"What's Wrong With My Violin?"

It’s happened to the best of us: you take your instrument out of its case, touch the bow to the strings, and cringe at just how terrible the resulting sound is. It can be a bit scary when you notice a sudden change in sound with seemingly no cause. However, in most cases these changes in sound quality can be attributed to relatively common problems with potentially simple solutions.

Where to look first

If you’re asking yourself “what’s wrong with my violin?” there are a few places you should check first. The issue could lie with the strings. Perhaps they’re too old, in which case the sound quality may be impaired by the strings’ looseness and flatness. But even new strings won’t vibrate properly without rosin. Rosin coats the bow hairs in a and produces friction when the bow makes contact with the string. This is necessary if you have any hope of producing an enjoyable sound.

If your strings are in good shape and your bow is properly rosined, the problem may be related to the body of the instrument itself. The vibrations from violin strings are transferred down the bridge to the body, but if the bridge is curved, warped, or otherwise improperly positioned, the sound cannot be transmitted. If you’ve never adjusted a bridge before, get someone to show you how first to prevent damaging your violin. You should NEVER try adjusting your instrument’s soundpost on your own, since it has to be precisely fitted in order to carry the sound from the bridge to the back of the instrument. Always bring the instrument to your local luthier for their expert service.

If you’ve checked all the parts of your violin up until this point and still haven’t found the problem area, pay attention to the seams on the body of your instrument. If you notice a buzzing sound when attempting to play, you may have an open seam. This is a common problem during changes in the seasons, so if you suspect an open seam, you should take your violin to your luthier for a checkup. 

Getting the good vibrations back

In need of new strings, rosin, or other violin accessories to repair your instrument? Johnson String Instrument has everything you could need to get your instrument back in top condition. Visit our online catalog to view our expansive selection of instruments and accessories.

Additional Resources

Carriage House Violins

Located in Newton, Massachusetts, Carriage House Violins is the instrument sales division of Johnson String Instrument.

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Johnson String Project

A charitable foundation whose goal is to provide high-quality instruments to children who live in under-served communities and who are participating in El-Sistema-inspired programs in Massachusetts.

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