2003-10-09 - 12:04 a.m.
There is a crack in the wood of the violin that had been repaired. The luthier at The Sting House commented when he found it "Oh- There is a crack. I was getting excited for you as I thought for a few minutes there that you had a really nice violin. But that crack there takes away any value. Even after its all fixed up, with a crack like that you can cut the value in half. Without that this would be worth $1500 "
HE then went on to tell me how the violin is not worth fixing. I wanted to just get a set of strings and a tail gut so it would be playable for now, and the luthier said he wouldn't want to do that. It just cracks me up how these perfectionists turn down money for easy jobs. They want to do quality. fulfilling work.
The luthier then said that he would give me an estimate of what work this violin needed. He started by saying the fingerboard was glued on slightly crooked. Because of that the strings will not sit quite right. He indicated there was a problem with bowing of the wood under the finger board and because of that (perhaps due to warping from water damage) the brigde will need to be custom cut to compensate. $125
Set of strings $43.12
Remove straighten, replace the finger board $75
Plane fingerboard $60
Raide neck angle $125
Straighten neck (??? as he was not sure if that was needed. He said if so $50)
Remove and installpatch to correct the sound post crack A $2500. job
What I think is so paradoxical is that I TOLD him we got this violin to be played, NOT as an investment! SO who cares about a very small crack if it can still be played? I don't! The violin still will sound beautiful if fixed up.
Furthermore, I told him I just want strings and a tail gut at this point in time. When he was talking about all the problems with how the space between the finger board and strings was not right- but too high due to warping, he said "Well- it looks like a 3/4 size bridge might work. Well that't the size of the bridge that it came to us with! So it seems to me that the brisge we have should work well enough for now.
After the luthier tried to sell me a violin outfit for $365. (A nice Chinese made new instrument), and I balked, and just smiled at his admonishment of the thought of fixing this old piece of crap as he was now acting like it was, I then pointed out that "I shouldn't be laughing at what you are saying.. but I have to tell you I have heard this all before. I heard it on two other occassions when I paid $80 for a cheap tinder boxand then spent $120 respectively to fix them each up. My total STILL came to far less than what I have estimated would have been over $1200 in violin rentals for the two kids I've had play those instruments. And don't forget-- I have FIVE children." I told him I understand his discontent at the thought of putting work into something that is not decent quality- but reminded him that the sound of this wood WAS very beautiful.
He tried to convince me "WHen you run to race you want to have good sneakers? What are you going to do- run barefoot?"
I said "yes- if faced with the choice of not running at all or running barefoot- I'd run barefoot."
His analogy was actually pretty dumb.
He then said "Playing this will be like driving a car without breaks."
I told him- "Its like driving an old clunker- but if that's all you can afford, that's all you can drive. I drove one of those before for a while."
Hetalked of how it can impede the development of the student to play on a poor instrument they have to compensate for.
I responded "It builds character"
He said "Going to bed at 9pm and not going to the prom. That builds character."
I infomred him my kid's bedtime was 8pm.And I informed him that my daughter was the first violinist of the second violins in a youth orchestra, so her development was not irreparibly hindered. She in fact has been doing quite well even on those crappy instuments. And this one is a huge step up. I told him she did get to tune it before the strings popped off.
In the end I led him to believe he convinced me of its lack of worth. I told him "I could always just send it back. It was listed as having no cracks."
He advised me to do so.
I left disappointed, but still not at all unhappy about our purchase of what I still consider to be an amazing find.
I looked on line and found the same brand strings on sale for $26. Westley pointed out that if we get them on line we have to do all the installation ourselves. He commented that the $42 is likely worth the labor (especially since we don't knoe exactly how to do that. ) I thinkit would be worth figuring out how to do thatfor ourselves.
I'm eying the book Kitchen Table Violin Repairs and until I read it I will resist temptaion to use the wood glue!