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the Worst expedient fiddle repairs you've ever seen

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Apr 24, 2022 - 8:05:13 AM
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10148 posts since 3/19/2009

I have one old fiddle that has the fingerboard Nailed to the neck...
Ok, your turn..

Apr 24, 2022 - 9:19:47 AM
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742 posts since 3/1/2020

Where do I even begin?

I’ve seen top cracks stapled by schoolteachers and parents, glued-in soundposts, a soundpost installed by drilling a hole through the top, cracks “closed” with various kinds of tape, seams glued with Gorilla Glue, a soundpost nailed in place, Bondo patches, cleats attached by drilling holes and feeding string through them, necks and fingerboards attached with JB Weld, pegboxes nailed together….

Just to name a few. Luthiers uncover lots of cardinal sins.

Apr 24, 2022 - 11:18:05 AM

2637 posts since 10/22/2007

3/4 violin with an ebony tailpiece. One of the outer holes in the tailpiece became the fracture point for that side of the tailpiece to depart, break away, gone.

Like I said, I don't remember if was the bass or treble side. But the remaining holes were suitable enough to accommodate two strings. Now this is without fine tuners, mind you. But it's quite doable to string up a fiddle with only three of the four tailpiece holes. Sold it as-is. ( I hate 3/4 fiddles) Played a round of Bile the Cabbage, to prove it worked, and down the road it went.

Expectations are a factor. You can't shine a cow chip.

Apr 24, 2022 - 12:34:14 PM
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10148 posts since 3/19/2009

Decades ago when there wasn't an access to luthies or the internet, I suppose that people just did what they had to do..!!! They probably valued the instrument enough that they would do Anything to keep it working..Back in the day... you couldn't just buy a $50 violin with case and two bows..from China like we could do today..

Apr 24, 2022 - 12:34:32 PM
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91 posts since 2/12/2021

In college I rescued an old flatback, carved top 3/4 bass from the junk heap, and somehow I managed to carve a new neck block (secured via recessed carriage bolts to the neck), patched the sides and various other holes with some thin maple stock, rejoined and reglued the top with hide glue someone gave me. An utter, total hack job, but I played that bass in string bands over the next 25 years or so. I kept the scroll when the bass finally imploded beyond repair.

Apr 24, 2022 - 2:40:49 PM
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10148 posts since 3/19/2009

Our local luthier just posted photos of a pegbox repaired with wood screws... As for me, I bought a $25 Ebay fiddle and it needed cheek repair.. Not having the skill to remove wood and do it right, I just glued 1/8 inch wood over the sides, sanded it and drilled holes.. So far it has held up for over ten years.. I can't imagine how many pegboxes have been cracked because poorly fitted, homemade pegs were forced into them.. I, like others once thought that what one need do with an ill fitting peg was to 'rough it up ' with sandpaper and jam it in .. (really, I was that unknowledgeable..)

Here is another .. I was so ill informed, that I thought there had to be a real deep Notch cut in the bridge to keep the strings in place.. I mean DEEP... Now I laugh,  and can only imagine that my naivete was not much different than that of thousands of our pioneer fiddler ancestors...

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 04/24/2022 14:43:52

Apr 25, 2022 - 11:07:17 PM
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2 posts since 10/4/2016

There is no limit to what can be accomplished.

Edited by - stfiddler on 04/25/2022 23:08:48

Apr 26, 2022 - 4:37:41 AM
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10148 posts since 3/19/2009

Originally posted by stfiddler

There is no limit to what can be accomplished.

So far, so good, right?

Apr 26, 2022 - 10:43:42 AM

18 posts since 7/11/2018

That bridge slipped no more! ??

Apr 26, 2022 - 11:25:56 AM
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1512 posts since 5/13/2008

I had an old Kay stand-up bass once that had a long, 3/8 lag-bolt holding the neck on. I was told it had been like that for 50 years. So I left it alone.

Then once I took an old, not so good, fiddle to a, not so good, fixer of such things. I Asked if they could replace the nut that I have whittled out of a clothespin with a new ebony nut. When I went to get the fiddle they had just used a sharpie to blacken the existing nut...and they hadn't even removed the strings when they did it...the strings were all marked up with the black ink too.

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