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  1. It might be a silly question and the answer may simply be that it depends on the density of the wood, but I recently saw a professional Scottish traditional player at a concert playing a violin which looked like it had little or no significant figuring on the back and sides. It sounded lovely. If well figured wood is an indicator of superiour materials, are there also top quality instruments that exhibit little or no markings? I think you could objectively say that would make for a less beautiful violin, but is it strictly less likely to have a good tone?
  2. Thanks Martin. MacKay had a shop on Guild Street in Aberdeen and I can be quite sure that it did come from that shop (it has only had 2 owners before myself - both Aberdeen locals). Whether MacKay made it himself or simply finished it off and labelled it is another story! He seems to have been more well known as a violinist although is also noted to have been a maker. He was conductor of the orchestra at the Theatre Royal in Aberdeen. I'm certainly enjoying playing it which is the main thing!
  3. Interesting post - I am of a similar mind to CBFindlay. I would favour a sweet mellow tone over volume for my own 'hobbyist' requirements. The problem is that it would quickly get expensive to try out a range of different strings, so some direction on what has worked for others is useful, despite the inherent degree individuality noted by some.
  4. Thanks Luis, the back looked attractive to me too! I'm simply not familiar with levels of variation in the quality of the 'prefabricated' instruments Jacob is referring to. Jacob, thanks for your input - I take some encouragement from the fact that you don't definitively recognise it as an imported prefab! However, as you say, perhaps a local may provide more incite. I have read MacKay may have been an associate of the more well known Aberdeen maker John Marshall, and a comparison against his instruments looks to my eye to be favourable to this violin, and by extension to that theory. I have no knowledge of any other MacKay fiddles at present though. Unless anyone here could enlighten me further?
  5. I recently picked up the violin pictured and wondered if anyone had any thoughts on it? It is labelled by G.S.MacKay Aberdeen, who is listed in David Rattray's book on Scottish violin makers as an Aberdeen maker (d. 1917). However, I hear that many makers of the time also imported trade instruments and re-labelled them. Does anyone have any thoughts on whether or not this is the genuine article? I also have a standard German trade fiddle at home and there is no doubt this is a far superior instrument to that. I read one of the give-aways with the low grade trade stuff is the over-smoothness of the back/varnish. The MacKay labelled instrumnet has a much more varied texture to the figured grain markings as you can almost make out from the images. Does this suggest hand made? Are there any other indicators that can be seen? Any thoughts much appreciated.
  6. Ah, success "MacKay, George Sutherland, born Inverness 1849. A rising violinist and composer. Pupil of the celebrated Dr Mark of Manchester. Conductor of orchestra of Aberdeen Theatre Royal for several years." Baptie, D. in Musical Scotland ...and in Rattray, "MacKay, George. b. Inverness 1850 d. Aberdeen 1918 fl. Aberdeen c. 1885. Maker, violinist, teacher and music seller...possibly associated with John Marshall."
  7. Has anyone heard of the Aberdeen Maker G.S.MACKAY? I really need to get my hands on a copy of the Rattray book!
  8. Very interesting and useful post in the previous thread. Many thanks for sharing your knowledge.
  9. Jacob, would you mind elaborating on the 'tells' that it could be something like be Gebrüder Placht violin?
  10. I had suspected a revarnish. I forgot to mention that it has unusually high arching to the back which isn't maybe as clear in the photos. It does seem a nice instrument. Shame about the varnish.
  11. Hi, I wonder if anyone could assist me in identifying this violin? It was purchased in Twente in The Netherlands but has no makers label. It has a repaired crack above the right side f hole. It plays well and has a nice warm sound. Any thoughts would appreciated as I have very little information on it.
  12. Thanks Martin - it does look rather heavy and there is something proportionally uncomfortable in the f hole design to my (amateur) eye. I suspected an amateur maker from what I've read so this has been useful in confirming that likelihood. I'll be playing the instrument next week to evaluate the tone but I suspect the hunt will continue...
  13. Thanks, I will definitely be considering sound and playability first and foremost. I thought the f-holes looked a little inelegant perhaps , certainly very upright...
  14. Hi, I've been reading through many of the threads on Scottish made violins here recently and thought I'd try and seek some help. I've been interested in Scottish made violins since taking up playing 5 or so years ago. On learning I'd taken up playing my Grandmother in Aberdeenshire informed me that her father had been a respected local traditional player, and played a muched loved fiddle which had been made in Aberdeen. This would place it's age at least around the beginning of the 20th century. Unfortunately when I asked if it was still in the family somewhere nobody could recall who it was passed on to. This interested me enough to start looking out for Aberdeen made fiddles, not to find his of course but maybe to play a similar instrument. I'm keen on history, antiques and anything Scottish so this notion just fitted! I was recently offered an instrument made in 1931, signed by one John Alexander, and would love to know anyone's thoughts on the fiddle and perhaps it's maker?
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