This post featured in Strings Magazine, May 2015
Opening up an old instrument you never know what you will find; players may know that their instrument has a lot of old cracks but they usually have little idea of what it looks like on the inside. While for a collector the ideal may be an instrument in “as new” condition, decay is inevitable and there is a certain beauty in the repair work itself: functional and aesthetic decisions have been made, the restoration could be the carefully orchestrated work of a single master or it may be the more random accumulation of quick fixes by many hands over many years; new work overlays old, age melds and mellows all.
Here are some of the more eye catching repairs that have passed through the shop.
On the outside of the instrument most repairers strive to hide their work, the most accomplished leave no apparent sign that they have been there, replacement corners and edges skillfully blended in may be virtually undetectable. On the other hand, a button gets a lot of wear and abuse and an accumulation of successive bouts of damage and visible repair can lead to unique features that the maker never imagined and can become a distinguishing feature of a particular fiddle. Here are a few favorite examples from a collection on my website andrewcarruthers.com