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  1. Indeed. But in cases of generic cottage industry Markies, grading was based on appearance, not anything to do with the sound. When you read the descriptions and pricing in the trade catalogs of the day, it is pretty clear what they were graded on, such as: - Quantity and quality of flame on back, neck, and ribs - Quality of the ebony and fittings - One piece or two piece back - Quality of the exterior carving - Real or fake purfling - Quality of the varnishing - Number of (fake) corner blocks In the trade catalog marketing, the more superlatives that could be applied to an instrument's appearance, the more superlatives could be applied to the sound.
  2. Depends what your comparison violins are and what you're used to playing and/or hearing as to what sounds "good." "Good" is both relative and subjective. But the point about cottage industry Markies is that they were made from parts by piece workers who did not care about making a "good" sounding violin. So if you find one that sounds "good," then it is by either by luck or it may have been re-graduated (as Carl points out).
  3. The plate vibrations from playing makes "hairline cracks" worse.
  4. It is beyond economically-viable repair.
  5. I appreciate your detailed post and the time it took to write it. Respectfully, you have spent $25 for a low-quality violin that is worn-out beyond repair. Sure, it could be repaired, but to what purpose? You'd end up with a highly-repaired "cheap and nasty" violin that still would not be worth anything. If you're considering that "maybe it will sound good," then it is worthwhile to remember that these violins were made by workers who had no regard whatsoever to how they would sound. The chance that will "sound good" is virtually zero. I understand the excitement of finding an old $25 violin on Craigslist. I also know that it can take a few of these $25 lessons to stop buying cheap old dreck violins. So if you do stop now, it will be $25 well spent.
  6. George Gemunder wrote his own autobiography while he was alive. It is quite the screed. And it's even free! https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/36147
  7. GeorgeH

    The Odds Are...

    If you flip a coin, the percent probability of it landing heads is 50% and the percent probability of it landing tails is 50%. If the prize for guessing right on a coin-flip is $10, how much should you bet? Here is where the economic concept of "expected value" comes in. The "expected value" of the bet is the value of the prize multiplied by the probability of winning: $10 * 0.50 =$5 So $5 is the "risk neutral" bet. It is the maximum that the bet is actually worth. A person betting more than $5 is "risk-seeking" because they are paying more than the expected value of the bet. A person betting less than $5 is "risk-avoiding" because they are paying less than the expected value of the bet. How does this apply to gambling on violins at auctions? Let's say you see a violin at an on-line auction would be worth $10,000 if it is authentic and in good condition, but you can't tell from the pictures. How much should you bid? (Your bid is your bet.) It depends on your estimate of the probability of you being right! If there is a 10% chance that it is authentic and in good condition, then the expected value of that violin in that auction is $1,000 ($10,000 * 0.10). Bid more than that, then you are overpaying for your bet. Of course, you're competing with a bunch of risk-seekers or those who think the probability of it being authentic and in good condition is greater than you do. They may also have better information. Do you feel lucky now?
  8. Just because a violin sounds bad to one person does not mean it will sound bad to everybody. Somebody might like the OP's violin just the way it is. Well, with new strings, anyway. (And maybe a new bass bar as per @Don Noon's suggestion.)
  9. Well, I guess you're long overdue for a string change! And then give whatever strings you put on time to carefully break-in before you try any adjustments. (Also, people who cross-tune GD to AE tend to destroy those two strings pretty quickly.) I personally think you should put on new strings, break them in, and then take it to a luthier who is good at tone adjustments and finding the right set-up to open the "core tone" of the violin. Of course, some violins have a core tone that doesn't appeal to some people (but may appeal to others), and maybe your violin's will never appeal to you. In that case, @jacobsaunders's advice is the best course to follow.
  10. What kind/brand of strings are you using and how old are they?
  11. And often things that are bought at auction are consequently sold in a shop. But it isn't called the "winner's curse" for nothing.
  12. Hi @Patty00, Welcome to MN and thanks for posting your pictures. Sadly, the bad news is that this violin has been essentially destroyed by removing the original varnish and the horrible neck repair, and is not worth restoring. The only good news is that it was a very inexpensive violin even in good condition. If you're keen on restoring a cheap old German trade violin, there are dozens available in much better condition at very low prices on internet auction sites.
  13. Thanks for the info on Max! Anything on the Roth & Lederer partnership?
  14. Indeed, I am a fan of Roth & Lederer violins. They aren't simply tarted-up Markies. They were made by people who knew how to make a violin. But I can find very little primary source information about the Roth & Lederer firm.
  15. Nobody does, really. However, it is evidence that EHR was importing violins into the United States for a few years before he started the Roth firm. So his son didn't come to the United States in the 1920s as a complete unknown. I suspect that EHR had the ideas for how he wanted to run the Roth company based on his experience in R&L, and sensing the opportunity to sell a reliably higher quality product than most of the cottage industry exports.
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