Wall Independent

         Violin & Viola Set-up, Repair and Restoration


Douglas Wall

250 Moul Rd., Hilton, NY 14468


Hours by Appointment only



Email: WallIndependent (at)  (to avoid email harvesters)


Website Links:

HOW TO FIND US               SALES                WHAT'S IN THE SHOP




Wall Independent specializes in violin and viola set-up, repair, restoration, and sales. Hilton, NY is located near the south shore of Lake Ontario, just northwest of Rochester, NY. We are about a 25 minute drive from the center of Rochester. (How to find us) We are located a short drive from the towns in western Monroe County (Greece, Brockport, Spencerport, Chili, Hamlin)

    My training includes courses with Hans Nebel at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Violin Workshops. This includes both external and internal repairs, proper set-up, and some restoration work.

In June of 2007, I continued my education with a week of training in bow rehairing and some other bow work with Lynn Armour Hannings at the University of New Hampshire, and a week of varnish retouching

with Hans Nebel   at MCLA.

     My training continued in June of 2008, with a week of neck resetting with Hans Nebel at MCLA.

In June 2009, I continued my education with another workshop at MCLA. It was a pleasure working with master restorer Hans J. Nebel again. The topic for this years workshop was block replacement

and rib repair.


     June 2010 found me back to MCLA for another week long workshop with Hans J. Nebel. The topic for this year was “Advanced crack repair and reinforcement”.

     The 2011 workshop covered neck grafting, fingerboards, and ebony button crowns.

     2012 Workshops were back to varnish retouching. Perhaps the most difficult of the restoration skills

     More workshops in 2013-2015. These included arching correction, patches, and much more.





Luthier LightsTM

The solution to you shop problem of lighting the interior if instruments.



2016  marks our tenth anniversary! Along with our work on instruments, a couple hundred of our Luthier Lights are being used by luthier, and in workshops, in the US, Canada, and in Europe.

06/12 Refresher course on Varnish Retouching at MCLA this year. Still a humbling experience to see the work that a real Master can do, and try to emulate it.

04/12  Another year has passed by, and we’re still chugging along here at Wall Independent. Just for laughs, I estimated the number of hours that I’ve spent in professional development workshops on violin repair and restoration. It comes out to about 350 hours!! All, very enjoyable learning, under the watchful eyes of real masters of the craft.


04/11  This year’s workshop at MCLA covered neck grafting. This involves replacing the neck between the body of the violin, and the pegbox. This allows us to keep the original pegbox and scroll, which are often part of the signature of the maker.


Here’s an interesting article about Hans J. Nebel, my violin restoration teacher for the past five summers at MCLA.


Attaché Online- Hans Nebel


04/10  You can also connect with me on Facebook. I’ve set up a discussion area, where you can ask questions, or discuss a violin related topic.



11/09  I needed to get some “Bow Bags” to protect my client’s bows after rehairing. These are 1.5 mil poly bags, 2” wide, and about 34”long. To keep my cost down, I purchased a large quantity of this material, and I’m offering the bags for sale to luthiers and shops. I’m making them up in bunches of ten, and bags of 50 (five bunches of ten)

Prices: $3.00/10, $14.00/50. NYS sale tax applies to New York sales. Shipping will be determined by quantity.

See my Shop page for more details.   Click this link. Bow Bags


09/09 I have just become an authorized dealer for the fine line of instruments and accessories carried by the Howard Core Company. Their line includes the Kohr instruments, and a wide variety of accessories including their own line of cases, and the exceptional cases offered by GEWA and Negri.


06/09 I’ve just returned from another workshop with master restorer, Hans J. Nebel. This years topic was block replacement and rib repair. The instruments that I had along to work on didn’t have any really tricky repairs (I just replaced blocks and linings, and shortened ribs), but one of the interesting things in the class is to see how other luthiers in the class are dealing with repairs on their instruments. Master violin maker Sonja St. John was one of the other attendees, and she did a masterful job of repairing a through hole in a rib.


2009 Workshop Hans Nebel


Master restorer Hans J. Nebel putting a patch under

the upper block area in an instrument, prior to replacing

 the block and reattaching the ribs


04/09 I’m offering an experimental bow head spline material to my fellow luthiers. This is a Micarta sheet, about 0.028” thick. It’s available for $3.00 (US) plus a stamped, self addressed envelope, for a 3 inch by 6 inch sheet (enough for many bows!). Contact me for further details. See “What’s in the Shop”.


01/09 Here’s something that I’ll be evaluating. The Wrist Assistant™. It’s to help students learn correct wrist posture.


Click on the picture for  a link to




I should have one in for evaluation soon. If I get interest in this product, I’ll stock some for my local clients, at a very reasonable price.


10/08 Latest updates to the “Latest in the Shop” pages will be indexed, and show some updates on projects.



07/08 We just got back from a two week tour in Ireland with the Dady Brothers. Had a great time! Saw lots, and heard some great music. Click here for details




Organ Trophy (1724), St. Michan’s Church, Dublin, Ireland




I am pleased to be able to offer the following lines of instruments and accessories to my clients:

 The John Juzek line of new instruments.

The fine line of Eastman Strings instruments.

Fine Instruments and cases from the Howard Core Company, including Kohr instruments, Core cases, GEWA and Negri cases.

 Cadenza and K. Holtz bows from Eastman Strings.

 Kun™ Shoulder rests,

 D’Addario bowed strings.

As I am mostly a luthier, and my shop is in my home, my stock of new instruments and cases is limited. Please contact me if you’re interested in any of the instruments or cases from my suppliers to discuss price and availability.

I’ll also be carrying some other accessories such as rosin. I’ll continue to expand my offerings to fill the needs of my clients. If you have something that you would like to get, or have me carry, contact me to see if I have it, or can get it for you.

Thinking of buying an inexpensive violin from an internet dealer? Click on the VSO link below.


(Violin Shaped Object)


 My philosophy: Quality work at a reasonable price, and have the instrument back to the player’s hands as soon as possible.

Wall Independent currently accepts cash or checks. New York State sales pay NYS sales tax (Monroe County, 8%).



Some of the services that  I can provide are:

*Cleaning and polishing                                         *Fingerboard planing and replacement

*String installation                                                  *Peg fitting and replacement

*Soundpost setting and replacement                      *Peg hole bushings

*Bridge adjustment and replacement                      *Internal repairs, including bassbar  work

*Nut adjustment and replacement                          *Varnish touch-up

*Crack and seam repairs                                                *Neck resetting

*Bow rehairing and minor repairs

I will work with you to determine how much work needs to be done to bring your instrument into playable condition and present you with an estimate for the work. My prices should be competitive to, or lower than many other shops.


So, you’ve got this old fiddle that you found in the attic

What will it take to get it into nice playing condition? That will depend on what repairs and restorations need to be done. In the best cases, it might just need a good cleaning and some new strings. Old “attic” violins in this condition are a minority. Most will need at least some repairs and adjustment. Most commonly, I see instruments with some open glue joints, worn out pegs, cracks, worn finger boards, and poorly fitted bridges. In many cases, repairing cracks will require opening up the body. In some cases, the cost of the repairs can exceed the value of the instrument. In some cases, I can use slightly non-traditional repairs to “salvage” these instruments at a slightly lower cost.

Let’s take a look at some repairs.

Crack repair- This instrument had extensive cracks in the belly. Part of this was caused by extreme thinness in the lower part. This picture shows the cleating that was necessary to repair the cracks. The linen patches in the thin areas will prevent further cracking without excessively stiffening the area.


Pegbox bushing- This is a fairly common repair. As the pegs are used, there is some wear and enlargement of the holes. When it gets to the point where the holes are too large to fit new pegs, bushings are in order. Shown here are spiral bushings. These are very strong, and less intrusive than full bushings. These are also used to help repair some pegbox cracks.


Bass bar replacement. – Not commonly done, but in the picture shown, it was a necessary part of a crack repair right at the bass bar.


Bridge replacement- Necessary in the case of any neck angle change, or if the bridge gets broken. Neck angles can shift as instruments age, or be the result of repairs. Fingerboard replacement will also require a new bridge. Very inexpensive instruments are often not set up well, and may reqiure bridge replacement or adjustment.




Yes, I can also do bow rehairing, and some repairs such as tip and frog repairs. Below are before and after pictures of a ca. 1897 bow that I’ve worked on. The pearl eyes and slide on the frog were replaced, and a new grip was installed. The bow was also rehaired.


The pernambuco used to make fine bows has recently been declared an endangered species. There are only about 1200 trees left! I support the efforts of the International Pernambuco Conservation Initiative (IPCI). One dollar from each bow rehair will be donated to help with efforts to plant trees in Brazil to insure that future generations will be able to play with pernambuco bows. Conservation efforts also include keeping old bows in playing condition. Old bows that many would consider to be junk can be refurbished and turned into decent student bows.


Click on the picture to link to the ICPI website.


* Instruments, Bows, and Accessories For Sale **

Click above to see the instruments and accessories that we have available.


My interest in repair and restoration leads me to seek out instruments to work on for my own collection, to play, and to restore for resale to a new owner. I would be interested to hear of any old instruments or bows for sale. Condition is, of course, along with the quality of the instrument or bow, a major factor in its value, either bought or sold.


Website%20FiddletteThe instrument on the right is a Fiddl-ette ca. 1930. This unusual instrument was sold by the Gamble Hinged Music Co.. It was originally created by Edwin H. Bergh and Carl Wheeler Mott as an inexpensive student instrument. It was only produced in limited numbers for a very few years, and sold in the Illinois and Wisconsin areas. (from my personal collection) Click on the picture for an enlarged view

Find out more about the Fiddl-ette at


In order to show the type of repair/restoration work that I’m doing, I’ve set up a page so that you can see some of my current and past projects.

Here's what's in the shop.

Check here often to see what’s new.



Wall Independent is pleased to be an authorized dealer for Eastman Strings, Metropolitan Music, Howard Core, GEWA and Negri cases, and D’Addario Strings.

Because of my low overhead, I can order these instruments and accessories for my clients at a considerable discount from the list price. I will also do a complete check on each instrument before I release it from my shop. I can also custom outfit many of these instruments with your choice of  strings, pegs, tailpiece and chinrest. For example, If you see a Juzek, Eastman Strings, or Howard Core instrument that you like, but would prefer Dominant strings and Rosewood fittings, I can probably do that for you at a reasonable cost. Contact me for details


You can see the entire line of  Juzek instruments at:


You can see the entire line of Eastman Strings instruments and bows at:


Here’s a link to the fine instruments, cases, and accessories offered by the Howard Core Company:

Howard Core

Wall Independent is also a dealer for D’Addario products


I’ll be keeping a stock of bowed strings to support my repair and restoration business and to sell to my local clients.

I’ll be stocking :

(Current prices are listed. Prices may need to be adjusted, depending on my costs.)


prelude     Prelude violin strings (steel core)  $17.00 (violin)



pro-arte     Pro-Arte violin strings (Perlon core)   $27.00 (violin)



Helicore     Helicore violin and viola strings (multi-strand steel core)  $38.00 (violin 4/4)



zyex     I’ve  used the Zyex strings on several instrument, with very nice results. I’ll be using these strings for a lot of my restorations.

    $45.00 (violin 4/4)


I’ll be offering other D’Addario products (on a special order basis) to my clients, at a substantial discount from the list price. Contact me for details.

       I may also have a couple of sets of  Thomastik-Infeld Dominant strings in stock, (price depends on current supplier price)

I can order most other strings on a special order basis, usually at very competitive prices. Turn around time for special orders, is usually 3-4 days. Contact me for a price quote and availability.

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Wall Independent also does custom woodworking, custom assemblies, and consulting.

I also have experience in other fields. My original career was as a chemist, with 34 years at Eastman Kodak. I’ve also done some nice furniture,  that you can see by clicking on the kink below. My experience with Townsend Associates has included responsibility for some innovative mounting designs for some of the artwork, and the associated LED lighting. Quite a few of the pieces that I’ve worked on can be seen at the Milon Townsend link below. .

Please contact us for further information.


Here’s a link to some other interesting stuff in our world.

Odds & Ends




Visit some of our  interesting neighbors and friends at their websites:

The Dady Brothers. Great musicians and friends!

Fine Glass Art from Milon Townsend at: Townsend

More great Glass Art from Sabra Richards at:  Richards

Some great quilts and fabric art from Anne Fischer at: Fischer

Bernunzio’s Uptown Music:  bernunzio.jpg

We don’t do guitars. Stutzmans is great for that: Stutzman_Logo

A comprehensive listing of violin shops around the world:   allviolinshops



Here’s a link to some other interesting stuff in our world.

Odds & Ends



St. Cecilia

Patron Saint of Musicians

and Luthiers

“sub titulo Sancta Caecilia