Long Overdue Viola Repair work...

in Music3 months ago

IMG_20201127_091420.jpg

It's pretty much a given in any field of endeavour... maintenance and upkeep of tools is a necessary but somewhat boring job that constantly gets put off until it is a disaster. Companies and Politicians put off maintenance as it makes the finances look pretty, until the moment of disaster... which hopefully occurs on someone else's watch. Like many things that offer easy budget balances, it is a false saving...

Anyway, in my case, I have put this repair work to my viola for quite some time now... almost four years. It's pretty much procrastination... I would tell myself that the viola was still in perfect playing condition, that I didn't have the time or any number of other excuses.

However, the cancellation of concerts with Coronavirus has taken away most of the excuses. I have the time, and I can miss the Baroque Viola for a few weeks while it is at the luthier. Of course, there is the cost... but as I said, false savings! Some things just NEED to be done... sooner rather than later... and better sometime rather than NEVER!

IMG_20181005_111655.jpg

About four or five years ago, I had toured to China and Japan with this Baroque Viola in the middle of summer. In the places that we were playing in, it was really quite hot and humid... even indoors and under air-conditioning. Anyway, that combined with the fact that we were still wearing full tails in heavy heat meant that the instruments were subjected to quite a bit of humid sweat from the playing in concerts and rehearsals. This combination of heat and humidity can really affect the varnish over a couple of weeks... and especially where it touches the body/clothing.

It was made even worse by a second trip through the warmer parts of Europe that worsened the problem.

On the back of the viola, you can see where it was touching my left shoulder (well, the jacket, and the leather that I use to separate it from me...) the varnish had worn away. In fact, the outer layer was completely gone, and the primer was also worn away in a good part of it. So, the wood was completely bare which could lead to some series long term damage... It also meant that sweat and grime got mixed in with the soft varnish... leading to quite an unsightly stain.

IMG_20181005_111703.jpg

The patch on the front side of the viola was smaller but much more noticeable. It is the spot where the instrument touches my chin, and this part gets quite humid in hot weather as it is also right up against my neck... and in hot weather with too many layers of formal clothes on... well, it is a tropical nightmare!

Unfortunately, the damage was also done to the artwork that the original maker had placed around the instrument between the two purflings. I don't think that can be easily repaired without a great deal of effort.

IMG_20201126_181123.jpg

So, finally, I took the Viola to a luthier a few weeks ago... and she promised that she would try to the best she could. Replacing the varnish wouldn't be a problem... but she wasn't sure how much she would be able to clean... and how noticeable the repair would be!

I picked up the Viola yesterday.. it's weird being away from it for so long... but these days, I'm not using it on a daily basis anyway. Plus, I had my violins to keep me company!

The varnish is nicely renewed on the back... it is really quite good work. She said it was a bit tricky to clean... she said it could have been better, but it would have taken much longer and cost much more, so I said that it was more than good enough! You can still see a little bit of the stain, and she did her best to keep the grain pattern underneath. You can only really see the repair work under the right angle of light... so I'm pretty happy! Also, more happy that there was no lasting damage to the wood underneath.

IMG_20201126_181128.jpg

On the front, she said that she wasn't able to do much with the design... but that was expected. However, the main part of the discolouration and thin varnish was completely repaired. It will look a little bit strange, but given the damage that I had caused to the design... I don't think it was possible to do better without a huge investment in time and money.

IMG_20201126_181140.jpg

Whilst the instrument was in her hands, I asked her to do a couple of other minor repair work as well... the most pressing of the jobs was the re-planing of the fingerboard. Over time, you get grooves from the strings and the fingers of the player and these can cause buzzes and alter the placement of the pitches when you put a finger down. So, it was nice to finally have that done... it's been about a decade since I last did it... and there were noticeable dints in the wood!

IMG_20201127_091420.jpg

Finally, when she took the strings off the instrument... the soundpost inside had fallen down. It happens, but when she went to replace it, she found that it was a touch too short for a good placement with the bridge. This meant that the sound wouldn't be optimally transferred and amplified between the strings and the sounding plates of the body. I asked her to replace the soundpost in that case... and now that I have the instrument back and had a little play, it is like a new instrument again!

There were a couple of bits that had a funny response in the past... and these are now fixed with the new soundpost and placement. Plus, the instrument is sounding deeper and fuller than before! She is a great luthier!


Upgoats by ryivhnn
Account banner by jimramones


The classical music community (Subscribe at Steempeak and Peakd) at #classical-music and Discord. Follow our community accounts @classical-music and @classical-radio. Community Logo by ivan.atman

Sort:  
Logo-comments2.pngYour post was reblogged by us and received a (still) small vote from the Music community on Hive.

Do you want to get involved? Do you want to support music and this project? Follow us to keep you updated and read our Introduction post!

Thank you for the support!

I saw the lead picture in @innerblocks discord and was like "Wow - @bengy has amazing joint rolling skills" Now I've read the post maybe I was a bit off the mark lol

Ha ha no, I'm afraid I have terrible joint rolling skills!

Your post has been supported and upvoted from the Classical Music community (Subscribe at peakd and Steempeak) as it appears to be of interest to our community. We also support jazz and folk music posts!

If you enjoy our support of the #classical-music community, please consider a small upvote to help grow the support account!

You can find details about us below.



The classical music community at #classical-music, Peakd, Steempeak and Discord. Follow our community accounts @classical-music and @classical-radio or follow our curation trail (classical-radio) at Hive Vote or SteemAuto!

Nice instrument minor damage to the chin possible that the cork was not placed under the bearing, thyme small but important where to put as well as the corners of the ends ,

the height of the bridge is just as important as its angle of curvature and the little things that are made on it, and the fingerboard is a little trickier to straighten if the recess is actually worn out

obviously who was playing too much was squeezing the strings which caused a dent as well as playing nobody

all in all a nice and well-arranged instrument to have work to do around it

:)

No cork under the chin rest, I'm an early music specialist... So no chin rest!

It is playing much better, probably time to send my violins to check up as well... Plus I need a new bridge for the d'amore!

Thanks for sharing your experience with us!
TIBLogo

You have been curated by @thekittygirl on behalf of Inner Blocks: a community encouraging first hand content, and each individual living their best life. Come join the Inner Blocks Community , and check out @innerblocks! #lifehappening

Thank you for the support!

pixresteemer_incognito_angel_mini.png
Bang, I did it again... I just rehived your post!
Week 33 of my contest just started...you can now check the winners of the previous week!
!BEER
5


Hey @bengy, here is a little bit of BEER from @pixresteemer for you. Enjoy it!

Learn how to earn FREE BEER each day by staking your BEER.

Congratulations @bengy! You have completed the following achievement on the Hive blockchain and have been rewarded with new badge(s) :

You made more than 21000 comments. Your next target is to reach 22000 comments.

You can view your badges on your board and compare yourself to others in the Ranking
If you no longer want to receive notifications, reply to this comment with the word STOP