Dodd Violin Shop
775-348-7492 (new)

10am - 6pm,
please call to confirm

by appointment only

429 Wonder Sreet, Reno NV 89502

new tailpiece block

Set-up and Adjustment of String Instruments

a new bridge

The set-up and adjustment of your violin, viola, cello, or bass is our specialty. The specialized training and experience of our staff is unequaled in Northern Nevada.

When a Bridge becomes warped (and fails to support the strings in a straight line), or doesn't fit the top of the instrument: We can make a high-quality THIN replacement, improving sound quality and optimizing the height of strings above the fingerboard.

The Fingerboard can develop issues over time: After a few years of playing, small pits can develop under the strings were notes are played, creating a need to "plane" the fingerboard flat. (But, when a fingerboard has been planed multiple times, it might be to thin to plane again: In this case, it will need to be replaced.)

At the other end of the Fingerboard, the Nut also plays a critical role in determining height of the strings over the fingerboard: A nut which is too low will allow the "open string" to buzz against the fingerboard. But a nut with grooves which are too high requires excessive effort and finger pressure to reach the fingerboard, especially in double-stopped notes. Intonation becomes undependable, and playing becomes difficult.

There are also two critical "set-up" part hidden inside of String instruments, except on guitars: The Soundpost lies a short distance "behind" the Bridge (underneath the higher-pitched "Bridge foot"). When the strings are tuned up to proper pitch, this part prevents the top of the instrument from collapsing and cracking. But the Soundpost must be fit into the exact right "nodal point" position under the top of the instrument. The height must allow for proper vibration (not to tight), while also being "tight enough" to never fall over. And the two ends must be angled to fit the inside surfaces of the instrument top and bottom perfectly.

The replacement or re-fitting of a Soundpost is not expensive, because we do not have to remove the top of the instrument. A properly-fit Soundpost allows the instrument to vibrate correctly, creating great sound.

Opposite the Soundpost, the Base Bar lies underneath the top, near the G string, but at a angle completely perpendicular to the violin body. This part must be carved and fitted with extreme care, in 3 dimensions. It spreads vibration aong the surface of the top, and also assists to dampen unwanted vibrations which harm overall sound.

Very few Base Bars have been carved and fitted correctly to begin with. They also wear out over time.

Major and Minor Repairs

new tailpiece block

We distinguish "repair of the instrument" from "set-up" according to tradition: Parts which are expected to require replacement (Pegs, Bridges, Fingerboards, Fingerboard Nuts, and Soundposts) are issues of "set-up", while the main body of the instrument (and the peg box, as well) are considered to be "core components". Core components are nearly always repaired, rather than replaced.

The photo (above) show a the inside of a good Amati copy. Before repair, it could not be tuned, because the block for the "end button" had broken loose. (This block handles the tension of all 4 strings.) Our replacement block is very strong, and ready for drilling the tube to receive the end button

Crack Repairs usually require us to remove the top of an instrument, while Open Seams between the front (or back) and sides can generally be glued and clamped for a very low cost. It is always better and cheaper to repair cracks and open seams as soon as possible: Over time, open cracks will become longer, and unglued seams allow the parts to warp out-of-line from each other.

Bow Rehair

bow rehair tools

Like tires and brakes in a car, the horse hair on bows wears out over time. Worn hair which fails to "grip" the strings needs to be replaced. We recommmend that bows be re-haired after 6 months of typical use.

We use quality Mongolian white horse hair, and also offer black for bass bows. We take pride in our knowledge of the very simple, yet exact features that make bows work. While some repairmen have a habit of using drills and epoxy, the bows that leave our shop will be void of these, and instead be easily accessible for future work. The plugs we cut for each bow can often be reused. We rehair bows starting at $40 labor + $10 parts.

For the special case of low-cost "student" bows, we will sometimes recommend buying a new bow instead: A new bow is usable immediately, and will often cost a bit less than the labor-intensive "rehair".

Instruments and Bows

violins and violas

The Angel Taylor instruments from Century Strings are the best in their price range. The quality of materials and design are exceptional for the student level. Each instrument is thoroughly inspected and adjusted accordingly by Dodd Violin Shop for maximum play-ability. Typical modifications made to these instruments before sold include peg and bridge adjustments; correcting tuning stability; and setting optimal string height and spacing. These are important features even for a beginner, because it promotes easier learning with less frustration.

Models in Stock

110 Violin (1/32 - 4/4)650 Viola (many sizes)
120 Violin (1/16 – 4/4)110 Cello (1/16 - 4/4)
220 Violin (1/4 – 4/4)220 Cello (1/4 - 4/4)
320 Violin (1/2 – 4/4)320 Cello (1/2-4/4)
420 Violin (1/2 – 4/4)Angel Taylor Basses (many sizes)

We also have instruments of higher quality, suitable for advanced players and professionals. Please visit the shop or phone to to obtain a summary of our current offerings. New instruments by Tim Dodd may also be commissioned. The photo at the top of this Web page is an example of Tim's most recent work, and that particular Violin is now available for serious inquiries.

Student Bows start at prices under $50, and we have a broad selection of carbon-fiber and pernambuco bows in higher price ranges.

Strings, Cases, and Accessories

Dominant A String

We have a wide variety of cases, shoulder pads, chin rests, end pin holders, and rosins to keep your instruments and bows "up and running" at all times. On Violins and Violas, we generally use Dominant Strings - except on the Violin "E", where some alternatives might be used to create slight differences in tension, sound, and playability. For Cellos and Basses, we work with Kaplan, Pro-Arte, Helicore, and Prelude strings.