Behind the scenes

Fiddlershop Quality Setup

The setup process is where the instrument finds its voice. We make sure every instrument plays easily and sounds its best.

From day one, when my son and I started Fiddlershop, we devoted ourselves to more than setting up instruments, but also setting up every customer for success.

That’s why Fiddlershop’s talented team of luthiers inspect, adjust, and test every instrument to ensure that it reaches its fullest potential before being delivered to you.

Step inside the workshop

10-point Setup Process

1. Structural Inspection

As the first step in our 10-point setup process, we inspect the construction of the interior blocks, linings, bass bar, and meticulously look for any cracks or open seams. This ensures that the instrument is built to last and can sound its best.

2. Pegs

The tuning pegs are shaped and fitted to the pegbox. We apply a peg compound to ensure that they turn easily, quietly, and hold firmly.

3. Nut

The nut is shaped to the correct height and the string grooves are spaced and carved evenly to ensure finger placement feels natural. We apply graphite to lubricate the string grooves, which allows the string to gently pass through the groove without causing damage to the string.

4. Fingerboard

The fingerboard is planed and shaped to the ideal curvature and thickness. Any indentations or depressions are removed to facilitate a smooth and accurate playing experience. Our fingerboards are only made from a fine selection of ebony wood.

5. Bridge

The bridge is responsible for transferring the vibrations of the strings to the body of the instrument. Each bridge is carved by hand and fitted individually to each instrument. A properly fitted bridge allows the strings to vibrate freely without touching the fingerboard while maintaining a comfortable height for ease of playing. If necessary we install string parchment under the thinnest string, to prevent the string from digging into the bridge over time.

6. Soundpost

Luthiers call the soundpost the soul of the instrument. The placement and the fit of the soundpost can dramatically change an instrument’s personality. We cut and place each soundpost to reach our expectations of the instrument’s potential, and also make adjustments to accommodate any customer request.

7. Tailpiece

The tailpiece is connected to the end button with a high quality tail gut. The tailgut length is adjusted to bring the vibrating string length and afterlength to the optimal specification.

Most instruments are set up with a single fine tuner on the tailpiece that matches the pegs, endbutton and chinrest. On many student instruments though, a composite tailpiece with fine tuners on all strings may be used to simplify tuning, and to reduce weight.

8. Strings

We choose a set of strings that will complement the instrument as well as the player's individual needs. We only use high quality strings from well-known string makers.

9. Testing & Final Cleaning

We test every instrument for playability and sound quality to make sure it meets or exceeds all specification expectations. At this step, one of our highly qualified players works closely with the luthiers to make very fine adjustments and re-test. If an instrument doesn't pass testing, it is brought back to the bench to re-start the setup process.

10. Final Cleaning

We want every instrument to look its best when it arrives at your door. We wipe off any smudges or rosin dust from testing, and use a gentle polish if necessary so that the instrument sparkles when you open the case.

Safe Delivery

Packaged with Care

We ship more bowed stringed instruments than anyone else, and with over a decade of experience, we have developed proprietary methods to ship instruments so they arrive safe and sound.

Our expert fulfillment team ensures that all instruments that leave our workshop are prepared for the journey to their homes. Every instrument is packed with a custom bridge protector, to keep the bridge from falling, and to allow the instrument to arrive “ready to play” out of the box. The instrument should only require a minor tuning upon arrival.

Extended Return Window

Orders placed after November 15th will have at least until January 31st, 2023 to return or exchange.