Repair and service for violins, violas, cellos, basses and bows, Riedstra's Violin Shop

By: Riedstra's Violin Shop  09-12-2011
Keywords: appraisals, violin, Strings

Established in 1973, we have two full service violin shops in Kitchener and Stratford, Ontario, Canada.

As a full service violin family and bow dealer, our staff has a combined total of well over 80 years training and experience to help you with your violin family needs.

The services we provide include:

When an instrument is appraised, a lot depends on the materials and quality of construction, the structural condition (including previous and required repairs), the appearance, the size, the model, the playing condition, and the quality of the tone of an instrument. The particular maker and the demand for his/her work is also important. If the instrument has been owned and used by a prominent musician, that affects the value as well.

However, for an e-mail or telephone evaluation it is normal to start with good quality close-up photos of the item(s) and descriptions of any repairs visible to the owner. The photos should be shot straight on (not at an angle). Shoot the front, back and sides of the body and of the head (scroll). For bows, shoot the frog and head very close-up, both sides. Mr. Riedstra can give you a rough idea what an instrument or bow from a certain maker is worth with the understanding that his opinion and evaluation may need to be revised upon actually seeing the item(s) being evaluated. If certain types of damage or repair are later discovered, values can vary greatly.

Shipping, brokerage, duty and insurance charges both ways will be paid for by the owner/representative of the instrument or bow being sent for appraisal.

If you have any original certificate of authenticity (bring the original document, not a photocopy) and any old insurance appraisals, please bring them along with the instrument(s) and bow(s) since their existence may be referred to in our appraisal if they are valid and important papers.

Your next appraisal update on bows and instruments which we have appraised, will only cost $50.00 per instrument or bow if done within four years from our original appraisal.

Mr. Riedstra will need to see the items again prior to issuing an updated appraisal to determine that they are still in the same condition as when his first appraisal was done.


A written appraisal includes a full written description, and photos for items over $1000 in value.

Instrument / Bow Value Verbal rate Written rate
Under $1 000 $25 $75
$1 000        to    $9 999 $65 - $75 $140
$5 000        to    $14 999 $100 - $125 $175
$15 000      to    $24 999 $125 - $150 $200
$25 000      to    $99 999 $195 $350
$100 000    to    $249 999 $250 $500
$250 000    to    $499 999 $400 $750
$500 000    to    $999 999 $750 $1500
$1 000 000 and over inquire inquire

If a written Certificate of Authenticity is desired, this includes an insurance appraisal. The fee is 5% of the appraised Fair Market Replacement Insurance Value with a minimum of $250. Photos are included as well.

Please make a Saturday appointment at our Kitchener store if you would like an instrument or bow authenticated or evaluated by Mr. Riedstra. We have evening hours in Stratford by appointment as well.

Some instruments and bows will require several hours of examination and/or research time, as well as time for the photos to be taken. In such cases, it may be necessary to leave the instrument or bow with us for a day or two. We will give you a signed notice of receipt indicating that we have your instrument and/or bow for evaluation purposes.

Upon request, we will provide instructions on how to ship an instrument or bow to us safely for evaluation provided that it is your intention to do so.

We will make a violin, cello or bass and varnish it according to your requirements.  Price quotes upon request.

We use the finest white Mongolian horse hair. Cutting and fitting a new leather finger grip, or new metal (silver, silver plated or silver tinsel) winding, a new tip plate, re-cambering or other repairs/restorations to your bow, are additional services we provide.

Violin bows $69.00
Viola bows $69.00
Cello bows $79.00
Bass bows
(black hair also available)
Outfits worth up to $299 $19.00 per month
Outfits worth $300 - 399 $21.00 per month
For each additional $100 in value Add $2.00 per month rental to above rate
Viola outfits start at $550 $25.00 per month
Cello outfits start at $1450 $43.00 per month

The minimum rental contract period is three months.  We will charge your credit card every three months on the due date unless you return the outfit.  If you decide to purchase the outfit in the first 90 days of your rental term,  you get ALL the rent back off the purchase price, before the tax is added to the remaining amount.  If you decide to purchase the outfit after the first 90 days, you can still have 60% of the rent back off the purchase price if you decide to purchase the outfit within the first two years.

All our rental outfits are properly setup with good strings -- usually Thomastik Dominant for violins and violas, Jargar for cellos and Spirocore for Basses.  Renters are responsible for any damage or loss whatsoever the cause, and any broken strings have to be replaced with strings of the same kind at the renter's expense while the instrument is in their care.  We carry all strings on hand in the store.  Strings are pretty strong, but the amount of time it takes to wear out a string depends on many factors.


  • player's bowing and fingering style
  • exceeding the normal pitch while tuning a string
  • acidity and oilyness of the player's fingers and hands
  • not wiping down entire strings with a soft cloth after playing
  • length and hardness of the player's fingernails
  • amount of pizzicato that is played
  • winding of strings on pegs (overlapping or rubbing strings cause extra wear.)
The information in this article was current at 06 Dec 2011

Keywords: appraisals, Strings, violin

Contact Riedstra's Violin Shop

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