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Everything posted by Guido

  1. Any opinions on this one? Body 36.4mm! Just like my Frank. Is anybody else known for a large model like this or is it just another Markie?
  2. That depends if it is Geman or French. It might rule out Italian though. The flat eye of the scroll and the square cut rib joints somehow fit together. Wasn't that a French thing (just the idea, not the execution)?
  3. How disappointing - I was hoping it would be from another planet. Just back from setting it up. The fit of the soundpost against the top is easily checked by looking straight in through the f-hole :-) It sounds really quite nice. I'll give it a week and assess again. Finding a case will be a challenge. With the couple I've tried the lid wouldn't close. This sausage is too fat around the middle.
  4. I'm just about to set this one up and thought I share it, given it is a little different. If anyone can tell me what is, even better. Or where and when some of the features may have been typical. It is very long at LOB 36.5cm. The arching is full, more pronounced for the top. One-piece lower rib, scroll fluting all the way. Rib joints are not mitred at all and cut off square with the corners. Long narrow corners with double width rib joints look... different. The neck & head might be later, there is no graft or other neck modification. The peg holes have no bushings and only little wear. Here are the pics.
  5. I'm in two minds on price. As you pay more, the likelihood increases that you get something decent. However, the risk increases, too, because an expensive dog is a real loss. For instance, spending 2,000-3,000 Euro with our friends from Portugal would be really stupid! A cheap dog on the other hand can probably be sold for the same price again. If I buy 200-300 Euro Hopfs on German ebay I might be wasting my time but probably not my money. The chances of getting lucky? 100 : 0? I haven't settled on a strategy yet. For now, I'll just try to learn all I can about Hopf and see as many references as possible - both the good and the bad.
  6. Yes, I agree and said before (sorry for quoting myself): I would simply like to be able to sort the nice ones from the junk. In many cases, that seems to be quite straight forward, black and white. However, to my untrained eye there is a grey area. If your grey area between black and white is a virtual line, then mine is as wide as barn door. As far as I see one can only look at two criteria, being age and craftsmanship. It seems that age is the primary factor and in practice all (nice) Hopf violins appear to be attributed from Caspar over David and a couple of others to Carl Friedrich according to where they fit on the timeline. Some examples look like they could be old enough to pre-date the cottage industry, may have a grafted, modernised or altogether replaced neck and I have to admit that my eye for craftsmanship lacks wanting in some of these cases. So I ask and see if I can learn. For me it is not as easy as telling a black Markie from a Viennese master when I don't have the benefit of looking at different construction methods. I'd love to do that, but I'm in Australia and don't see myself vising London anytime soon. I'll probably take a plunge at some point. I hope I can learn more before I do, that's all.
  7. Could you post photos of your instrument, not just the two details? And let us know what you think your instrument is... for learning and reference. Your neck modernisation looks interesting.
  8. I thought the shoulders being not quite as square would be a good sign. Certainly the factory copies would over-exaggerate the model outline. Some of the fine old ones may have been very square but apparently many were not. Also, the absence of a neck graft was perfectly fine in my mind given that the violin has received a new neck and scroll at some point. I thought that could well have been the result of a modernisation instead of a neck graft. No, I will not try before I buy and yes, I'll probably get rubbish. Just wanting to improve my chances by learning as much as possible to spot a nice one :-)
  9. This one was on ebay recently and sold for 322 Euro. On the upside: looks old; the purfling does not look commercial; scroll and neck appear much younger (modernisation?); outline is not as square as the factory Hopfs one usually sees. Is it the 'usual' or did I miss out on something here?
  10. Guido

    Violin ID

    Funny you should say that. The violin actually has a repair ("Opravil") label from Štoček, dated 1913. The major repairs this violin has had (sound post patch back and front and many other cracks to the top) all look very old and I thought those repairs would have been done by Štoček in 1913. On account of that, I would have thought the violin was a fair bit older. It does not have a through-neck and the bass bar doesn't look as if it was carved out. Maybe Štoček also put in a new neck and used a purchased part from Schoenbach? Who knows. In any case, the violin looks and feels quite different to the many trade violins from Markneukirchen/ Schoenbach that I have and had. Are you aware of any makers before Štoček from this area? Maybe the violin hasn't travelled much before Štoček got it for repair.
  11. Guido

    Violin ID

    Thanks Jacob. The scroll fluting stops at about 7 o'clock. There is a bit of butchering going on all the way but the centre ridge is not continued beyond 7 o'clock. The linings are not let into the corner blocks. Initially I thought they might but I had another look and they are clearly not. Could this be a purchased rib garland (or more) as you describe from the remains of the Trostler/ Zach estate? Of course not referring to these makers, just the practice. One last question: I have mixed up and enjoy using your violin polish. This violin here has a fair bit of varnish worn off and bare wood exposed. Could I still use it in this case?
  12. Guido

    Violin ID

    I was just trolling the net for violins from Prague while there doesn't seem to be much activity on MN in relevant time zones at the moment. Could I have - by any chance - a Ferdinand Lantner, second half of 19th century? Wild newB guess with two blind eyes.
  13. Guido

    Violin ID

    I'd be keen to learn where and when this violin may have been made. It has had a hard life and shows some heavy repairs, incl. patched sound post cracks to both the top and the back. It bears a repair label from Nechanice, 1913, a small town about 100km East of Prague. LOB is 35.6mm. It has a curiously narrow neck of 19.7mm at the nut. Any sense in that? Or any place and time where one may have seen sense in that?
  14. Sorry, Blanc face, I must have been too focused on the books at the time.
  15. Just looking at Hopfs. Those two are both supposed to be David Hopf, late 18th century. Is that possible? Or is it a case of just about every nice Hopf being attributed to a hand full of family members and the rest gets nothing?
  16. You have indeed written about this before. Several times I believe. I have no quality prejudice regarding building methods. It seems fairly clear to me. I'm just interested to know in more detail what exactly the 13-year old would have learned in 18th century Voigtland. You have cited two examples where violins had corner blocks inserted to help keeping the rib ends together, unilateral triangle, all good. I'm just wondering if this is in any case part of the building method that was indoctrinated into the local teenagers. Or were there some makes who did and others who didn't? Similar, the through-neck. With my limited trade fiddle experience I see that BOB violins can have a through neck or an upper block. Just curious to have it spelled out. Have all 18th century Voigtland violins with an original neck a through-neck? Similar, the integral bass bar. I see BOB trade fiddles with integral or glued in bass bar. Just curious what the original tradition was. Integral? In summary, If I'd look at an all original 18th century Hopf or other violin from the region, would I expect a through-neck, unilateral corner blocks and an integral bass bar?
  17. That's just brilliant!
  18. Jacob, how far does it go? The 17th and 18th century violins from the Voigtland where built on the back and this traditional way of building in this region influenced how violins were later mass produced in this area. How 'similar' are the old ones to the mass produced ones (apart form the obvious quality difference). Would the old ones usually have integral bass bars, through-necks, even scroll flutings and deltas as we are used to checking on our 'Markie" list? And with the corner blocks again. I understand they are not a necessary part of the building process. However, they may have been inserted before closing the box to prevent the ribs separating at the corners, no? Is this something we usually see on the 17th and 18th century violins (like the Ficker and Schonfelder you mention) or are many or some of them w/o blocks in their original state? To get back to Hopf; would a Caspar or David Hopf have corner blocks?
  19. Yup, sorry, I must have imagined the "Made in" bit. Here is what I found. So the violin would likely be pre 1914. The McKinley Tariff Act of 1891 required that items imported to the U.S. be marked with their country of origin. In 1914 the act was revised to require the words "Made in" to also be used. Finally, in 1921 the act was revised yet again to require that all country names occurred in English. Thus an object labeled simply "Bavaria" of "Nippon" would likely (but not absolutely) be from some time between 1891 and 1914. "Made in Italia" might be before 1921. It seems likely that any item marked "Made in Japan" was probably made or imported after 1921. Prior to 1921, they might have been labeled "Made in Nippon." We also know that after WWII and during the US occupation of Japan, items that were made for export were marked "Made in Occupied Japan" or perhaps "Occupied Japan." Similarly, items labeled "Made in Germany" are likely manufactured between 1921 and WWII.
  20. Building on the back does not require corner blocks. They are not part of the building process. They may or may not be inserted before the violin is closed to (a) help avoid the rib corners coming apart (although that doesn't seem to much of a problem) or (b) betray origin. Someone else would have to say if the fine old Hopfs (or other fine violins from the area before the emergence of the cottage industry) would usually have corner blocks inserted for reason (a) above or if they are known to come w/o blocks, too. Regarding your violin only having lower blocks (easily visible), one might speculate the motivation may have been (b).
  21. Thanks for the link. I don't know the seller or his reputation. I wonder if any of these are the 'real' deal. I'll have a good look and see what I can learn. [ Edit: Looks like our friends from Portugal again!!! ] Regarding your Hopf: It looks old. Maybe it's old enough to pre-date the cottage industry? I also don't usually associate a thin top with mass production. Can you get an indication from the overall weight? Regarding the blocks I have to ask the stupid question: Wouldn't all Hopf violins, incl. the fine old ones of select family members, have been built on the back?
  22. The wording on the label "Made in Germany" was to comply with a US tariff act introduced in 1921. Hence, your violin would be from the 1920s or 1930; pre-WW2.
  23. OMG! That would leave me with no book at all. I will just have to take a plunge on eBay and start a Hopf-plunge-thread to learn anything.
  24. Sold out! Bad luck. Any idea for an alternative source? Did anyone ever copy or scan all or parts of it? Should be on it's journey to Australia. Will be a while. It was remarkably cheap. No big glossy photos?
  25. Thanks Blank face. I thought Jacob was referring to the Zoebisch book (volume 1). That's what I'm trying to order (even tough I haven't had a reply yet). What is the Seidl book you are referring to? Do you have a full name and where I can find the author? I'll try to have a good at the stamps on some of the reference 'fine' Hopfs as I come across and see if I can lean anything. This Portuguese Hopf has used the same stamp inside and on the back. So it's at least not individual letters. But yes, looks self-made. Wow. I thought one could spot the typical Hopf-model shape from a mile away. But in line with what Jacob said, some of the 'fine' examples don't seem to have very square shoulders at all. Is it maybe a case of the trade violins exaggerating the model so everyone would be able to recognise them (much like the perverted trade fiddle Steiner model)? Thanks, that's a great example. Unbelievable condition! I'll upload the photo here for easier reference. Should be easy to spot if one of these comes up on ebay :-) Markneukirchen is surprisingly close to Australia when one has a wife from Saxony. I'll get there one day. In the meantime I'm sure I'll enjoy the book a lot. I'm painfully aware as it also clogs up any internet search on the subject. Great post, thanks Blanc face. Yes, this is where it is headed, the handful (if that many) of recognised, outstanding members of the family. For my preference, the 'urge' also is for a violin that looks like a Hopf (model) though and is not mistaken for a fine Italian :-) I'm trying to avoid the general territory but thought the worldpress article was an amusing read. In the Hopf section the three Hopf members singled out as a cut above the rest do not include David Hopf. Mmm.
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