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Master Hand Violin Shop

  • 546 S Main W Street
  • Broadway, VA 22815
  • 630/ 292-2641

    Store Hours

  • By Appointment Only
  • Owner

    Elizabeth Ecklund

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    We Only Believe It Because We've Actually Seen It...

    By Diane Bruce

    Do-it-yourself repairs are always in style. Unfortunately, some repairs really do require a specialist and end up costing more money to fix after the do-it-yourself project has gone awry. String instrument repairwork is definitely not a do-it-yourself project; most people will realize this sooner or later. Many people, when they do eventually show us what they or other people have done to their instruments, can only console themselves by laughing and hearing tales of other crazy stuff we have seen. And boy have we seen it...

    *One of our favorite do-it-yourself's is the epoxy repair. Instruments are supposed to be somewhat detachable, which is why hoof & hide glue is used for seams/fingerboards/nuts/etc and wood glue is used only for top cracks. Imagine our joy at seeing instruments with nuts and saddles epoxied on. Or better yet, there was the bass top-crack epoxied in a most unlevel position...

    *Another favorite do-it-yourself is the homemade soundpost. Soundposts are supposed to fit snuggly while not being wedged in place, so it comes as no surprise to us any more to see soundposts that are actually glued in place! When the do-it-yourselfer avoids gluing the sound post, the sound posts are frequently in so tightly that the top spruce is gouged and the top of the instrument has reshaped...

    *One of the reasons that the old Italian masters were so great is that they knew how to make varnish. So it should come as no surprise that a common do-it-yourself project is to remove all the varnish from an instrument. This never ends well and unfortunately, in this case there is very little we can do...

    *Another great do-it-yourself is to carve out the instrument. Apparently it's really popular to enlarge the f-holes or carve other areas...

    Of course, there is the opposite end of the spectrum where people assume the instrument can't be fixed. We have had people yell at us for selling them an instrument on which a string broke and now they'll have to throw it away. And we've had people in the process of throwing away $5000 instruments that are thankfully rescued by neighbors, etc...

    Perhaps our favorite crazy story was about the time someone tried to sell us a $100,000 stolen viola for $750. There was a happy ending as we bought it and returned it to its owner.

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