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Oct 13, 2023 - 3:06:53 PM
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837 posts since 8/10/2017

I assumed the violin was broken, but it's actually not broken at all. So I got a free fiddle with case. I

The biggest issue is that I can't turn the peg for the E string. It's stuck. I've tried wrapping frozen peas around it and only got it to turn a tiny bit before it stuck again.

Also the fiddle and the case smell a bit musty. I washed the case with vinegar but I'm not sure what else to try.

The only other issue is that the middle strings are further apart in the center than they are on either side. Otherwise, it can be played.

The bow is okay, just has no hair.

My plan was to decoupage the case. That's the reason I bought it. The case is all wooden without anything I have to scrape off on the outside. Most of the inside is also bare. So it will be easy to glue the loose parts, line it with something and then decoupage the outside. I decoupaged my other case with Christmas sheet music and lots of people think it looks really cool.

Any other ideas for unsticking the peg? It's jammed in there pretty good.

Oct 13, 2023 - 3:19:12 PM
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2991 posts since 6/26/2007

My late friend Lyle Reedy use a spring loaded punch with the point ground flat to pop them out. Here is an example.  You could also try tapping it out with a small punch and small hammer. But Lyle's tool shot the peg across the room with not damage to the pegbox or fiddle.

Oct 13, 2023 - 5:04:25 PM
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837 posts since 8/10/2017

Thanks. Instead of a spring loaded punch there was a bag full of extra things in the case. There's a tiny little bridge that is too small for this fiddle (I wonder why it's there), some spare pegs and what looks like somebody starting to carve a peg. I took that partially carved peg and placed it on the end of the stuck peg and hit it with a pair of scissors (whatever was handy). Finally I was able to get it loose.

I put $90 strings on this $25 violin and would you look at that! It's a pretty decent fiddle. The strings are a little higher than I'm used to but it works perfectly. It's super loud. There's nothing wrong with it at all. What a score! I paid $600 for my fiddle and this one is just as good. It even has pretty striped wood. My fiddle doesn't have any of that striped wood.

Oct 13, 2023 - 5:11:49 PM



507 posts since 6/26/2007

What a wonderful deal you got. Congrats.

Oct 13, 2023 - 6:58:32 PM
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3420 posts since 10/22/2007

Isn't it a kick to get an old fiddle to sing after years of being silently sleeping?
It reminds me of that poem and song, "Touch of the Master's hand."

Oct 14, 2023 - 2:45:47 PM
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4406 posts since 6/22/2007

The best instruments are those that find us! Congratulations!

Take it to a qualified luthier, have him/her check it out and set it up properly. It may need to have the sound post adjusted, shape the bridge, do minor cleaning, etc. Since you put on new strings and you are very pleased with the sound, it sounds like this investment is worth it.

Here's my story as an example. I was recently gifted an old 1895 trade fiddle (Wilhelm Duerer) by a friend. The fiddle had not been played since 1935 and had not even seen the light of day since 1970. It was being stored under a bookcase! I took it to my luthier who cleaned it, cut a proper bridge and put on new strings. There were no cracks and no structural issues. It is just an incredible instrument! My total investment was about $100. The instrument is nearly mint condition! -Really! Only a couple of very minor, almost unnoticeable dings from old rosin in the case and a little, discolored mark near the finger board from the bow rubbing on it. No damage to the finish itself. Just can't buff out the faint blemish.

The best story about gifting that I have heard was when we were in Cape Breton recently. The fiddler told the story of how she came by her instrument. It was gifted to her by someone she did not know and under the condition that it may never be sold. She said that it may only be gifted to a younger fiddler who showed promise. I intend to do this with my gifted instrument.

Oct 16, 2023 - 1:55:38 PM

886 posts since 1/25/2008

Take it to a good luthier! Does it have a soundpost in it? Is it in the correct position? Sounds lie it needs a proper bridge. Ho does that old saying go? "You don't know what you don't know." Get it set up correctly, and it will be even better.

Oct 16, 2023 - 2:48:26 PM

837 posts since 8/10/2017

I've been playing it the last few days. It is really loud and it really rings out. There is a post inside and I don't know how you decide it's in the right place or not, but the fiddle sounds good.

The bridge is way too high. I looked up correct bridge heights and measured it as best I could and it's several mm too high. It looks from the spare parts that someone had tried to start fixing the fiddle and gave up. The bridge is brand new looking and there are spare pegs and partially carved, unfinished pegs and a really tiny bridge that is way too small and a tiny tail piece that is also way too small. The pegs on the fiddle are mix-and-match and they stick out too far and one of them isn't even round. There seems to be a buzzing sound coming from somewhere.

If I can find someone who can fix it up for me I think it'll be a decent fiddle. I have a friend who does this as a hobby but I haven't seen him at the jam in a long time.

The label only says Copy of Antonius Stradiuarius Made in Germany, with no year. A label that looks the same turned up somewhere on the interwebs with a description that they sold these out of the Sears catalog in the late 1800s. That actually seems kinda cool to me. It looks pretty old because it's cracked and repaired many times (so somebody must have played it for a long time) and has so many dings on it they couldn't have all happened on one occasion.

I swapped the $90 strings over to my regular fiddle and put the old strings from my regular fiddle on this one. I've started gluing the old case back together and trying to get the smell out. I'm not sure I'll ever get the mildew smell out of the case.

Oct 27, 2023 - 7:10:56 PM
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6529 posts since 9/26/2008

Have you tried just setting the case out in the sun? You have plenty of it in sunny California ;-)
Maybe also add a dusting of baking soda that sits for a few days then empty it and do that a few times over the course of a week or two?

Oct 28, 2023 - 3:33:23 PM

3420 posts since 10/22/2007

Careful of that buzzing sound. The top or bottom may have separated from the sides somewhere. Sometimes hard to see, without a light behind the separation. Hide glue is great because it allows a violin to be disassemble and reassembled. But it can work for or agin your favor.

It's great the fiddle sounds good! A good luthier won't (shouldn't) take that away.

Edited by - farmerjones on 10/28/2023 15:36:46

Nov 4, 2023 - 10:04:10 AM
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837 posts since 8/10/2017

I got it back from my friend. He fixed the pegs and the bridge, put a new tailpiece on it, hid a lot of the chips and dings with polish or whatever and even put hair on the bow. It plays well. Seems like a decent fiddle, definitely at least better than a $100 fiddle.


I decorated the inside of the case, as you can see. And here's the outside of the case that I also decorated. I just wanted to decorate something and got a fiddle out of the whole deal.

Decoupaged case

Nov 4, 2023 - 11:10:07 AM
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507 posts since 6/26/2007

You've done a wonderful job decorating the violin case inside and out. The violin looks as though it's been repaired and probably sounds great. Congrats on the entire deal.

Jan 30, 2024 - 10:21:56 PM

6 posts since 1/20/2024

From the case I would guess it was made between 1895-1910.

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