Home | Acoustic Enhancer | Repairs | Hints | For sale | Contact | updated 04-Oct-2014


Repairs

A guide to the price of repairs is helpful, but it is only a guide. I will gladly quote for repair on seeing the instrument. Typical prices for fitted spares and repairs are:

 
fitted bridge
ebony peg set
sound post
tail gut
bow rehair
Violin
£30
£60
£15
£10
£30 (best £40)
Viola
£35
£60
£15
£10
£30 (best £40)
Cello
£55
£80
£25
£12
£40 (best £50)
Double bass
£85
-
£35
£20
£40 (best £55)
  • All repairs to violins, violas, 'cellos and double basses
  • Bow repairs and rehairs
  • Strings and accessories sold and fitted
  • Bows and instruments part-exchanged, bought and sold from £35
  • Written insurance valuations
  • Auction prices held from 1984
  • Many emergency repairs "on the spot"
  • All instruments carefully set up for ease of playing
  • Overnight and weekend repairs possible
  • Postal service within UK
 

BRIDGES are hand-fitted for the particular instrument. Badly-fitting PEGS can often be improved but
new ones are needed eventually.
ADJUSTERS for fine-tuning cost up to £7.00 (cello).

BOWS are rehaired using unbleached white horsehair (or black for bass). I also rehair viol bows.

LAPPING
(winding for grip) costs about £10.00 depending on material. If you want sterling silver wire then it'll be a bit more expensive. Whalebone is no longer used for conservation reasons, but the replacements are almost identical . Some cheap bows (Chinese mainly) are impossible to repair economically - they have to be cut open. At a replacement cost of about £35 it is often better to buy new. I can often re-tie and re-wedge the hair if it is not too tangled.

Still on the subject of bows, I have supplied a fair number of very good, handmade English bows by J.E.Vickers. These he makes to order from good pernambuco (brazilwood) in about two weeks. They are available with nickel, silver and gold fittings. He uses German frogs and makes all sizes for all instruments. I usually have one or two for demonstration. As a rule of thumb, the bow should be worth about one third of the instrument's value.

STRINGS I keep Jargar and Thomastic Dominant (around £48 for a violin set). Better-than-student strings include Pyramid Superior, Dogal metal and Prim strings. I keep most of these strings for viola and 'cello also. All strings can be bought separately and will be fitted if you wish.

Regarding INSTRUMENTS, I usually have a fair selection of secondhand small to full-size violins, violas and some 'cellos. Most are "better" student quality - violin outfits from £250, 'cello outfits from £350. Most instruments can go out on approval and for the teacher to try them. Some outfits are available for hire until the student decides definitely. Most of the instruments I sell are late 19th century German and all have been set up by me. Generally speaking, the tone is superior to new "budget" instruments, but recently I have been upgrading new Chinese and Romanian violins. Even a Primavera with pegs that that fit, new soundpost and bridge, decent strings with four adjusters, and a upgraded bow is a huge improvement over the basic model. It is more expensive at £140 but many parents and pupils much prefer the improved quality. Romanian violin outfits cost around £250 depending on the choice of bow and strings. The Violin Acoustic Enhancer has made a huge difference to these new instruments. All future new student instruments will be so treated if the customer wishes: it will take about 7 days to complete.

Music shops have to be very competitive. Be careful if you buy a 'budget' violin outfit. What are you getting for your money? I ask, because wholesalers admit they rely on shops to 'set up' the instrument before sale. This should involve shaping and fitting the bridge (critical operation), checking soundpost position, easing pegs, fitting four adjusters, stringing and tuning. The bow also needs checking. This costs money and your shop may prefer to sell an instrument as it arrives from the wholesaler. The chances are is won't play well, and I've seen a fair number that are unplayable. How do you know if it's been set up correctly? Ask your violin teacher - he or she will know. Any decent shop should allow you to check the instrument with the teacher.

I normally keep in stock a variety of new violin CASES from £35 to £80. Most are well padded, and all are strong, with good hinges and catches. Broken bow clips cause real bother: the bow will damage the violin unless it is adequately held. Though I don't repair cases as such, I can fit new bow clips. 'CELLO COVERS cost from £28 upwards and the Hiscox glass fibre cello case costs around £200.

Because I SELL and HIRE instruments I need to BUY them, and am always interested to see potential sellers. Cheap outfits (Chinese etc) are probably better sold through the small ads of the local paper - the difference between new and secondhand value being relatively small.

If your instrument is DAMAGED, do remember that it probably looks worse than it is. If a tailgut breaks, everything on the instrument falls down - yet the repair cost is small. Some winters ago a 'cello came in in pieces. The mother had been rushing to get her children to school, put the 'cello down behind the car, got the kids in, and reversed. It mended quite easily because many breaks are along glued joints. If disaster strikes, keep all the pieces safely and please don't attempt a repair. The wrong glue can make a repair impossible. Slacken the strings to relieve pressure if in doubt. The strings should also be let down if the soundpost falls inside the instrument.

Insurance companies often need a WRITTEN VALUATION for instruments over (say) £500. They will usually accept 10% appreciation each year without an annual revaluation. Occasionally I receive instruments to realise as part of an estate. The more valuable ones (over £1000) are sent to one of the London auction houses. I hold auction prices back to 1984 from all the major European houses.

 

1. Damaged lower bout

 

2. A much-repaired bass

 

3. Damaged wood removed

 

4. New lining clamped in place

The story of a double bass, dropped on a banister rail and needing a new, curved piece of sycamore blending in and varnishing to match.

5. Ready for the new side

 

6. 2mm thick sycamore, bent with dry heat

7. Strapped and clamped while glue dries

8. Sanded and spirit varnished to match

 

A common accident with bows ...

Before

After

 

 


Home
| Acoustic Enhancer | Repairs | Hints | For sale | Contact | updated 04-Oct-2014