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I do violin and viola repair for local high school and middle school orchestras… just the basics, new bridges, nut shaping, new pegs and the occasional crack. I’ve worked on five student grade violins over the past month and found that three of them had end pins that were 2mm - 3mm to the right of the fingerboard center line when viewing from the pin end of the instrument. The misalignment torques the tailpiece and puts lateral pressure on the bridge. On two of the violins, I plugged the hole and re-drilled & reamed it to be on center. Has anyone noticed this as a common issue with the inexpensive Chinese violins?
i have and student violin that is about 120 yrs old. i noticed tail peg pulled upward.
i am not sure if the hole was mis-drilled, or if the pressure over time deformed the hole. i am new to the world of violin repair , so i thought to try my hand at repairing the tail peg. i am also concerned that the tail block may have been damaged over time, because where the two walls meet, there is a slight deformation.
i am open to any suggestions.
Hi Rosco, Bob, I have noticed the end pin being pulled up and eventually out of the hole because of weak wood. But because of their using jigs for everything to speed up production, its hard to think of why a hole would be off-center. To fix my end hole, I mixed a soup of titebond and shavings from a bridge I was making. It has held for 18 months so far.
I would enjoy hearing about your work with the schools and the brand name of the off-center violins.
also a Bob.
The most recent violin I’ve seen this problem on is a 1999 Cremona SV-175. It appears that the seam running down the length of the top plate is not the actual center line of the plate, but is about 3mm to the right. The cutout for the saddle (and the mounting of the saddle itself) was done centered on that seam. The end pin hole was then centered on the off-center saddle. There wasn’t a case of the end pin being at an angle or the hole being misshapen. The original hole, and therefore the end pin, were not centered on the center line of the body of the violin right at the factory, but were aligned to the off-center top plate seam. I addressed the same issue with a 1998 Klaus Mueller Etude a few weeks earlier.
I drilled out the mis-located hole to 3/8” and glued in a tight-fitting ebony dowel, flush with the side (which would help reinforce the block). I then projected the center line of the finger board down to the saddle and marked it. I used a drill jig and press to make a ¼” diameter hole located on the finger board center line as marked on the saddle and reamed it to fit a new ebony end pin. I had to create new grooves in the saddle to accommodate the tail piece gut. Fortunately, the saddle was wide enough to span the corrected location. Once the new end pin was inserted, you could only see a small dark crescent that remained from the plug I applied.
Each of the violins that received the realignment seemed to have improved resonance and sustain. I’m thinking it’s because the strings can now follow a natural angle over the bridge to the now correctly aligned tail piece anchoring. Whereas before they were pulled slightly sideways behind the bridge, as was the tail piece.
I got into doing work for the schools when my personal collection of refurbished violins reached a count of 10 or 11 instruments. I began donating them to local youth orchestras (still do) for students that had challenges affording the rental or purchase of an instrument. It wasn’t long before I started receiving requests from some of the instructors to do bridge replacements and other basic work. I only charge for materials, so it keeps the cost down for everyone and I don’t work on rented violins because most issues are covered by the shops.