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So the prologue to this thread can be found in the "Yinfente" thread, where I was inspired to get a Yinfente 5-string violin. I went onto ebay and bought what turned out be an awful trainwreck of a knock-off.
Here's a run down of the problems:
1. Fittings not ebony. Fittings not even hard wood. Fittings so soft, they might even be made of redwood.
2. Nut was cut and notched with a rusty screwdriver and glued on with Elmer's.
3. Bridge not fitted or notched, and also made of soft wood. Bridge also cut as an isosceles triangle, no chest/back.
4. Endpin split in half and popped out on first tuning.
5. Tailpiece made of non-matching fake plastic rosewood, extra sharp snaggle-tooth on one of the fine tuners.
6. Control box faulty. Line out burned out in 5 mins and headphone out only had left side working. Jacks so tight I needed pliers to get my cord out after plugging in.
Needless to say, I went straight back to the seller and asked for a return. The seller had the nerve to make me to pay the return shipping back to China for an exchange. After a couple calls to ebay, I got my moneyback, and was left with this shamble of a violin thinking it was best left as firewood. It sat for a week or so because I just didn't have the heart to let even a violin-shaped, violin-shaped object go in the trash.
So I decided to see if I could resurrect it. And because the thing never lived as a violin in the first place, that makes it's resurrection more of an undead-making.
Here's what I did:
1. Filed and notched the nut
2. Bought a bridge blank and cut a new bridge. Notice the old bridge, the sad face was drawn in with the corner of the new bridge.
3. Replaced the control box.
4. Replaced tailpiece with a Wittner Ultra 5-string tailpiece with integrated tuners.
5. Took my jewelry hammer and turned/tapped in the pegs (praying that the soft-wood peg-box didn't split in the process) to compress the grain, alternating with healthy amounts of peg dope.
6. Fixed the tailpiece with a drywall screw (sometimes the only way to deal with savagery is MORE savagery)
7. Changed the strings. I went with a set of Opera synthetic core violin strings from ebay (I'm somewhat surprised with how well these are working) and a D'Addario Prelude C string.
And the result is surprisingly fun to play! Considering the things I bought specifically for this project were the control box ($19), bridge ($6 for 5 blanks), carving knife for the bridge ($20), tailpiece ($15), and strings ($15). I think I did ok for 75 bucks and an adventure in violin repair. I'm happy for the educational experience, and I have a playable instrument where there wasn't one before
Thanks for the kind words, @coolpinkone , @ElisaDalViolin , @mischa91 , @MrYikes , @DanielB , @Reptile Smile !
And thanks for the badge @Fiddlerman ! My first badge, and it's the one I didn't think I'd ever wind up with 🙂
@cdennyb , The bridge carving was my favorite part (and the drywall screw the most horrifying in the "I can't believe I thought of this..I can't believe I'm actually doing it...I can't believe it's actually going to work!..kind of way). It was the main reason why I decided I want to try making this violin play. I learned so much from the process, and I really appreciate the vote of confidence! I'm glad it looks ok to an experienced bridge carver 😀
I also made a video, but I can't seem to embed it :/