At Fegley Instruments & Bows, we want your violin, viola or cello to have beautiful sound and optimal playing capability for many years to come. If you have a family heirloom or another special stringed instrument in disrepair, consider us for violin restoration in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, New York, or the surrounding area.
Founded by the late James E. Fegley and his wife, Margie, Fegley’s has been home to the stringed instrument business for 35 years. Today, Fegley’s is owned by Joseph P. McDevitt, a luthier who continues the Fegley’s tradition by hand making, restoring, and selling the finest stringed instruments and bows.
Joe approaches each instrument as a unique work of art. He was trained at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, where he completed the prestigious three year Violin Making and Restoration program with Roman Barnas. He worked closely with Marco Coppiardi, a master violin maker from Cremona, Italy, to hone his craftsmanship.
Much of Joe’s restoration expertise can be credited to his continuing education with Hans J. Nebel, a fourth generation violin maker and internationally renowned violin restorer. Mr. Nebel graduated from the Bavarian State School of Violinmaking in Mittenwald, Germany, and is a founding member of the American Federation of Violin and Bowmakers.
The Process of Violin Restoration
Restoring fine stringed instruments is an Old World craft. Violins, for example, are made from woods selected for their appearance and sound qualities. The ability of the wood to resonate improves with age (like fine wine), but, regardless of age, wood shrinks, affecting its strength and tone quality. The older the violin, the more it may have deteriorated.
Over the years, variations in humidity and temperature can cause stress on a neglected instrument. It may need reshaping, seam repairs, puncture and crack repair, neck resetting, straightening/reinforcing warped ribs, pegbox repair, bridge replacement, soundpost patching, fingerboard planning, or a variety of other repairs.
If repairs were mistakenly done with conventional glue, the violin may need to be taken apart carefully and re-glued properly with hide glue. As for their finish, some old violins will have greater value if their original finish is preserved as much as possible. However, a complete varnish restoration can bring out the beauty of the wood and improve its sound resonance.
Restoring a violin to its original condition will improve its tone, the vibrancy of its sound, and preserve its historic value. The artisan uses refined techniques to restore the instrument’s original structural integrity and, if necessary, repair its finish. Fine old instruments are becoming scarce, and restoring yours to excellent condition will make it more valuable, even if merely for sentimental reasons.
Get in touch with Fegley Instruments & Bows for expert violin restoration in Philadelphia. The ownership of a fine violin can be a very rewarding, but you must be prepared to properly care for it. We have a love and respect for fine stringed instruments, old and new, and will carefully restore its original craftsmanship and musical tone and return it to its peak performance.