Keeping your bridge straight

I have a little clip on YouTube on how to keep your bridge straight. There are many reasons why bridges can warp.

  1. Humidity is a very big factor. Very high humidity it does not matter how well made, how seasoned & high quality the timber it will warp fast
  2. Badly filed grooves or winding of string broken at the bridge will pull the bridge more
  3. Always clean the strings and the top of the bridge after playing, that way the rosin dust does not make the strings stick in the grooves
  4. When the bridge top has moved in either direction and it does not get corrected it will warp
  5. Either if the neck angle is wrong, the saddle too high or low in short if the angle the strings are running over the bridge is that uneven so the bridge top gets pulled in one direction.
  6. Too high tension strings or a too high bridge due to a high neck angle

The best way of preventing it to warp is always keep your cello bridge stand straight as shown in the video

The Sound Post – Soul of the Violin

Inside of the violin. You can see the soundpost standing up. It was handmade by Ilja Grawert in Brisbane for this Violin


A sound post is a small piece of dowel made of well-aged European Spruce. Despite its rather insignificant appearance, a sound post is the soul of a bowed stringed instrument like the violin. Its exact location is critical to ensure perfect sound transmission.

A soundpost hand made in Ilja Grawert Violinmaker Brisbane Workshop A sound post in its location inside the Violin

The sound post stands inside the violin connecting the top-plate and back-plate and is located slightly below the right hand bridge foot. It is standing up only under tension, not glued to the inner surfaces of the plates. It therefore has to  stand under the correct tension; too loose and it will fall over, too tight and it will damage the plates. Its end-grain surfaces have to fit perfectly to the inner surfaces of the plates of the violin.

Tool to measure the inside of a ViolinTools you need to fit and set and adjust a sound post

The sound post has to be at a certain spot behind the right hand foot which is different in every violin but follows a strict set of rules depending on the build, shape and density of the plates.
If the sound post is moved only a tenth of a millimetre away from that place the whole violin will not sound as beautiful any more.

Sound post on a sound post setter It takes years and years of experience to be  able to put the sound post in the right place, fitting to the inner surfaces, under the right tension at the right spot.
Many inexperienced people have tried to move it themselves or fit new one without the right tools and knowledge and have destroyed the inner surfaces of their valuable and irreplaceable Master violins.

Fitting the sound post:
With a special tool I measure the inner distance between top and back and roughly cut a piece of already prepared spruce dowel to the right length.
The end-grain surfaces I cut with a very sharp carving knife to an angle similar to the arching of the plates.

Inserting a sound post through the f holeThe Brisbane Violin Maker Ilja Grawert is inserting Sound post through the f-hole
Sound poust being set inside the ViolinMoving Sound post inside the Violin
Ilja Grawert is moving the soundpost inside the Violin to the right position

Then I stick the sound post to the special tool called a sound post setter and carefully insert it into the violin through the f-hole and stand it up in roughly the correct position.

I then look through the little end-pin hole and check how well it is fitting.

looking through the endpin holelooking through the endpin hole
looking inside the Violin through the endpin hole
In order to be able to see the other side of the sound post I use a little dentist mirror.
This whole procedure is repeated until the sound post fits perfectly in the right spot under the right tension.

After that it can still be moved around to fine tune the instrument.

The finished soundpost in its right location

If the sound post is in the right spot in relation to the violin and to the position of the bridge, the violin will have a beautiful, even, carrying sound and the strings will speak easily when played with the bow.

It truly gives the violin’s sound its soul.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. By Ilja Grawert – Violinmaker,

The five main characteristics of a good violin


All bowed stringed instruments ideally should have all of the following five characteristics…


In my opinion the sound quality of good violins should be the same in old and new violins.

A well made violin should have five main features which are an absolute necessity.

1. the violin has to be structurally well made of high quality well seasoned timbers crafted in an aesthetically pleasing and artistic manner.

2. the violin has to have an even tone over all four strings.

3. the violin has to have a carrying sound so it can be heard in the last row of the concert hall (please do not confuse with a loud tone)

4. the violin has to speak easy under all conditions in all registers of all four


5. the violin should be well set-up and easy to play

(the set-up of the violin)

These are the main features which make a good violin.

Then you will find the character of an instrument: some instruments  are more powerful, some have a more soft sound, some a brighter sound etc. These are all characteristics which come down to the taste and requirements of the player.

I have heard many famous old instruments as well as many new instruments which do not meet these main features. Some have a lack of all of them, some only have a weakness in one area.

My advise is to look for the top five main features which make a good violin when you choose a new instrument. Enjoy



Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. By Ilja Grawert – Violinmaker,

QSO’s month of giving March | 2016

A few weeks ago I was invited to participate in a fund raising campaign for the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. After a few hours of filming in my shop and I believe many more days at the other locations around the city with many more talented Brisbane creatives, this is the beautiful campaign video for QSO’s Month of Giving, March | 2016.

I believe everyone else had as much fun as I did being part of this project and hope the QSO is receiving the support they need… Thank you

New Studio cello


I finally got around to prepare and glue the fingerboard on my new studio cello.
It will be finished in two weeks. I can’t wait to hear it…

Back in my shop


I am now back from North Queensland and am available for appointmentsmorning in Tablelands

on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. I will be available for appointments all through the holiday season.

However I will be on another short business trip from the 22nd of October to the 29th

and as my shop is in the G20 security zone it will be closed between the 10th and the 20th of November.

For an appointment please email to

or fill in my contact form

or sms to 0437 88 2468

I will see you soon in my workshop