Homewood Musical Instrument Company Birmingham, Alabama
Upgrading a Cheap Chinese VSO (violin shaped object)
to a nicely playable musical instrument
|Although the lesser Chinese VSO arrive from the
factory in a less than playable condition, they can be coaxed into good
playing condition with a little effort. You will need to secure
the instrument to your bench top as we will soon get physical.
I use a large Jorgenson screw clamp bolted to my bench to secure the neck.
Remove the pegs; strings and tailpiece and set them aside for a while. Prepare to remove the nut next.
|I use a scrap piece of rosewood as a "nutknocker". Placed the end of the rosewood against the nut and give it a solid whack with a mallet. Sometimes the whole nut will pop right off.||We will be replacing the nut with a piece of ebony soon. Use a sharp chisel to clean up the end of the fingerboard to a 90 degree angle.|
|Since the fingerboards on a VSO are rarely suitable for playing, we will quickly profile the fingerboard. First, we will get rid of that awful Japaned finish with a sharp cabinet scraper. You can also use a razor blade or knife, but a cabinet scraper will really hog the finish off. (provided you can correctly sharpen a scraper) Maybe that would be a good subject for another page.||
Halfway done, what happened to the ebony?
|After all the black stuff has been removed, we can take a close look at the fingerboard. I use a good steel rule.||
Mark high spots with a pencil.
|I use a fingerboard template to check the profile of the fingerboard.|
|You can buy this sandpaper file at most automotive finishing supply stores. I glued a piece of plate glass to the platen and glued a piece of 40 grit abrasive cloth to the glass.||The 40 grit paper removes wood at a good clip, you will have to follow up with several finer grades of paper to get a good finish.|
|Use the rule and template to check your work as you progress toward a proper playing surface.|
|With the VSO securely clamped, you can work quickly and carefully.||
coming along nicely
Homewood Musical please visit my page for other repair proceedures