Is it important to have regular checkups for my instrument or bow?
Overall health and condition greatly affect the value, playability, and tone quality of an instrument. The goal of Claire Givens Violins is to provide expert information and professional restoration in order to maintain the best sound and response of an instrument or bow. It is important to realize that even changes in humidity and the change of season can negatively affect an instrument.
How is the price of an instrument or bow determined?
Factors that contribute to determining the selling price of an instrument or bow include the maker’s reputation/level of expertise, health/condition of the instrument or bow, workmanship, quality of materials used, world market prices, and sound/playability. Claire Givens and Andrew Dipper have a combined 65 years of experience in the marketplace and maintain a high level of market expertise via research and professional memberships.
Why do instruments sometimes suffer open bouts and cracks?
It does not mean that there is a defect with the wood. Dry weather (low humidity) can cause the glue holding the bouts closed to come loose. Cracks and open bouts will affect the tone of an instrument and should be re-glued immediately. An open bout is the instrument’s way of dealing with dryness and is better than having a crack develop. If a crack should form, it could be quite dangerous to continue to play the instrument. If you suspect a crack, bring the instrument in immediately!
How do “used” instruments or bows compare with new in terms of value?
If properly maintained, a fine instrument or bow will actually increase in value (appreciate) over time. Unlike purchasing a new car, a high-quality, well-maintained instrument will not depreciate.
Why do I have to keep having my violin adjusted?
As each instrument leaves our workshop, it is adjusted to sound its best at that moment in time. However, a violin is made from many individual parts and several different types of wood. Wood, being a porous material, is sensitive to changes in atmosphere, temperature, and especially humidity. As each part of the violin expands or contracts at a different rate, factors like the neck angle or the tightness of the soundpost change, which in turn will influence the quality of the sound. Another reason an instrument may go out of adjustment is because of movement of the bridge; this may happen during daily use, either while the player is straightening it or through it accidentally being knocked. Even a small movement of the bridge can have a large impact on the sound and response of an instrument, so often a small adjustment is all that is needed to restore your violin to its usual beauty of tone.
Do you have special package prices?
When searching for a new instrument, it is important to match it with a bow that works well with it. After all, each instrument and bow works uniquely together. Therefore, each instrument, bow, and case is sold separately. We do offer a 3.5% prompt pay discount for payments by cash or check.
Do you rent instruments and bows?
We do not have a rental program. However, we do offer a 100% trade-in policy for any instrument or bow purchased at Claire Givens Violins. Owning an instrument worthy of trade gives you maximum flexibility in the marketplace.
Why do I need a new pearl eye or pearl slide on my bow? It’s just for decoration, isn’t it?
While a pearl slide is a beautiful fixture, it has an important function in holding the bow hair in the frog. The slide needs to fit properly so it can be removed and replaced when your bow is rehaired. The surface of the slide should line up with the surrounding ebony to protect the wood. If the pearl becomes cracked or worn away, the ebony edge on either side of the slide can become rounded. In addition to being a difficult additional repair, this ebony damage can affect the value of your bow.Although pearl eyes have only an aesthetic function, worn, cracked, or missing pearl eyes can lead to the same type of ebony damage as that of a worn slide.
How do I know when my bow needs rehairing?
There are several signs that indicate it is time to have your bow hair replaced. A most obvious sign is that of missing hairs. Hairs most commonly break off from the playing side of the bow. Continuing to play on a bow that has many hairs missing from one side can not only cause the bow to respond less effectively but can bring on or aggravate warping of the stick. Should you find yourself using more rosin than usual and not getting enough grip on the strings, it is time to change the hair. As a rule of thumb, most players find they need a rehair at least once a year.It is important to have your bow rehaired when the hair is too long or short. Hair length can change drastically with the change of seasons and humidity levels. It is important not to force a bow you are having trouble tightening or loosening; bring it to the shop before further damage occurs. Ignoring a bow in this condition can lead to damage of the inner parts of the bow and may cause cracks in the butt of the bowstick.
Why should I have my leather thumb grip replaced? It’s comfortable the way it’s worn down.
The leather thumb grip and the metal, plastic, or whalebone winding beneath it play an important role in protecting the bow stick from the abuse of playing. Depending on your bow hold and body chemistry, holding the bare wood of your bow can cause the wood to be worn away, thus weakening the stick and affecting the bow’s value. Some players are advised to have the butt of the stick (above the frog) covered with leather or a special clear tape to protect both the wood and the bow’s stamp.
There is a piece of my bow tip plate missing. Is it important?
The ivory, bone, or plastic plate seen on most bows functions as an important protection for the delicate wooden tip end of the stick. It is lined with ebony or fiber for added protection. Any crack in the wood of the stick in this area can quickly render a bow useless and/or valueless. The tip plate is your bow’s first line of defense against this type of damage. A crack in this tip plate can, in some cases, continue through the lining into the bow wood if left unrepaired. A missing portion of the tip plate leaves the bow tip extremely vulnerable to damage from the slightest tap against any object.
My bow’s frog is cracked. Should I be concerned?
The cause of many cracked frogs is a “wobbly” frog. Such a condition is due to a poorly adjusted eyelet or enlarged screw pilot hole. Such cracks can affect your bow’s value and are best repaired early. Correcting the cause of the wobbly frog situation can minimize the potential for such cracks. Frog cracks can easily progress from one end of the frog to the other, resulting in a piece falling off completely. This is a serious situation, especially when loose pieces are lost.