Violin Repair Basics: DIY Instrument Repairs for Orchestra Instruments

Keeping orchestral stringed instruments in good playing condition and in the hands of young musicians keeps students practicing and participating in every-day instruction and rehearsals. After taking this course, you will be able to pass along these strategies to students who often learn instrument care and maintenance only from their teachers. Orchestral Music Educators, Department Chairs, District VAPA Coordinators, private teachers, and anyone interested in learning more about their orchestral instrument will benefit by helping keep their students' stringed instruments healthy. Learning, teaching, and practicing the basic maintenance and preventative care outlined in this one-day workshop will help keep repair expenses down as well. In this class, you will learn how to:

  • Learn all the parts/components to the instrument
  • Properly clean instruments
  • Lubricate friction areas including pegs, nut & bridge
  • Keep the bridge in the right position and the right place
  • Check the sound post
  • Properly install strings
  • Care for your bow
  • How to select strings that are best suited for your instruments
  • How to help identify quality from the VSO's (Violin-Shaped-Objects!)
  • Identify and prevent issues that may keep instruments out of a musician’s hands

Teaching and practicing these skills will help keep your class and ensemble on track and sounding their best, as well as help your student musicians develop good habits, develop pride of "ownership" of caring for an instrument that will last a lifetime.

*Previously titled Orchestra Repair Basics: DIY Instrument Repairs for Educators

A list of the tools and materials required for this course can be found in the Tools & Materials tab above, or by clicking here.

Tools & Materials


Violin Repair Basics: DIY Instrument Repairs for Orchestra Instruments

Orchestra Repair Basics: DIY Instrument Repairs for Educators

Instructor: Charles Wolf

Tools and Materials

Item Notes
Violin   N/A
Bow With horse hair
Glasser student-level bow Optional - bring if possible
Set of Student-level violin strings to fit your Violin String Sets may be available for purchase in class
Towel For Violin to rest on while on the table/desk
Mechanical #5 or #7 pencil N/A
300mm flexible metal ruler  N/A
Small clean cloth/rag N/A
Bow rosin Any brand is fine
W.E.Hill Peg Compound ("peg dope") Optional, but recommended
Notebook w/ blank, lined paper & pencil/pen N/A
Paper towels N/A
Rubbing Alcohol N/A
Water For dilution purposes
Rosin Remover  N/A

Strings, ruler, rosin, etc. is available from many local music stores, online, or email all4stringssd@gmail.com with questions on where to look.

Instructor Bios


Violin Repair Basics: DIY Instrument Repairs for Orchestra Instruments

  • Charles Wolf

    Charles Wolf is a retired Music Educator from California, after 35 years teaching Instrumental music in San Diego County, Orange County, and the Los Angeles City public schools. He holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in both Music Education and Music Performance, Master of Music Degree, a Clear-Life California Teaching Credential, and a Tier 1 Administrative Credential.

    Charlie found that his passion for teaching music to students quickly called him to service, and the rewards of his students’ success are many, including his ensembles being invited to perform at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Hall in Chicago, the Hawaiian Invitation and many more. Having been honored with Teacher of the Year three times in his respective school districts, the City of Chula Vista (CA) three consecutive years, named “Orchestral Director of the Year,” and twice Band Educator of the Year in San Diego County, Charlie’s awards are representative for his devotion to the Music Education of his students.

    Charlie was administrator for the Summer Arts Academy in San Diego County. For 10 years, he brought together eight individual Visual and Performing Arts components for an intensive and comprehensive session for top honor students within the Visual and Performing Arts with some of the highest-rated VAPA Educators in San Diego County.

    Now, Charlie enjoys conducting honor bands and orchestras as a means of helping young musicians receive another perspective and higher-level skills within an honor ensemble. He is a “Head Judge” in the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association where his critiques of festivals and marching band field tournaments allow him to coach and assist other music educators.

    While still in high school, Charlie became the stringed instrument and bow repair technician for one of the largest music stores in Orange County, CA. The store serviced many of the surrounding schools and school districts, and Charlie soon became proficient in expedient and quality repairs - a specialty he enjoyed (and still does) was to re-hair bows.

    Always wanting to return to one of his first passions, Charlie owns and operates a highly successful Orchestral String Repair & Sales business called All Four Strings: selling and repairing violins, violas, cellos, and double basses, along with their bows and accessories.

    He is a student of Lynn Armour Hannings, George Rubino, Francis Morris, Paul Wiessmeyer, Jay VandeKopple, Chuck Sazone, Mike Dadonna and Robert McIntosh and returns each summer to UNH to further his depth of understanding and techniques with repairs and restorations from the amazing teaching staff. Charlie is often invited to schools, school districts and conferences to help music educators understand how to maintain a healthy orchestral instrument and to identify when there are issues that should be addressed for repair.

    He also enjoys woodworking projects at home and has his beautiful wife Magdalena to thank for her love, understanding and constant support.

This course is currently unavailable.