makes a fine instrument a fine instrument, and why shouldn’t
my instrument play like a professional’s? I suppose these
two questions are synonymous. We see professional-level instruments
that play and sound like a tin can and quite inexpensive instruments
that play great and sound pretty good too. All fretted and orchestral
stringed instruments must start with one absolute: the angle of
neck to body must be correct! The correct angle ensures that bridge
height or saddle heights are tall enough to set the proper string
height to fingerboard for playability and not so high as to produce
a brittle, biting tonality. Instruments with too low an action or
bridge/saddle height have no power and projection (see Fretted
setup or Orchestral
setup for more about correct measurements).
the neck/body relationship is the first step of our thinking process
with every instrument we look at when beginning a repair or restoration.
The type of repair we need to undertake is determined not only by
the damage that exists but also whether the neck to body relationship
What is the difference between a repair and a restoration? This
is a question often asked of us. In my mind, the difference is whether
there is a single point of damage that fixed will bring an instrument
back to a state of playability, or multiple points of concern and
the goal is to bring the instrument back to its original condition,
sometimes better. “Restoration” is the term often associated
with repairs to older instruments. Restoration is bringing an instrument—often
an old or heavily played one—back to its former glory, especially
when the work is quite major, due to damage and the ravages of time.
A neglected instrument that has fallen into total disrepair due
to lack of humidity, rough use, or water damage can require many
weeks of exacting work.
often see instruments from the 18th and 19th centuries that have
had great and/or horrible work done to them. I find the detective
work involved in restoring old instruments to be one of the most
interesting aspects of my field. Who did what and when? Did they
sign their work or will their identity be forever unknown? Problems
may stem from poor workmanship or lack of information about modern
and correct measurements, collapsing fretted instrument bodies,
or well-built instruments that were just built using incorrect measurements
or on an old standard, or the worst of all, incompetent workmanship.
Amateurs abound in the field and have ruined hundreds of thousands
of instruments through the centuries.
At Woodsound, we have over 85 collective years of learning and
experience in the field, doing careful and inventive work, which
will see your instrument returned in the best of health and to its
greatest value. You will see, play, and enjoy your instrument to
its utmost with the Woodsound difference.
To enhance your understanding of what we do, we offer the linked
pages in the lists below to show you the depth to which we go in
restoration of both orchestral and fretted stringed instruments.
We hope you will enjoy the photo essays and feel the love we put
into our craft and the joy we receive by sharing and educating you,
our musical audience. These pages are not intended as a primer or
a how to, but to let you know about a few of the restorations we
have done for our hundreds of clients over the course of more than
40 years, to show you the extent of the types of work we do, and
to assure you about how we will treat your precious instrument.
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