Where to Find Us & Opening Hours

Shop Hours:
Mon to Fri - 9 am to 6 pm
Saturday - 10 am to 5 pm

26 Smith Street
COLLINGWOOD
VIC 3066
Tel: +61 (0)3 9417 4930

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Alex W.Grant Violins Collingwood Shop


News Items

Frequently Asked Questions

This section will be updated regularly and will address the most frequently asked questions raised by our customers, which relate to workshop routines and general instrument care and maintenance.

 

Q.

What’s the best way to care for my violin?

A.

Care for the violin, viola and cello are similar and we recommend that you always keep your instrument in a dry place, away from direct sunlight and protect it from extremes of temperature and humidity.

When you have finished playing your instrument, wipe it down (including the strings and the wooden parts of the bow) with a soft, dry duster and place them back in the case. Avoid touching the hair of the bow as this can reduce its performance.

When transporting the instrument in your car, be aware that the interior temperature of the car may be a good deal higher than outside, so do not leave instruments in your car on a hot day as serious damage could occur.

If you are a student and want more background information on how to look after your instrument, have a look in our News Items section under “Young Musician’s Guide”.

Q.

People talk about different “set ups” on instruments. What does this mean?

A.

“Setting up” or “fitting up” is the term given to the manipulation of an extremely complex set of variables which include the type and gauge of strings used; the height and shape of the top nut; the shape of the finger board – both in profile and along its length; the shape and height of the bridge; the density of the wood of the bridge and its placement on the instrument in relationship to the structural members inside the instrument – the sound post and the bass bar, the weight and length of the tailpiece, the length of, and material used for, the tailgut – the list goes on and on. None of these variables can be viewed in isolation as a change in one may affect all the others.

There will always be an optimum set up for each individual instrument and only a fully trained, experienced violin maker will be able to achieve this. At Alex W Grant Violins, all the instruments on offer have undergone thorough set up procedures and, in their various grades, are performing at the optimum level.

Q.

Does my bow need a rehair?

A.

Sometimes we can tell; but often we don’t know if your bow needs a rehair or not, only you can answer that.

We can tell if the hair is obviously very old and oxidised and we can also tell if a lot of the hair is missing or broken, but we can’t readily tell if all the hair is in place and it looks reasonably fresh.

So, how should you know? Well, the hair is covered with microscopic ‘barbs’ or scales which grip the rosin and, as you play, the friction against the strings slowly wears these barbs down and sometimes tears them off. Over a long period of time (conscientiously practising) so many of these barbs are damaged that the hair no longer grips the rosin and you find you have to keep putting in more effort for diminishing results.

Your bow is now losing the essential friction with the string to easily produce the sound you want. You try to apply more and more rosin but it just falls off onto the front of the instrument without improving the sound (at which point you suddenly remember why you have that clean dry duster …!). Now you know you need a rehair!

And how long between rehairs?

Again, we can’t say exactly because of different playing pressures and techniques and how much playing is actually being done on a daily basis, but for a professional or advanced student, perhaps from three to six months would be reasonable and for beginner and intermediate students six to twelve months.