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GUEST,Songster Bob Obit: eulogy for a fiddle (25) RE: Obit: eulogy for a fiddle 29 Aug 06

The fiddle can be repaired. The problem is how much it would cost. Essentially, the repairman would be piecing together each part, including paper-thin patches inside each (going cross-grain, for added strength), and then gluing the whole back together again. Some repairs even call for replacement pieces of wood, patched into the top or back, but it's best if you don't have to do that, since the characteristics of new wood won't be the same as the old.

So the question is, is it a good enough instrument to take the time, money and effort? If it had a label from 1789 or so, it probably was a decent, and decidedly old, instrument, but may not have been a really "good" one, as violin-makers and collectors see it. I think you should take it to a reputable repairman for an estimate -- value, cost to repair and time to do so -- and make your decision based on that.

If you know you're not ever going to be in the neighborhood of paying for the repair, then set it aside till you hit the lottery. If you can sink $1000 (my guess as a low figure for the kind of repair described) or so into it, then have the estimate done. They don't usually charge for repair estimates (though they often charge for valuations).

And I know how you feel about it, I can tell you. I had a guitar knocked to the floor by a waiter once, and the heel block split vertically, inside the neck join. It turned out to be not so expensive to repair, but it gave me a sick feeling to see a Martin with a wiggley neck like that.


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