As the parent of a violin student, you may be curious about how much you can expect to pay for a particular repair. While the cost of a violin repair may vary depending on the severity of damage, the luthier’s particular costs, or the age of the instrument, this list of common price ranges for student and intermediate violin repairs should give you a general idea of a) how much you can expect to pay for a particular repair and b) whether or not the damage is even worth repairing. Just remember: the actual price that’s quoted by your local repair shop may vary from the below, depending on a variety of factors.
Whether the bridge of your violin has warped in humid conditions or the tension of your strings has taken its toll over time, bridge replacements are one of the most common violin repairs. While warped bridges can be boiled, pressed, flattened, and dried back into place by a repair technician, a full replacement is often the easier option. This repair typically requires that a new piece be cut with precision so that it fits perfectly on the violin. This new piece is often included in the cost of the repair, which is $50-70 for student and intermediate-grade instruments, and $70-$100+ for professional violins.
If your child’s violin is making an irritating buzzing sound that won’t go away, there may be an opening between the sides of the instrument and the face and/or back. Referred to as an open seam, this opening is usually a very simple and quick repair when done correctly. This repair involves a special glue and shouldn’t cost more than $20-$30 for a student model. Although open seams typically aren’t a major issue, they can become a problem if they’ve been open a long time in conditions that can cause the wood to warp. If the wood is warped, this repair can be considerably more involved and expensive.
Crack in the Face
Cracks in the face, back, or ribs of the violin can be more serious than an open seam, especially if left untreated for an extended amount of time. The cost of the repair depends on the size and severity of the crack, and whether or not cleats are required. Like a broken bone, a crack in the face of a violin can be an incomplete fracture or a complete break through the wood. Regardless, cracks can be repaired via a special glue or clamps that arch across the top or back of the violin. Typically, this type of repair can cost between $100-$150. Cracks in your violin can be prevented by proper maintenance, including by controlling the humidity with a case humidifier.
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If you accidentally expose your violin to extreme temperatures, such as forgetting it in the trunk of your car in freezing weather overnight, the fingerboard of your violin could become warped or damaged. Depending on the severity of the damage your fingerboard may need to be re-glued ($30-$50), resurfaced ($60-$75) or replaced completely ($100-$150). In most cases it’s a simple fix- the old glue is removed or scraped off and the fingerboard is reset in place. To prevent the fingerboard of your violin from looking overly worn out, remember to wipe down the fingerboard after each and every use.
Chips and Scratches
In most cases, chips and scratches won’t affect the sound that’s produced by your violin; therefore, these repairs are usually performed for cosmetic reasons. If you chip your violin and the chip isn’t lost, it can easily be glued back into place. If the piece is lost, the repair will be a bit higher since the repair technician will have to carve or shape a piece of wood to replace it. Scratches can either be buffed out or filled with a matching varnish. If the scratches are miniscule you may be able to buff them out yourself paraffin oil and a soft cloth. If done professionally, this type of repair shouldn’t cost more than $30.
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Professional Cleaning & Polishing
If you aren’t comfortable cleaning and polishing your violin (or feel like treating it to a day at the spa) most luthiers and repair shops will offer this service as a standalone option. In many cases, they’ll throw it in for free if you take your violin in for another one of these repairs. Expect to pay about $20-40 for basic cleaning, and $60-90 for polishing. As everything else on this list, the price of cleaning and polishing are affected by supply and demand. If you live in a location that has access to many qualified luthiers or repair technician, or if your access is limited, the prices will reflect it.
In many cases, damage can be avoided by storing and transporting your instrument in a sturdy case. Here’s some tips for Choosing the Best Violin Case.