ANGUS VIOLIN STUDIO - Making, restoration and repair.

The Violin Man

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Frequently Asked Questions
  1. I have a Stradivarius violin dated 17?? What is it worth?
  2. Notes I play on the violin are not clear, they sound screechy. What can I do to sort this?
  3. What’s the difference between a Violin and a Fiddle?
  4. One particular string sounds different for some unknown reason. What can cause this?
  5. How can one tell how old a violin is?
  6. I would like to change the strings on my violin for another brand. Can you suggest a good String to try?
  7. I visited your Violin Gallery on the web site recently and wondered how I can purchase one?
  8. I would love to make a purchase from the online store, but I am worried about the security of my credit card. How safe is it?
  9. I am going abroad shortly and wondered how I should protect my violin from extremes of heat and humidity?
  10. My violin has a dead note. Can this be sorted?
  11. My A string buzzes. What causes this?
  12. How do I select a suitable bow?
Answers

Q. I have a Stradivarius violin dated 17?? What is it worth?

A. I think by now that all the violins that Antonious Stradivarius made have been accounted for it is safe to assume that what you have in your possession a copy of the Stradivarius pattern. It will probably have been made in Germany or Europe. These violins were made in abundance during the last 150 years. The value could be anything between £100 and £1500 depending on the actual maker. If you require an appraisal then by all means bring your violin to me. I provide this service from my shop in Ayr for a fee. Contact details are on my 'Contacts' page.

 

Q. Notes I play on the violin are not clear, they sound screechy. What can I do to sort this?

A. Firstly, check that your bow has not got too much or too little rosin on it. This can be achieved by looking along the bow in good light and observing how much powdery residue is lying on the bow-hair surface. If there is too much, gently tap the bow against your arm (remembering that the stick is very delicate) to remove the excess rosin or as I have witnessed some players, swish the bow through the air (not recommended). If the bow needs some rosin applied, make sure you are using good quality fresh rosin. You will find a selection of recommended resins at the store. Another tip is to watch you are not playing the strings too far up the fingerboard. Nearest the bridge is best for clarity and true tone.

 

Q. What’s the difference between a Violin and a Fiddle?

A. There is no difference between them it is merely the way in which the violin may be played which classifies it.

 

Q. One particular string sounds different for some unknown reason. What can cause this?

A. There is no easy answer to this question as there are too many factors that can affect the quality of a strings performance. Have your violin checked by a qualified Luthier to check that there are no open cracks or ribs detached. Have the fingerboard checked for any wear. It may well be that after all these checks are done you have to do some experimenting with different string types to see if there is a string which is better suited for the violin. I have found on a few occasions that some violins will just not perform with a particular brand of string and that after changing an individual string for another brand, the problem was eradicated.

 

Q. How can one tell how old a violin is?

A. Finding out how old your violin actually is can be similar to dating a piece of antique furniture. It requires an expert eye and a lot of skill and patience. Sampling of the violin’s belly wood-grain spacing or rings (Dendrochronology) is an accurate way of establishing an old violin’s date of origin. I read an article some time ago on the Web on this very subject. Simple diagrams from that very article can be found if you go to: this site.

 

Q. I would like to change the strings on my violin for another brand. Can you suggest a good String to try?

A. I am a great believer in experimentation where this subject is concerned. There are many Strings on the market and I would suggest the only way to test them economically is to try one of your choice from the range of strings you wish to try. Once you have settled on the best string for your violin then buy the full set. Remember not to remove all the strings from your violin when you try this as the sound-post may fall over with the lack of pressure being applied from the strings on the bridge. Good strings for quality that I have found are listed on the Online store under the string section. Find them at the store.

 

Q. I visited your Violin Gallery on the web site recently and wondered how I can purchase one?

A. It’s really very easy to do this. All you do is go back to the Violin Gallery. Select the violin you are interested in by pressing the appropriate button from the gallery. When I receive your request for further information I will forward you a sound and image file that show the violin in more precise detail. If you are happy to proceed you should e-mail me with your Visa card details or post me a cheque in GBP for value stated plus postage we've agreed. Once I have clearance from the Credit card company I will arrange to post you the violin along with Insurance using the Airmail service best for your Area. I also have introduced a fourteen day money back deal. This will allow you to try out the instrument and return it if it is not suitable. Please ask for further details of this service by dropping me an e-mail from the contact page. Please note there are a few instruments in stock at any given time- too many to list at one time. Please ask to see some more if you cannot visit my workshop. I will be delighted to spend some time in order to find the perfect instrument for you.

 

Q. I would love to make a purchase from the online store, but I am worried about the security of my credit card. How safe is it?

A. I use Worldpay for my Credit card transactions and they have a guaranteed assurance service for your transaction. It is explained in detail if you press on the link from the main PP button on each store page. This is as secure a Gateway as you can get, making it extremely safe for the purchase of goods.

 

Q. I am going abroad shortly and wondered how I should protect my violin from extremes of heat and humidity?

A. I am glad you asked this question as too many times the poor violin is ignored and subsequently greatly damaged. You should take great care to protect your instrument from the extremes of weather abroad. It is sometimes the drastic changes experienced in the timbers that are most likely to do damage. Swelling and shrinkage of the plates will cause cracks to appear if timber is allowed in a harsh atmosphere too long. Keep the violin out of direct sunlight and cool. Carry a hygrometer in the case and where you find it getting too dry, correct by inserting devices for adding moisture gradually to the inside of the body.

 

Q. My violin has a dead note. Can this be sorted?

A. A ‘wolf’ note is what you are getting. It cannot always be totally eradicated and all instruments have a wolf note to some degree. They occur more commonly at B to B-flat on the Violin and B-flat to C on the Viola also on the Cello at E to F-sharp. They are caused by excessive tension or by a breakdown in acceptable pattern of vibration. Specialized adjustment of your instrument is my recommendation.

 

Q. My A string buzzes. What causes this?

A. There are many reasons why this could happen, here are just a few to look for. String wear from the string core – replace string. Top nut groove wear – replace with new nut. Fingerboard ruts and string wearing grooves, uneven surface – Re-hone fingerboard. Rattling points on the instrument body including: Tailpiece, tuning adjusters, loose ribs, ill fitting bridge foot or fingerboard becoming undone. This is a short list of possibilities and there are more. It’s a system of elimination that is required and a lot of patience sometimes.

 

Q. How do I select a suitable bow?

A. I am no expert on this subject but can offer you this simple advice from my experience dealing with players I’ve met over the years. I would choose a bow adhering to these important factors.

  1. Buy the best bow you can afford. The more you pay the better the quality.
  2. The Bow should be straight along its length, accept no warping.
  3. It should not be too heavy or too light and be well balanced.
  4. If it doesn’t feel right for you, don’t buy.
  5. It should have a good spring to it and be well cambered to the centre.
  6. Look carefully for any damage. Cracked stick, missing tip and bad frog condition can be costly to fix.
  7. Have it re-haired if the hair looks old and dirty. This will pay dividends with your playing.

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