11

I know something is wrong with my fingerboard and I'm attaching a photo here. The fingerboard is too low with no projection at all.

enter image description here

I don't know if this is the right place to ask. I had given my violin for repair over 4 months prior for an issue;

enter image description here

I got this repaired and continued my practice. I had stopped practicing for last two to three weeks and after opening my violin today I saw the fingerboard and also, the gap that I had repaired had again opened up. So my violin right now looks like this

enter image description here

Is there anything I can do. Any help is really appreciated.

6
  • Where do you usually keep your violin? Do you have an hygrometer/termometer in the case? Jun 16 at 16:09
  • I keep it over my book shelf which is not very high. It's not kept near a heater or any other source of heat. It's kept inside it's shelf always.
    – Ruchi
    Jun 16 at 16:13
  • Indeed, there may be an element of 'do you live in Alaska or Singapore?' with a side dish of 'do you have aggressive heating/air-con?'
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 16 at 16:14
  • I do live in india, mumbai and the weather has been abruptly changing from a hot summer noon to heavy rain within days. However I don't use air con that often.
    – Ruchi
    Jun 16 at 16:19
  • That might cause large changes in heat & humidity - but… your repairer ought to be aware of that & how much influence it can have.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 16 at 16:57
11

It's hard to tell from the photographs* whether the entire neck has 'simply' sheared off, or whether there's some body collapse to go with it.

Either way, it needs a professional. Price up the cost of a repair against cost of a new instrument.
If this is the same damage as was already repaired, I'd have a serious word with whoever repaired it. Choice of; do it again, properly, or refund the cost & get someone better to do it.

*I gave the pictures a little tlc in Photoshop & it looks like just the neck joint now.

7
  • It's not completely clear from the OP, but it seems that it was repaired for another issue. And I really hope that's the case, otherwise I'd ask for a refund and never go to that luthier ever again. Jun 16 at 15:59
  • 2
    "the gap that I had repaired had again opened up" - sounds like a sharp word to the repairer is in order, to me.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 16 at 16:02
  • oh, right, I missed that. That's awful. The only situation for which this could happen, beside bad repairmanship, is if the violin wasn't kept in a safe place, possibly near a heat source or in some place with very high/low humidity (or frequent and abrupt changes of temperature/humidity). If that's the case, it's all on the OP. Jun 16 at 16:07
  • I had my Violin repaired for its neck. I posted this to check whether the fingerboard issue is related to the neck issue or is it another issue on its own separately.
    – Ruchi
    Jun 16 at 16:15
  • 1
    TLC = tender loving care;)
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 18 at 8:17
6

Looks like the whole neck has become detached from the body. If that was the original repair, it's back to the shop - either for a refund, or for the job done properly. If for another, unrelated reason a repair had to be done, it needs to go somewhere! It seems serious, but before it was a violin, it was those separate pieces of wood, which had to be glued together. It can be done again - by a pro.

EDIT: don't worry about the fingerboard itself. It's attached to the neck, and so the two will move together. The wrong way, as in the pic., the right way when it's all been glued properly back together. The fingerboard will then be at the same angle as original, so the violin will be playable again.

3

If you consider that:

  1. The instrument is not worth a proper (i.e. expensive) repair
  2. You cannot afford a repair or a new instrument (at least for now)
  3. You really need to continue your practice
  4. You can tolerate some degradation of the sound
  5. You don't intend to sell it
  6. You don't intend to perform before a picky auditory
  7. You don't say who gave you this advice

(all of the above)

... you can use some glue and 3-4 small (less than 2mm wide) screws for wood to fix the neck to the bottom.

Remove the strings first. And clean as much as practical of the old glue before removing the strings (after removing the strings, the gap will probably close).

(At minus 10 degrees Celsius guitars break in similar way, guess where I know from...)


Edit:

Yes, the two problems (fingerboard away from strings, bent towards the box and the neck unglued from the bottom) are pretty much related. The tension of the strings should be counteracted by the adhesion between the neck and the box. The the whole instrument should have a characteristic posture. Adhesion obviously failed and now the neck is at an improper angle in regards to the box, the whole instrument is bent.

Regarding humidity: The wood and the glue strength both depend on temperature and humidity, but the string tension depends on humidity and temperature, too.

Strings made of natural materials (the more expensive ones in most markets, not sure in Mumbay) somewhat self-tense when subjected to humid environment. This may move the pitch up as well as break not-very-healthy instrument like yours.

Strings made of artificial polymers (nylon, etc...) are more or less insensitive to humidity.

p.s.2 ...and I think "harder" and "softer" strings for violin do exist (but I am not a violinist and don't know for sure). "Softer" varieties should require less tension for a proper tuning.

p.s.3 Your questions hint that you are not very much used to simple mechanics and woodwork. If you choose to repair the instrument yourself, it is good to get a help from someone at least somewhat experienced in carpentry.

4
  • "Remove the strings first. And clean ... before removing the strings." A revision seems to be in order.
    – Aaron
    Jun 17 at 0:29
  • Not sure... removing the strings is the important part. Quite a lot of people don't read the second sentence.
    – fraxinus
    Jun 17 at 0:38
  • 1
    BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FINGERBOARD. Is it even a related issue? Please someone guide me on this as well
    – Ruchi
    Jun 17 at 4:36
  • 1
    Answer edited and expanded.
    – fraxinus
    Jun 17 at 8:26
1

This kind of lifting of the heel off of the button is often caused by an poorly fitted neck joint. If the heel isn't fitted flush to the end block when the instrument is made, the gap gets filled with glue instead of wood to wood contact, and all the stress of the strings is placed on the end button.

From the picture it looks like whatever glue or filler your repair person used either didn't set correctly, or softened due to heat or humidity.

A proper repair would have been to remove the neck completely, check and correct the fit of the heel to the block, and re-glue with the correct kind of glue. In this case it looks like some glue like substance was put in the separation and nothing else, which is why it failed.

As mentioned in the other answers, a proper neck reset can be expensive and the money may be better spent on purchasing an upgrade instrument. You might seek a re-repair or a refund from whoever did the work, because if properly repaired the joint should have held. I would ask for a refund, because whoever did the work wrong the first time probably isn't going to get it right the second time.

Screwing and gluing it yourself as fraxinus answered is something that does happen when the musician can't afford a proper repair or replacement at the time, but it does make it difficult to properly repair the instrument, and can cause further damage. I would only do that if the instrument is of low enough value that you would be eventually replacing it anyway.

4
  • 1
    Can you also comment about the fingerboard issue? Why is my fingerboard with no projection at all, is it because of the neck?
    – Ruchi
    Jun 17 at 4:51
  • yes, when the heel separates, the neck doesn't have any support against the tension of the strings making the fingerboard pivot and drop to the face. There is a specific angle and measurement that the fingerboard should be relative to the bridge, which is what correctly cutting the heel and end block joint determines. If your neck and heel block joint isn't cut correctly, or the button isn't connected, the fingerboard angle will be incorrect to the bridge height. The break is allowing the fingerboard to drop all the way to the face making it too low to the bridge. Jun 17 at 5:01
  • Thanks alot, so doing what fraxinus said, should also recover my fingerboard?
    – Ruchi
    Jun 17 at 5:15
  • yes, the end button can be screwed into the heel block to hold the neck into place. This is not generally a recommended repair as doing it correctly is usually a better option. If the instrument isn't worth the cost of a repair then putting a screw in is a workable option, just make sure that the neck is all the way in and the angle is as high as it can go before screwing it. Drilling a pilot hole first would be good to keep the wood from splitting. People have put together fiddles from all kinds of materials: youtube.com/watch?v=lf4ao1BWhDo&list=LL&index=3 Jun 17 at 5:25

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