TAYLOR'S FINE VIOLINS
Inside Taylor's Fine Violins
RESTORATIONS AND REPAIRS
I don't claim to be qualified to work on $3 million Stradivari violins. In fact, if your instrument is anywhere near that value, I would refer you to some super qualified top professionals in the Los Angeles area. People who actually work on genuine Stradivari violins. However their labour rate is going to be 3 or 4 times as much as mine. My specialty is doing careful, competent restorations to affordable instruments that the big shops high labour rates would make too expensive. Typically someone brings me their grandparents violin to fix up. If there are no major cracks needing repair, I can usually do a complete set up for around $200: This would include fitting a new soundpost, bridge, level fingerboard, make pegs turn properly, and good quality new German strings. A big LA shop might charge $600+ for that, and the violin might not even be worth that much. And if you need more extensive repairs, like removing the top and gluing and cleating cracks, my labour rate is $50/hr., not $150/hr. like some bigger shops.
One of the things I pride myself on as a violin shop owner is being able to offer free honest verbal opinions, recommendations, and referrals to my customers. And if I believe your violin might be very valuable, I don't lie to you and try to buy it off you. Instead I can refer you to a respected top appraisal expert, who can better answer your questions about your violins value and origin. I don't offer appraisals or insurance evaluations in writing, but I can refer you to a shop that does do insurance valuations for a price in writing.
People ask me does Fine Violins mean I deal only in expensive instruments, not at all. By Fine Violins I am referring to the painstaking care and attention I put into restoring and setting up every violin I sell, that makes them Fine Violins in their respective price ranges. Most of my violins are Student to Intermediate grade, roughly $400-$2,500 price range, and at the upper end, some fine affordable Professional instruments. I'm something of a discount violin shop, pricing up to 50% less than similar instruments sell for at some of the big shops. Some of my instruments have professionally repaired cracks, most have wear and and signs of decades of real use. I don't try to French polish or over varnish everything just to make it look shiny, like some shops do. I try to leave the natural patina from years of use, and absolutely do not try to "improve" on violins by thinning them down on the inside (regraduating them). Rather I try to preserve them in every way, just as they were made by their makers. To improve on a violin's sound I concentrate on adjusting the fittings to their optimal settings; bridge, soundpost, neck angle, and type of strings, for the best overall sound.
I am a big fan of period musical instrument performance on original instruments of the baroque and classical eras. So I also specialize in restoring baroque and transitional (classical era) violins that still have their original neck set up, wedged fingerboards, shorter, lighter bassbars, baroque style bridges, and authentic plain gut violin strings. Some of these instruments are quite affordable, as they were made later in the 1800s, but are set up just like more valuable instruments from the 1700s, making them quite suitable to the budget Baroque Historically Informed Practice performer.(HIP)