Repairs & Making
Bowed instruments are complex and fragile. They are not mechanically complex like a piano, but are complex in a different way. This page is written to teach you a little about the most commonly needed adjustments and maintenance. Some adjustments need to be made by the owner almost on a daily basis; others should be carried out by a skilled professional.
As a professional violin maker and repairer I would like to inspect your instrument once every year to see:
- If any glue joints have come loose or cracks have opened.
- If the bridge and soundpost are standing in their correct position.
- If the pegs slip, stick, turn or fit properly.
- If the fingerboard has worn due to playing and needs to be resurfaced.
- If the instrument needs a thorough cleaning.
- If the working parts of the bow function firmly and smoothly.
- If the bow hair is of a good length and not too worn.
If you are unsure about anything, Guus van den Braak is only a phone call, email or visit away to help you.
Make it a habit to frequently look at your instrument and bow in very fine detail. Most people do not have a moment to spare when the instrument comes out of its case and back into the case. The case will far too soon be serving as a coffin, unless good care is taken. A well maintained instrument and bow will work well, live for many years and always sound good.
Bowed instruments are prone to damage such as scratches in the varnish and dents or cracks in the wood. A bowed instrument is like a chicken egg. They are very strong in comparison to the thickness of their shell, but can easily break or crack.
Above left: Reaming the tapered holes in the peg-box to fit new pegs.
Centre: Carving a new scroll and neck out of one solid block of European flamed maple.
Right: Planing a newly fitted bass-bar in a violin top to shape with fingernail size planes.
Left: An acoustic double Bass repainted in red and blue to client specifications.
Centre and right: An acoustic double Bass repainted in pearl ivory-white to client specifications.
Above left: A 5-string electric double bass custom made for Dene Whitney, who is a professional Jazz player.
Centre and right: An air freight shock-proof case had to be custom-made to accommodate the instrument, bow and electronic equipment.
Left: The top of an acoustic double bass with a new bass-bar fitted.
The bass-bar will be planed to shape after the clamps are removed.