“Hi, I was wondering what you thought of your Sojing? I had been thinking about picking one up but was worried that it would sound terrible as it was so little money. After seeing your video though, it’s obvious that they can sound quite nice!”
Nowadays you can get the Sojing for about $70 but it isn’t very playable right out of the box.
For the price, of course, you can’t expect a Stradivarius to arrive in your mailbox. But since the electronics aren’t too shabby, it’s definitely worth working on. The main problems are the cheap, slipping plastic pegs and the high, incorrectly angled bridge. However, these problems can be fixed for pretty cheap. You can make a $70 violin play like and sound like a $700 with this simple mod. This video shows my mod process:
First I had to decide which pegs to buy. The most common violin pegs, in order of density, are ebony, rosewood and boxwood. I chose rosewood because it has its own resin that acts as “peg dope” (keeps the pegs from slipping), it’s a compromise between the other two in hardness (affects sound), and because it aesthetically looked the best (pretty!). You can read more about the peg debate in this forum.
These rosewood ornamental pegs are the ones I got, but you can get plain ones for even cheaper. Or you can buy my entire mod package at the end of this post for just $55.
I should have done this in reverse order, but I drilled the holes for the strings into the pegs first. Then I realized that I had to shave off and taper the peg ends, but there was still a catch. The holes of the pegbox were all different sizes! So Quinn and James helped custom shave each peg after I marked them with the letters of the strings.
Note: I’m just posing with the drill here. The peg would fall off the table if I actually drilled it like this
Next, I bought a medium Glaesel adjustable bridge. It’s nifty because the feet look like puzzle pieces and they self-adjust to the curvature of any violin.
Quinn and I shaved the bridge down and angled it, modeling it after my professionally done acoustic violin. We then added the grooves on the bridge for the strings and penciled graphite into them. The height of the original Sojing bridge not only made it hard to play (you had to have an anaconda grip) but also warped the Sojing’s neck.
Lastly, I had peg chalk to keep the friction between the pegs and the pegbox. It’s hard to find this type of chalk, but I hear these peg drops work just as well.