It occurred to me that when I first built my violin in October 2014, I said that I was going to write about it on here–and then I realized that it was now March 2016, and I had never gotten around to writing said post. Better late than never, I guess!
I say I built my violin in October 2014, but I suppose it would be more accurate to say that I finished building it in October. I actually got started on it in July, and it took me a few months to complete it. Before you ask, no, I didn’t carve the wooden pieces myself; they came pre-cut in a kit, and all I had to do was assemble them. Oh, and I also had to buy strings and fine tuners (the tailpiece didn’t have them built in).
Why did I build my own violin? Well, when I first asked myself that question, I countered it with, “Why not?” I suppose I was feeling unusually adventurous and wanted something to do over the summer (summers feel empty without 4-H projects to complete). Also, I have come to an important realization about myself–I enjoy a good challenge. I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing, but I suppose it’s a good thing to discover about myself while I’m still relatively young. And I wanted a chance to work with some higher-quality materials than my trusty Mendini MV300 to see if I could get a violin with a better sound without have to auction my kidneys on the black market.
It was a pretty straightforward process apart from accidentally cracking the wood by one of the F-holes and panicking that all of my work was ruined forever (which is why we have such things as glue). Also, it took a couple of tries for me to get the neck to sit properly against the rest of the body (and I’m still not sure I did it the right way).
It has a few quirks about it–you can see where I can to repair the crack for one thing, but it doesn’t dramatically impact the sound (sometimes you might notice a faint buzzing on the G string if you’re bowing a certain way, but that’s about it). The sound itself is surprisingly clear, especially since I think I put the sound post farther back than it’s supposed to sit. The neck doesn’t angle upward, so the strings sit at a weird distance from the fingerboard, and double-stops can be tricky at times, but I can usually get a good sound out of it.