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So THAT'S why the A string sounded like a sick goose!

Posted by bj on Monday, September 27, 2010

My crosstuner, which is my American fiddle, hasn't sounded good for awhile. I've been meaning to take him to the fiddle doctor, but extra dough is in short supply right now, and he's my second fiddle, I have a good one to play.

But I still bring that one out with me when I'm sitting working outside all day. I don't want to put my good fiddle through the rigors of the antique market on a regular basis. So the other day I'm sitting there, and for some reason I ran my fingernail along one of the seams near the tailpiece . . . and my fingernail sunk right in!

Worse, the gap extended for around two inches from near the treble end of the saddle towards the side.

Well geez, that could be why the A string sounds like a whiny honky sick goose!

It's been glued and clamped and will sit clamped until tomorrow night. At least it's an EASY repair!

I suspect that the bit of sun it caught (even though I was careful to try to keep it out of the sun!) and the rigors of travelling in my old truck knocked the glue loose. Last seam I reglued took a couple tries, but I felt like an old hand at it this time. Had the spool clamps lined up and sized up nicely, had the right sized brush for the hide glue, had the glue pot set up with the candy thermometer . . . and once the glue was up to temperature the repair took about three minutes. Hold fiddle so the seam faces up, lather the glue on, pinch and release a few times so the glue wicks into the crack, slap the clamps on and tighten 'er down. Then some wiping off of the excess glue, and voila!

I'll check it tomorrow night. If I have to retouch it a bit, it's no biggie. Hopefully he gets his sweet voice back. I know this fiddle has sounded better in the past.

11 comments on “So THAT'S why the A string sounded like a sick goose!”

mudbug Says:
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @1:56:54 AM

Who you callin' a "whiny honky" ? I like to refer to it as hillbilly singing. :-)

bj Says:
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @5:05:15 AM


Clamps are off. What a HUGE improvement! The A string is singing sweetly again! The sustain is improved on all strings, and the tone is better overall. So the lesson learned is-- check the seams on your fiddle periodically! And especially if there's a negative change in its sound.

Learner Says:
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @2:30:58 PM

Thanks for sharing this, BJ. Maybe next time you do a hide glue repair you could make a video so that we can all watch and learn.

bj Says:
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @2:51:10 PM

Thanks, Learner! I'll leave that to the experts, I'm just a dabbler. Katpeacent just joined FHO, and she's MUCH BETTER at all this than I'll ever be! So is transplant. So are a few others.

richdissmore Says:
Wednesday, September 29, 2010 @2:18:40 PM

bj.youmite say tung in cheek your fiddle really opened up like mine once glued not the sound but just the fiddle opened up i,m really glad you were able to fix the seem.

Mandogryl Says:
Wednesday, September 29, 2010 @5:08:19 PM

Well, I always felt you had the wherewithall to perform this stuff.
FWIW, I do not use a thermometer in my glue pot any more.
I can pretty much tell by the consistancy in the way it drips from
the spatula for when it is ready to use.

bj Says:
Wednesday, September 29, 2010 @5:49:58 PM

Stephanie, you are way ahead of me! I'll probably be using the thermometer for awhile!

And yes, Rich, my fiddle did open up!

richdissmore Says:
Thursday, September 30, 2010 @11:32:37 AM

from what you have said i,m very glad you were able to fix your fiddle so it let the sound open up the way it should leting the sound flow free by the way. i for got i knew how to play angline the barker.thank youfor reminding me im hopeing come out east next year june or july i hope my wife will go along with mei,ll bring my fiddle i have a brother liveing in mass

bj Says:
Thursday, September 30, 2010 @11:40:49 AM

Rich, if you plan your trip for November, you might wanna check out Fiddle Hell in Groton Massachussetts.

richdissmore Says:
Thursday, September 30, 2010 @11:59:26 AM

that time of year is to cold i lived davis vill r. i. when i was in the u.s.n. sea bee,s winter i stay home imy go to a jam here in racine wis.that about it i use to play rock or country now mostly irish or old time i did play lead and singwhen iuse to make my liveing playing music playing fiddle is fun i hope i can get back in to it like be for i had my strok thing is i can playa little fiddle and playing a little is better then not playing at all i have a dream things will be looking up

carlb Says:
Tuesday, October 12, 2010 @7:36:54 AM

A few times a year I visit my fiddle doctor. He's a friendly guy and I get to try some of the new instruments he's working on and maybe got out for a bite and beer. I always bring my fiddles with me to have him check for seam openings. He can detect openings that I don't even notice.

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