Ten-point Setup

1. Uncompromising attenton to detail $750 to $750,000

Whether we are preparing our least expensive instrument or a Stradivarius for sale, our attention to all of the details in this description remains the same. (Children’s instruments especially need a correct set-up to ensure ease of playability).

2. Preparation: neck angle and fingerboard preparation

Prior to all else it is essential that the neck of the instrument fit precisely and accurately. If the angle is too low the strings and bridge will be too low (bridge height, measured from the center of the instrument, should be 32 to 32.5 mm for most full-size violins). The fingerboard must be of dense ebony and smoothly planed as well as cambered to ensure clarity of sound and ease of movement.

3. Pegs: look, feel, fit

All must meet our exacting standard on every instrument we sell. Pegs that are hard to use often result in out-of-tune playing.

4. Bridge: best materials, best craftsmanship, individually tailored

Bridges are not just things that you buy and “stick on” the instrument. Good ones are delicate and sensitive trainsmitters of sound from the string to the body of the instrument. Our professionally crafted bridges are selected for each instrument individually and vary in hardness and density according to the design and materials of the instrument. They are then carved in different ways according to the nature of the individual instrument being set up.

5. Soundpost: best materials, best fit, cut from scratch 

Soundpost blanks can be bought as wooden dowels. Ours are cut from scratch to ensure better quality of material and in order to attain the most exacting standards of thickness, again tailored to the individual instrument.

6. Tailpiece: material, weight, shape (design)

Tailpieces can enhance the appearance of an instrument but first and foremost they have a much greater influence on the sound of the instrument than people often imagine. As they resonate with the string, the wrong length, weight or shape can adversely affect the sound. We look for light weight, simple but elegant design, and always avoid unnecessary decorations applied, especially metal ones, as they dampen the tone of the violin, just as a mute would. By the same token, whenever possible we avoid the use of more than one fine tuner in order to minimize the dampening of sound. On children’s instruments we use lightweight tailpieces with tuners built in.

7. E-tuner and tailgut: small but no less important

Our fine tuners are specifically selected to minimize weight, maximize ease of use, and to make sure that all strings are pulled to the same length, and therefore to equal tension and balance. Our tailguts don’t just hold the tailpiece on the instrument; their length is specifically tailored to the instrument on which they are installed. Too long, and the sound is weak and muffled, too short, and the sound becomes tight and choked.

8. String choice: tailored to your needs and to the voice of the instrument

We are often asked “what is the best string.” There are many fine strings on the market today. No more is there one best string than there is one best salad dressing. We match strings to instruments as a a part of our standard setup, and we tailor that to your needs as a part of our customer service, just as a good chef will recommend a choice of dressings for various salads, but will tailor those suggestions to the individual salad.

9. Chinrest: comfort, material, fit

We use nothing but hardwood chinrests to ensure comfort, accoustic and aesthetic benefits. Even the chinrest vibrates as the instrument is played. Plastic allows perspiration to remain on the chinrest, causing discomfort to the player. Our chinrests are professionally installed to ensure stability. When necessary we work with the musician to find the right design for the individual.

10. Adjustment: a team effort 

After all other steps are completed, we play each instrument, listening closely to balance and response. At this time we also double-check peg function, neck comfort, and other details that may need fine-tuning or further attention.