ChrisG

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  1. The Curious Case of Andrea Castagneri

    I bought an endoscope of eBay for $15 and it was fun to explore the inside of this violin. Of course I was looking for a clue that would settle the mystery of this violin's maker once and for all, but no such luck as I found very little of interest (to me at least) inside. Overall the interior seems to be in very good shape. There were two small cracks that have been repaird and the center joint of the top and bottom joints appear to have been cleated when the violin was made. I did find a crack on the inside of the top on the treble side just off of the center joint near the neck block - you can see it in this image and there are a few more photos of the interior in this shared folder https://drive.google.com/open?id=1GzkETTdKDcZLvH2WhO1EtFsw_D6rscj3 . I intend to take this violin to a luthier to set it up and inspect in a few weeks but would be interested in any opinions on this crack. I cannot see any evidence of this crack when looking at the outside of the instrument (under the fingerboard but still dont see anything. Thanks!
  2. I can give a perspective from a very recent data point from an amateur violinist. I got a ~1900 German violin with a lion head when I was a teenager and have had it for the last 25 years or so. It is a decent student instrument and I never knew any different. I've started playing more the past few years, and about a week ago I obtained a mid-1750s French violin. Having played on it for a few hours now, there are definitely several things that are much easier on this better instrument that I've historically struggled with. First, I have found spiccato to be much easier - not only is the bounce "livelier", I also feel that when the bow is off the string I can make it land more smoothly if I want. One other thing I can't explain is that vibrato seems easier on the old French violin - my only guess is that because this violin has a louder, clearer sound I am more relaxed when playing it resulting in a better vibrato.
  3. The Curious Case of Andrea Castagneri

    Thanks for the details Ben! I discovered a new property of the violin when looking at the ebony pin near the button and I added a new closeup to the shared folder. It appears that the area beneath the button was scraped and a depression remains that you can feel if you rub your finger over it. I think it should be pretty visible in the picture, but it is just about the same width as the button. There is also one remaining gouge mark below this depression that to me at least does not look like an accidental ding. Maybe a brand was removed during the neck repair and a label inserted by a wily Frenchman ?
  4. The Curious Case of Andrea Castagneri

    The pegbox doesn't appear to have a circular cutout. I just added a more detailed picture to the shared folder. Jacob's point is a very good one though - there are a few Castagneris with certificates from respected authorities floating around with dates in the 1750s that now seem to be refuted by his death in 1747. So it seems like there are fewer "reference instruments" than previously thought. I will see if I can find a way to get some pics of the inside
  5. The Curious Case of Andrea Castagneri

    Thanks very much for the info and I'm amazed that you are able to conjecture the size from photos alone. Martin is indeed correct that the LOB is 36.1cm. In my searches I could not find many example instruments from known makers of this era over 36cm further complicating my search for candidate makers. The arching seems actually quite high to me but not sure if there is a standard way to measure that. This is the first time I've seen a replacement neck in person and it appears to have been very well done, but again sample size of one for me!
  6. Hi everyone. First want to say what an amazing resource Maestronet is for laypersons like myself interested in violins, history, data, and science. I recently acquired a violin via auction and did a dendro to try and gain some more information about the violin. The violin is labeled as a 1743 Castagneri and at least some experts believed it to be a genuine Castagneri, but a dendro suggests that a more likely earliest creation date is 1755. The wood is similar to many other pre-Revolution French violins but no exact tree match. It turns out that while previous researchers had put Castagneri's death at around 1760, an apparently more authoritative source puts his death at 1747 (see http://www.viaductviolins.com/maker-detail.php?maker=143 ). So the question now, is who made this violin?! For me, the sound is fantastic and I look forward to playing it for years to come, but after reading as much as I could about Vieux Paris, Turin, Castagneri, and other makers in Paris of that era, I'm eager to learn as much as I can about the violin. I've had a few people suggest Gaffino as a possibility and I understand he took over for Castagneri at some point. However, I'd like to know what other tidbits the experts out there might have to say about this violin. I'm happy to post any additional pics if they'd be useful, but below is a shared folder containing some images of the violin. Thanks in advance! https://drive.google.com/open?id=1awC4gphuv99tSlYR-P_xxLU848UxVTn2