The violin rattles, clanks or has a background noise?

Here you will find a checklist with 11 possible causes of background noises such as rattling, clanking, buzzing or humming.



Background noises on the instrument can have very different causes. You can test a few basic things yourself first, and this checklist should help.

1. are there any open edges? Have the top or back come loose from the ribs? This usually happens at the hand or near the chinrest. But the rest of the instrument can also be affected. Have there been any recent fluctuations in humidity? Has the heating period started? This can also be an indication of an open edge. Carefully tap the edges of the instrument with your knuckles. Where it is open, it will sound different from the rest of the instrument.

2. have old, glued cracks opened up, e.g. F-key cracks?

3. does the chinrest touch the tailpiece or is there enough space between them? Has the chinrest shifted or is it loose? Can you tighten it again?

4. what do the strings look like, has the winding come loose somewhere? If only one string rattles, no matter which note you play, the string may be broken, even if you can’t see anything.

5. has the parchment on the bridge under the E-string come loose?

6. has the fingerboard come loose?

7. has the bridge shifted or bent and the feet no longer rest perfectly on the soundboard?

8. for individual fine tuners, is the knurled screw tight? Does the lower arm of the fine tuner touch the soundboard?

9. are there any decorations on the pegs? Sometimes these also come loose and cause background noise.

10.does the shoulder rest touch the bottom of the instrument? there anything on your clothing that could rattle? Buttons, chains, earrings?


In the case of cracks, open edges or anything that you cannot fix yourself, contact your luthier as soon as possible so that he/she can hear and eliminate the rattling. Some noises disappear again, depending on the cause or weather conditions.

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