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Instrument Setup

When you pick up your Kennedy Violins instrument for the first time, we want you to sound your best from the very first note. We believe in providing our valued customers with instruments that are not only beautiful, but 100% playable, comfortable, and accurately finished with the highest level of workmanship.

How to Set Up a Violin: Our Process

Fingerboard 

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The fingerboard isn’t just a flat surface; it has an arch as well as a concave scoop along the length. We make sure each 100% ebony fingerboard has the proper curvature on each axis to prevent buzzing. Fingerboards are finished with a fine micromesh to feel smooth to the touch. Learn more from our blog article, "Violin Parts: All About Fingerboards."

Bridge

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The bridge is an essential channel for vibrations to travel from the strings to the body of the instrument. We carve our high-quality maple bridges with the proper thickness, height, and arch to ensure proper string height (action).

Nut

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We pay special attention to the nut; this small piece of ebony is so important! After hand-carving the nut to a standard string height at the top of the fingerboard, we notch evenly spaced grooves that aren’t too deep to prevent buzzes.

Pegs

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Pegs should fit snugly and be perfectly round. We use a peg reamer and peg shaver to perfectly shape the pegs to be the right length and fit securely. Peg holes are drilled far enough from the peg box walls and a special peg compound is applied to prevent creaky or sticky pegs.

Peg Box

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We ensure that the peg box is chiseled to the right depth and is finished with a black dye. If the pegbox is too shallow, the strings will get caught between the peg and the back of the scrollbox as they’re wound. 

Strings

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Professional-grade D’Addario strings (or the strings of your choice) are cut to the right length and correctly wound onto the pegs. Steel-core or synthetic-core strings are installed based on your preferences and performance needs.

Fine Tuners

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Fine tuners allow for presicion tuning as you tighten or loosen the strings with a small screw instead of (and after) tuning with the larger pegs. We attentively install each fine tuner, attaching strings securely between the prongs. Composite tailpieces with built-in fine tuners are also available according to your preference. 

Tail Gut

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The tail gut is a cord that holds the tailpiece securely to the end button. We make sure it’s the right length give the strings maximum room to vibrate while preventing the pointed end of the tailpiece from extending beyond the end of the instrument.

Sound Post

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If you spy through the f-holes, you'll see this small, unassuming dowel on the inside of the violin. The sound post must be set in just the right spot to allow the instrument to fully resonate. The post must be cut to fit flush and make full contact with the face and back of the violin.

Chin Rest 

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We tightly secure the chin rest to the violin with cork padding to protect the edge of the violin. We make sure the chin rest does not make contact with the tailpiece to prevent buzzing.

Seams 

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We ensure that all seams around the instrument are properly glued with hide glue, a woodworkers glue that allows instrument parts to be taken apart if repairs are necessary. Open seams can compromise sound and cause buzzing.

A Complimentary Service

To ensure that your instrument attains its highest acoustic potential, expert violin setup by our staff of professional luthiers is included with every instrument purchase. Setup ensures maximum playability and tone quality, a service that is completely complementary. We will never charge additional fees for setup!

Kennedy Violins' string instrument setup includes all the following services at no extra cost!

  • smoothing the fingerboard
  • arching the bridge
  • fitting bridge feet
  • notching bridge grooves
  • carving the nut to standard curvature
  • notching string grooves
  • fitting and lubricating pegs
  • polishing the finish
  • string installation
  • fine tuner installation

Our Standard of Excellence

We guarantee that your instrument will be ready to play when you receive it—not sent to you unstrung or in pieces as sold by other online retailers. Because violin setup by an experienced luthier is crucial to the playability of your instrument, every instrument is finished, tuned, polished, and inspected before it passes from our hands to yours.

Inspection of every violin is completed, reviewed, and signed off by one of our expert luthiers when each violin, viola, cello, and bass is completed, and all violin setup is done to meet or exceed all MENC specifications and standards. Please reference the complete chart of Violin Setup Specifications and Measurements we use provided by master luthier Francis Morris. We are always happy to adjust any setup measurements to accomodate your preferences as long as playability of the instrument is preserved.

Playing for Life

With our Lifetime Warranty, we promise to keep our Kennedy Violins customers playing for life. Kennedy Violins will repair or replace any instrument, parts, fittings, or accessories found defective in materials or manufacture. We've got you covered for life!