" or stick.  I don't use any chalk or soap or drops or compound on them.  It is a fairly new instrument though, only had it about 2 yrs.  Maybe antique instruments have more troubles? I wouldn't know.

Another thing that might make a difference is that I tune every instrument in the house that can be tuned every day.  Even if it is still in tune from yesterday, I detune each string a little and then bring it back up to pitch.  I was taught to do that with guitars, to "equalize the tension" from any changes due to humidity or temperature changes.  I don't know how true all that is, but I've never had the problems I've seen other people have with keeping guitars in tune, so I've assumed it works.  Never heard if one should also do it with violins, but I do it from habit.

Once it is tuned up in the morning, it is usually good for the day, unless I change the tuning to GDgd for some songs or something like that. 

"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


November 23, 2014 - 6:14 am
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
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Oh, and even with the expensive hygrometers, you should check them once in a while and recalibrate, if necessary.  Don't just assume they are always right, because you paid more for them.

It isn't particularly hard.  Wet a small towel or washcloth and wring out the water, so it is just damp, not dripping, and wrap the hygrometer in it for an hour or so.  Then check it (quick, because the reading will drop fast when you unwrap it from the damp towel).  It should read 100%.  If it doesn't, you can either remember how far off it is, or adjust it. 

Most hygrometers have an adjustment screw on the back.  I can't say for sure if they all do, but even the 3$ cheapie I got at Walmart a few years ago does.  It's a pretty tiny screw on the back, usually, so you'll want something like a small jeweler's screwdriver.

If you want something that's a bit more complex, but supposed to be more accurate than the washcloth test, you can do a salt test.  Take an airtight container, like a jar (pint usually is a good size), and take some small container that will leave enough room for the hygrometer inside the jar.  Milk jug cap works. 

Put a couple of teaspoons of salt into the cap and wet it enough to be damp.  "Damp" in this case meaning you don't want any visible liquid sitting in a puddle around the salt, but about as wet as you can get it other than that.  Put the cap with the salt in the jar along with the hygrometer and seal it up and leave it at room temp overnight.  The hygrometer should read 75% by then.  

I don't know if the fancy digital hygrometers can be calibrated, but they probably can.  It would probably take reading the manual, though.  LOL 

"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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