Restoration of Old Violins Advanced Techniques Part Five The Saddle

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Strobel's motivation in publishing these handbooks from his delightful country workshop is purely and simply to help someone out here to share in the great pleasure of building an instrument to be proud of. I am sure he has already succeeded many times over. Ribs, corners, graduation, barring, selected repairs. Creativity and copying, fads and fundamentals. Illustrated with over 70 photographs and diagrams. For the violin maker, repairer, and connoisseur.

All of these titles are recommended to anyone with even a passing interest in violin literature. This classic handbook is the standard reference for violin, viola, cello, bass, bows, all sizes. Illustrated, with select bibliography. Cross reference of violin terms in four languages. Essential for anyone working with bowed instruments. A shop reference manual. Chapters on bow rehairing and repairing. Repairing and retouching cracks in instruments. Orientation, guidelines, and annotated bibliography for the connoisseur. Now contains an illustrated chapter showing the repair of a fine violin smashed in a car crash.

Henry Strobel's translation from the original French is the first appearance in English of this classic from Strobel's translation is wonderful. In addition to his other talents as engineer, luthier, scholar, and author, I believe there must also be something of the poet. This video, running almost 6 hours, can supplement the "Step by Step" books for violin, viola or cello, but is also an independent educational resource for anyone interested in the practical procedures and artistic processes of the violin maker, which are described and demonstrated close-up and in detail by Henry Strobel in his workshop.

Makers and would-be makers will be interested in practically every scene; others will want to fast-forward in areas, but will find much of interest. As in his books, Mr. Strobel has a personal, but clear presentation.


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In addition to the traditional procedures he includes some innovative or alternative ones, equally professional. The procedures of the violin maker are shown in this video using a cello as an example - hence the title and subtitle. They are generally similar for violin, viola and cello. The individual "Step by Step" books illustrate the differences.

Photos and more about the video. About Chuck Traeger - one of the great jazz bassists! Fine photos of him and his fellow artists.

Fiddle Repair Can Be Fun Part 2

Author Chuck Traeger is an artist bassist and expert repairer who operated a top professional bass shop in New York City for many years. David Brownell is an expert repairer, bassist, and long-time editor of the Michigan Violinmakers Association Journal. He provided the photos throughout the book.

This big new book is the bible for the bass - information that you will not find anywhere else! Most is special to the bass, but much applies to other instruments too.


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  • It's for the player who wants more and better sound, and for the maker and repairman who will provide it. Detailed, clear, and efficient techniques for practically any repair. Thoroughly illustrated, pages.

    10 Replies to “Fiddle Repair Can Be Fun Part 2”

    Traeger's book touches on everything from scrolls to endpins, bows to bridges, C-extensions to broken necks, mode matching to dovetail keys, and just about everything else in between. This is an extremely helpful book that can help every bass player gain a solid understanding of their instrument and will serve as a reference book for the professional repairman. Again, this book is a must for the library of anyone who touches the double bass. Each type of repair is described thoroughly and in great detail. The manual includes information on bass-specific techniques such as fitting a low C-extension on the scroll and sound adjustments for jazz players; and general string-instrument techniques such as fitting adjusters to a bridge, high saddle, making purfling and fitting patches.

    There is also a section on bows which takes into account the budget and quality of the instrument, and many other low-budget techniques including ironwork, rethickness-ing, and plywood bass repairs are also discussed. Traeger understands the acoustic properties of the bass and considers these in his approach to all aspects of bass maintenance and repair. I found especially interesting his opinion on the differences in sound between the Italian, French and German schools of bass making, and his approach on how to optimise the instrument's sound.

    I would recommend this book to anyone wishing to learn more about the double bass' construction and sounds. It represents a lifetime of craft and professional work in the field. Both David Brownell and William Merchant contribute a lot of information and perspective. Just the chapter on installing a fingered C extension for your customer who suddenly discovered the music of Wagner is worth the cost of this book.

    Thanks for the lifetime of hard work and the ability to share it with the rest of us, Chuck! The rabbit glue will be fine, all the hide glues basically are the same. A step-by-step article would be fantastic!

    Catalog of the Strobel Violin Books

    Is there any way I can be helpful in the process of getting the article together? I may also decide to make a parallel article about following your instructions on my own young blog. Also you will see the tapered slot the mortise that the neck heel the tenon should fit into. As for helping, well thanks but I am in rural France….

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    Your website is easy to use and looks great. Happiness and hope to you and yours, Mr. Hi I am so sorry not to have replied sooner. I will get the repair done as soon as I can set aside time, and thanks for the support! I have a low spot on my fingerboard, minuscule but can affect intonation and ruins a vibrato with the third finger. I am pretty experienced with wood, tools, home improvement, etc. Any advice, or should I just take it to a fiddle repair shop?

    It depends on the value of the instrument. The proper repair would be to remove the nut and resurface the whole board down to the level of the hollow. Then adjust the bridge and the nut till the action is right. Ebony, even though it is hard and dense, is really easy to sand, and if you go down this route remember to use a backing board behind the sandpaper. Proceed very slowly and check often with a straightedge. Remember that there should be a slight relief in the board to allow for the curvature of the sounding string.

    Measure this at the octave with a straightedge and feeler gauges before you begin, and try to finish close to that. DO NOT overdo the relief though. However, you could do as you suggest with no great risk, since it could easily be corrected by doing as I just said. I would use epoxy resin — black if you can get it, or mix in a little black powder pigment — charcoal will do fine. Araldite is popular in the UK, there will be something suitable in the hardware shop.

    A few thin coats is as always better than one thick. Fill the area to a little proud, then sand down again using a board behind the paper. I have never had to do this on a fiddle but have rescued several guitars where long-nailed players had worn away the board using this technique. Clearly if this is a 10, dollar fiddle you might want to take great care, but neither repair is all that challenging.

    Rod- I was able to go through with the repair a week or so ago. I used JB Weld Woodweld, a 2 part epoxy recommended for wood, into which I mixed some powdered charcoal to get it black. I applied it with a plastic knife and scraped it down to fairly thin. I also formed a sanding block by applying the woodweld over a small block and covering that with a piece of paper of the same size, and squeezing it against the broad area of the fingerboard with rubber bands.

    This arc was not as tight as that of the fingerboard but I used it anyhow, placing grit paper on it, doing most of the removal of excess epoxy, and then went to grit. I checked my work mainly by lightly rubbing my fingertip along the area treated, feeling for high spots. When it felt smooth and uniform, I was done. The color was lighter than the ebony, so I used a black permanent marker on the material and wiped it with a tissue moistened with denatured alcohol to even out the application.

    Looks pretty good and seems to play right, if I say so myself. If I had it to do all over again, I would probably do it. But how to get the epoxy thin? And I would try to make a better sanding block, or even purchase the right tool.