DIY Violin Repairs
We highly recommend that all repairs be done by a qualified luthier. However, some people enjoy attempting a repair on an inexpensive instrument, and there are some repairs that can be done by the layperson.
So here are some guidelines:
- Do nothing that is irrevocable or will harm the instrument.
- Don't try to fix anything unless you know what you are doing.
- Be prepared to pay a professional to repair your 'fix'.
Fittings are not part of the instrument, so they are fair game for self-repair. You can safely:
- glue a cracked tailpiece
- put on or remove a fine tuner
- tighten, loosen, replace, or move a chinrest
- replace strings
- drill a new string hole in a peg
- glue a cracked peg
Few non-luthiers use hot hide glue. There is a liquid hide glue on the market, but it is prone to creeping. It is fine to use on the nut, which the strings hold in place, but a fingerboard glued with liquid hide glue may slip. Plan on having it reglued by your luthier eventually.
The instrument itself should be approached with the greatest of caution. Most repairs to the body are best left to a professional luthier. In a pinch, you could glue an open seam (not a crack!) with liquid hide glue. Your luthier will probably have to reglue it, but it will hold for awhile.
- NEVER use any sort of carpenter's glue or epoxy.
- Do not attempt to reglue a crack.
- Do not try to change the neckset.
- Do not try to ream pegholes unless you have the proper equipment. Pegs are replaceable; the pegbox isn't.
It is best to have your luthier check over any repair that you do. A professional luthier has the tools and skills to repair your instrument properly, and the expertise to adjust it for the best possible sound.
The New England Luthiers is an association of professionals and amateurs brought together by a common love of making stringed instruments