Checking the Virtuoso Violin for shipping damage.
The QRS Virtuoso Violin should arrive undamaged. However, there are some items you should check before proceeding to ensure a well-performing instrument.
The Violin String Blade and driver is a precision device. It needs to be aligned and seated properly to perform optimally. Rough handling during shipping can cause the violin to move in its cradle and the blade to come off adjustment.
After unpacking and setting up the instrument and before the bow is attached you should perform the following adjustments.
(Note 1: Do Not Unscrew The Left And Right Cradle Bow Line Holders Until You Are Done With The Next 2 Sections.)
(Note 2: Never Turn The Instrument On Until The Bow Is Attached And The Line Holders Are Unscrewed.)
1) Leaving the Blade Guard in place, grab the blade assembly by the Frequency Damper and gently try to move or wiggle the string blade back and forth on the Bridge. The blade should be seated solidly on the bridge and not move at all. If it seems solidly seated, move on to step 3, otherwise continue to step 2
2) If the blade is loose on the bridge, carefully tighten down the Tailpiece Pulldown Screws (4-40 x 1" allen flathead), screwing both left and right screws evenly to pull the tailpiece down flatly. This is a precision adjustment and the blade should be brought down against the bridge until it is solidly engaged with the bridge, but no further. Over tightening of these screws will cause a deterioration in sound quality and possible damage to the associated parts.
3) Once the blade is properly seated on the bridge, remove the blade guard and observe how the blade centers between the 2 Rare Earth Magnets. If it is centered, move on to step 5. If not go to step 4.
4) To center the blade carefully unscrew the two 4-40 allen adjusting plate hold down screws while holding the Adjusting Plate in place with a small flathead screwdriver placed in the driver/plate slot near the fingerboard. With one hand, gently turn the flathead screwdriver in either direction moving the adjusting plate back and forth until the blade is centered, then with the other hand lock the plate in place with the 4-40 allen screws. This is a precision adjustment and practice and experience will make perfect. If the blade centers, you are ready to attach the bow as outlined in the next section. If the blade does not stay centered go to step 5.
5) It is important to remember that the String Blade is made from the same spring steel as piano strings, therefore it wears in a similar manner. Like a new piano string, a new string blade will require several adjustments over a period of playing time until it “settles in.” To center a newer string blade it may be necessary to effectively stiffen it’s vibrating length by moving the Delrin Blade Holders in the direction of the bridge by a small amount. (This would be equivalent to tightening a new piano string.) To do this, simply loosen the Blade-Holding Screw and using tweezers shove the Delrin Blade Holders towards the bridge by 1/32” or so, then tighten the screw. (Note: If this does not center the blade, or if the blade is stuck to one or the other magnets, the driver could be broken. Contact QRS for instructions.)
1) Unwrap the bow assembly and hold it above the violin, about ¼” in from the bridge, just above the string blade.
2) While holding the bow with the tip end higher than the frog end and the Bow Arm Mounting Bracket (700520) extended down, use the supplied 4-40 allen flathead screws to attach the bow arm to the Driver Frame (700210).
3) Bring the bow down to a horizontal position and use the supplied 4-40 allen cap screw to attach the left end of the bow arm to the Servo Connector Rod (701730).
4) Pull the loose bow line (fishing line) from the Left side of the violin, over the Left Bow Line Pulley (701540), into its groove, and finally hook it into the Right Bow Hook (700613).
5) Now pull the loose bow line from the RIGHT side of the violin, over the Right Bow Line Pulley, into its groove, and hook it into the Left Bow Hook (700611).
6) With the bow line in place, unscrew the left and right cradle bow line holders, putting them in a safe place for future use. DO NOT UNSCREW UNTIL LINE IS HOOKED INTO BOW HOOKS. If you do the line will unwrap from the motor pulley in the cradle box and you will have to rewind the bow line following directions on page___.
7) To ensure the blade is not over tightened against the bridge, after the bow is attached play a note and back off evenly on the pulldown screws until the blade just starts buzzing in the bridge groove, then tighten down a ¼ or ½ turn from this point. Experience will result in a balanced setting.
(Note 1: Always have the bow attached while playing a note or piece. Note 2: If this does not fix the problem there is something wrong with the bridge and it must be replaced. Contact QRS for instructions.)
8) The violin is now ready to play.
9) Note: Now that the bow is attached, use caution in walking around the instrument and opening the case. The bow not only extends out from the instrument, but once it starts playing it extends out in both directions. Use care not to damage the bow by walking into it, opening the case near a wall or piano, or being too close to the bow when the violin is playing.
(Note: The above bow setup and blade adjustment takes me less than 5 minutes to do. It should be viewed as standard maintenance.)