A few of our most frequently asked questions:

  • I'm in the possession of my grandmother's violin! Is it really a "Stradivari?"   We're happy to evaluate any instrument that's brought into the shop.  We do charge for oral/written appraisals; however, we waive that fee if we feel the instrument doesn't warrant an appraisal.  You can always expect an honest and respectful evaluation from us.  We cannot evaluate any instrument over the phone or internet!  
  • So, my violin isn't a "Strad," but I'd still like to play it.  What's the next step?  We'll give you a free repair estimate, explain and itemize all work needed.  You can choose to leave it with us for repair, or you can take it home and come back at your convenience.  We do not give repair estimates without seeing the instrument in person first.
  • I bought an instrument online but something or another doesn't work on it.  Can you fix it?  Again, we carefully assess every instrument we work on.  Ideally, we'd love to restore every instrument to beautiful playing condition.  Unfortunately, many instruments sold online (affectionately called violin-shaped-objects) look like violins, but are often made with sub-par materials, or poor construction methods.  Sometimes, fixing one or two symptoms of these instruments may open a proverbial 'can of worms', resulting in repair costs that exceed the value of the instrument.  
  • What's the difference between cheap and expensive instruments?  As professional luthiers, we've spent years studying the intricate nuances of different instruments, their makers, and different cultural/historical approaches to the craft.  Instruments represent a strong tradition of craftsmanship and their value depends on their maker, documentation, pedigree, and current social value (supply & demand!).  There are too many different aspects to list here, but even inexpensive instruments should feature some basic standards of the craft.  The fingerboard should be planed and shaped properly, the bridge should be shaped to the instrument, there should be proper purfling (not painted on!), decently fitted pegs, and proper string heights.   These features ensure that the player won't be struggling to make their instrument work.  Even for the beginner, a proper set-up is an absolute must! 
  • What is rosin, anyway?  We get this one all the time, and it's a great question! Rosin is very important, and without it, even the best musician wouldn't get any sound out of their instrument.  There are many different brands and recipes of rosin, but ultimately, it is tree sap - tree sap that has been cooked and cured into a convenient travel size.  Rosin works by making the horsehair in your bow 'sticky,' providing the necessary friction to draw sound out of your instrument.  Generally, lighter rosins are hard and darker rosins are softer and stickier.  Most musicians discover their individual favorites as they grow, advance and discover the different effects on their instrument.  BUT, don't forget to wipe that sticky dust off your instrument when you're finished playing!