By now, Alex and I have hammered and hammered and hammered home time and again the point that the violin needs to be glued up with hide glue, the reason being that we need to be able to dismantle the instrument completely without damage. This topic is even repeated in the multiple newspaper articles which have been appearing regarding our work. We never grow tired of singing the praises of the miracle substance hide glue. Nor do we grow weary of trumpeting this message to the public.
Just this morning, we arrived early in the workshop and decided to interrupt the tranquility of the neighborhood by playing a few happy tunes on the fiddles for one of the guys in the course who seems to mightily enjoy our music. Somewhere in the middle of the second tune, Alex suddenly stopped playing and began making the strangest faces. I couldn’t figure out what had happened… Was she suffering the onset of some mysterious ailment? Was an invader climbing through the window? I looked behind me to make sure my back was safe. What happened??? Then she showed me that her violin (which by the way she made herself) had decided that it had just had enough of this dreadful cyclone monsoon humid weather, and the ebony fingerboard quite simply fell off into the palm of her left hand during the tune. No damage of course, just a parting of ways without acrimony. We all enjoyed a wonderfully mirthful moment about the incident, then immediately re-glued the fingerboard back onto the neck in its proper position, enjoying the hilarity of this teachable moment. By evening time, the instrument was ready to go again, even though the drying time of the glue is prolonged considerably by the humid conditions.
We were in the violin workshop, with the glue pot handy, so our journey to get the repair taken care of was short. The service personnel were polite and very friendly, and more than pleased to attend to this small job immediately. And of course, the cost of repair was modest.
The Chennai violinist might have to suffer the inconvenience of traveling across town to enjoy the same level of service. The less fortunate violinist might even need to make a trip of several hours to get this small issue of maintenance taken care of. Violinists in the West understand this. It is our job to bring this understanding to the violinists of India.