ChicagoDogs

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  1. I don't know how accurate or widespread this is, but I had read that the popularity of live-edge tables was a contributing factor to some unscrupulous forestry -- "tree poaching" or something similar. Here is the article I'm thinking of -- https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/06/stolen-timber-funding-british-columbias-opioid-fix/590476/. Certainly wouldn't want to implicate an ethical, high-end shop like Nakashima in anything like this, but the popularity of that style and associated knock-offs by other manufacturers seems like it may have an impact. Would be interested in perspectives of those closer to the timber industry and supply as to whether this is overblown/mythological or whether there is an increased demand for larger-diameter pieces. I could see a counter-argument that the tree diameter needed to make a nice quartered maple board of 8" or 10" width is not much different than something that could create a large live-edged dinner table.
  2. Apologies if this is an uninformed question, but... Is it possible that the purfling corners used to look quite a bit better, and then the sanding (and possibly scraping?) removed the outer portion that had been more carefully finished and completed, leaving only a lower part of the grooves without well-executed miters? I could see this happening if the bee stings were placed in a groove growing increasingly shallow as it extends out, or if someone just sanded down the plate corners more heavily than other areas. The purfling lines seem overall to follow the plate outlines fairly nicely, with the corners standing out as the only area of really poor optics, at least to me.
  3. The bow looks like the garden-variety "Fancy" or "Vuillaume" bow, with a real ivory frog and possibly button, unless I am mis-reading the appearance of "grain" lines on the frog. Pretty crudely cut around the heel (scroll?) and makes you wonder if someone was sawing up ivory frogs by the dozen on some early scroll saw or band saw. The violin looks like it was a nice instrument at the start of its life, like BF said, but now manages to achieve a surprising level of visual dissonance. I can't quite put my finger on what is the issue in looking at the straight-on photo of the top, but it looks like a combination of a short fingerboard, low/misplaced bridge, slightly wonky ffs, and camera distortion?
  4. I think this is something that's touched on tangentially in a lot of the posts above, but as somebody with a foot in both the guitar world and violin world, I figured I would add one observation -- A key point in the valuation of classes of instruments, assuming they're workable/desirable as instruments and/or collectibles, is the scarcity of them relative to the demand. There are not a lot of gold-top 50s LPs or Korina Flying Vs/Explorers out there, nor are there old Italian instruments. There are literally millions of German trade violins around, and while they're perfectly serviceable (like, say, a recent LP or Strat) they're not going to demand the same price. On the acoustic side, you could say the same thing about Martins - there may be a dog of a prewar D28 with a bunch of damage and repair, but it'll still go for more than a well-playing 50s or 60s one, which will go for more than the recent versions that are perfectly serviceable for most players. One thing that I have found interesting is that the approximate price difference between a basic "nice" new acoustic guitar and a really sharp well-crafted one (say a nice Collings) is about an order of magnitude - say, $700 vs $7000, with some flexibility up or down. I think you could say the same about new violins -- a nice new Chinese instrument, parallel to a $700 guitar, could be about $2000, while the work of a well known comtemporary maker could be in the $20K range or a little up from there. I don't know if that's just a coincidence, or if there is something similar in the relative costs of operating a small high-end shop vs. a larger production operation for both guitars and violins.
  5. There was an interesting discussion of this in this thread. Although it got sidetracked a bit by discussion of smaller pins in the pegbox, the scroll photos and peg bushings certainly raise some questions.
  6. Thanks Dwight - very interesting regarding Flesch and his story.
  7. Apologies if this has been covered previously -- the search function didn't turn up much in the way of answers. A question that has been on my mind a while: where do the customary names for common chinrest models originate? A few are fairly easy to guess at (the Flesch model for example, which I assume was Carl Flesch's creation), but the origin of names like Guarneri, Dresden, Stuber, etc. are more mysterious, at least to me. Did those terms get standardized by a well-known shop like the Hills, and spread from there? Or via an influential catalog?
  8. Thanks Doug. I wasn't trying to say that those features were diagnostic of trade instruments from a certain area, but instead was looking to explore why those features may have come about, and test my tentative thoughts on that front. Sorry if that wasn't clear.
  9. Hi all, The last few years I've been thinking about the large number of consistent, but somewhat odd, visual attributes that can be found on older Markneukirchen-area trade violins (and perhaps others), including: An un-fluted patch on the back of the scroll with "Conservatory Violin" or similar text carved in The typical exaggerated bulbous arching on so-called "Stainer" models The gradually evolving and mutating "Hopf" model, reaching increasing extremes of outline over the years The "Ole Bull" brand near the button on a wide variety of models The "fancy violin" with black/white edging or a painting on the back At first I thought it was odd that so many of these features were so common but have no apparent value, and no consistent correlation to quality (other than that higher-quality violins may tend to exhibit none of these traits). After thinking about it a little more, I imagine that these distinctive features came about as a marketing trait in the age of traveling salesman and mail-order catalog sales, as a way to present a variety of options to the novice buyer, provide some illusory feeling of a consistent product, and draw on word-of-mouth marketing. For example, if the neighbor fiddler down the road plays a "Hopf," that'd be the instrument of choice for a kid (or parents) shopping from the Sears catalog. The near-button branding in the case of "Stainers" and so forth provides a literal visual "brand" but I think all of the features might be viewed as parallels to the visual branding that designers of many goods strive for - e.g., consistent styling among different car models by a given manufacturer. Then, giving this a little more thought, it seems like there are other features that fall into this same category, like, for example, the development of a large number of "Guarneri model" Chinese trade violins around the 1990s time frame, all with late-period dG style f-holes (although often with few other dG-ish features), possibly designed to appeal to high school students looking to stand out from their peers. I think there's some broad correlation there to the 1900-era trade instruments, in that the features are appealing to novice buyers looking for an identifiable visual "brand" that may be more visible to others than a label inside the instrument. So, just wanted to put those thoughts out there for discussion and see if others have similar thoughts, have other explanations for some of those visual ornaments, or especially have other examples of this phenomenon that come to mind. Is this off-base or something that others have already realized and written about? Thanks in advance and hope all are staying well; appreciate the chance to be a part of this community.
  10. The linings across the blocks (and of an unusual wood at that) might indicate that it was regraduated and reworked by some well-intentioned person at some point. That could have involved smoothing out rough work or tool marks on both the back and ribs, and adding new linings (and possibly corner blocks) in the process. The strings look odd and very thin... do you think they are another misplaced attempt at a home remedy?
  11. Could you rough out the inside angles of the scroll piece with a table saw, dado-style -- cutting down to the back of the pegbox, but not past it? Then the neck could be cut to the same angle ... would require a lot of careful set-up, and a decent amount of finishing work, but could get you in the ballpark.
  12. In my experience that sequential inflation doesn't happen much. There's a consistent gap between what somebody can buy an instrument for at retail, and what they can make from selling an instrument on consignment or at auction. That reflects the obvious work that goes into sorting through auctions and the wholesale world, and repairing/in order to present an inventory to the average consumer. If someone is fortunate to have a salable, in-demand instrument, and connections to buyers, they may be able to approach a typical dealer price, but usually the uncertainty of buying from an unknown citizen off of Craigslist or whatever will depress the price a bit.
  13. Tough to tell a lot from those photos, but the corners look very poorly done, consistent with a homemade instrument with a purchased neck/scroll. Doesn't look like anything worth pursuing.
  14. Also.... what's going on with the fingerboard? Did somebody just slap a wider board on top of the old neck, throw in an extra peg, and call it a 5-string?
  15. "OLE BULL" under the Paganini stamp? Both were pretty common I believe. Maybe the wholesaler could get a slightly higher price for the Paganini- stamped instruments and was having a rough week?