www.StringRepair.com - Cello Neck Set & Peg Bushings

VIOLIN, VIOLA & CELLO REPAIR

Repair #6

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Neck Set & Peg Bushings

In January of 2005 this great French copy of a Guarneri cello came into our Mystic workshop for some setup work, namely a new nut, bridge, soundpost and tailgut.  Within a few months of our setup, the owner noticed the tone diminishing and the string heights getting higher and higher.  The owner put the old bridge back on and continued with lessons.  The owners teacher, finally finding the ever increasing string heights impossible to play, instructed her student to bring it back to us so that we could re-carve the bridge.  Putting the old bridge on the cello we were absolute in our conviction that the cello would have never left our workshop with such unplayable string heights.  Just a few seconds of investigation unveiled the culprit.  The neck was pulling free from it's mortise, and just 10 minutes of torque and alcohol got it to pull out completely.

This neck joint has been a persistent problem over the years as many different glues and shims are visible.  The mortise will be cleaned to bare wood and a chalk fit plug will be glued in place.  A new mortise will then be carved.

Although we recommended peg bushings in January due to the large diameter of the peg holes (which can make tuning very difficult) the owner elected not to bush it at that time due to budget (the instrument had just undergone a one year restoration a year previous from another workshop).  Since the cello was back in the shop, the owner decided to go ahead with our suggestion of bushings as the cello is VERY difficult to tune.  The existing ebony pegs will be trimmed down to the smallest diameter allowed by standard peg shapers and refit into the newly pushed holes.  Thinner pegs will allow for easier tuning, and pegs that stay in tune!

Stay tuned (no pun intended!) as we have just begun this repair.


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You can see the button & heel have failed. As well as most of the joint... A shim was inserted to raise the projection, and it too has all but come unglued (and fell out!!). So much old glue.  Glue on glue is a horrid joint and was sure to fail. So much old glue.  Glue on glue is a horrid joint and was sure to fail. So much old glue.  Glue on glue is a horrid joint and was sure to fail. So much old glue.  Glue on glue is a horrid joint and was sure to fail. So much old glue.  Glue on glue is a horrid joint and was sure to fail. Step one complete...all the glue cleaned off... HUGE PEGS!!! Peg holes cleaned up...   Fitting the bushings... Fit and trim... Close up... Zero kerf flexible Japanese saws work very well.  Notice the tape to protect the varnish.  It takes just one hicup or sneeze and the teeth leave a mark forever...

View of the bench





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