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Another violin with unknown origin... care to guess?


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Wow--looks like Brescian style, all right. Whether Italian, I can't judge. The age looks over 150 years. The only thing I find disturbing is the lack of evidence of cracking in the top. Usually if the edges need doubling the violin has been used a lot and there should have been more damage over time--evidence of soundpost wear and so on. You're right, the block and some of the linings are not original, so we know this violin has seen some work.

Can you tell us a bit more about it? Body size, etc.?

One more thing I just noticed--thick neck and fingerboard, as seen on some antiqued German copies. I see a new neck in the background in the photos--what can you tell us about the old neck?

[This message has been edited by Mark_W (edited 09-28-2001).]

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the varnish has a nice patina, but my photos are not that good.

Plus there was an hugely excessive layer of pad laq applied to the instrument which I pulled of (35gr)

the old neck was pretty much useless, it had been shaved to 21mm wide at the nut, had 4 grafts, and 2 bushing jobs in differnt locations, a heel graft, a button graft, and a 4mm dowel from the finger board surface into the heel to shore up a fracture in the heel.






upper rib=28mm

lower rib=29mm


table graduation=2.8mm center to edge

back graduation=2.5mm center to edge

rib thickness=0.8mm

there are tool marks in the back, and plane marks on ribs

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The measurements bode well. So often these copies are oversize. The rib tapering up toward the lower bout seems good too. I've measured some of the lesser Maggini-like animals out there and a lot of them would make better violas than violins. They're often built like trucks, too.

Padding lacquer = **** for violins.

Looks like a nice project. Let us know how it turns out.

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You are right in pointing out that there are similarities among instruments that passed through Steve's hands. However, the instrument I pointed out to in this post does belong to me. I purchased it at a local Bluegrass store, here in Baltimore. I've asked Steve to work on it, that's all. So don't worry, there's no scam going on!


Mike Chuang

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Pad laq is a bleached shellac with a high percentage of isobutanol which slows the drying time to allow you more time to work the polish and oil.

It should be used very sparingly when french polishing finished items. It should never be used on fine stringed instruments.

It is frequently used on guitars and mandolins.

I removed it with a little 150 proof everclear and a lot of elbow grease.

As soon as the patina and crackle of the original finish showed up I stopped rubbing.

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I am intrigued by the grain configuration in the bass bar ...as shown in the photos No 1,the grain seems to be at a significant angle to the customary vertical plane, with possibly only one winter growth ring making contact with the top.

I'd appreciate some comments on this, if anyone has a theory as to the merits/detriments,or any history of this grain alignment practice. My 'seat of the pants' feel is this arrangement would inhibit the vibration transfer, and effectively equal a vertical grain bar having one winter and two summer growth rings,insofar as vibration transfer is concerned.

BTW, does this violin project well?


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I can't tell you what the violin sound/project like right now. I am anticipating the violin to arrive back in my hands on thursday the latest, then I will take it into the concert hall at my school.

Before the works, my violin already has a lot of power. But since the tone is very warm and unfocussed the projection was not really there. I when I get the violin back in couple of days, I will let everyone know how things turned out. In the mean time, Steve G. may be able to answer your quesiton on the bass bar.


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Hello everyone,

My violin just got back to me couple days ago. I still fine tuning it with various string and sound post positions.

I think it was a success. The tone is now more focussed with out losing the characteristics and smoothness of the original sound. The body looks absolutley fantastic. The neck was nicely done, especially at where the button is. The scroll was well done as well... This violin now as a very "tight" sound but that's probaly because of the edge doubling. However, this is now a great sound that I see a great potential for.

I am very happy that Steve G. did the neck, scroll graft, edge doubling, and most importantly, cleaned up the body for me. Plus, with the new (larger diameter) sound post, I have brought forth a powerful upper register that will match with the already well endowed lower register. I am not a pro, but I now can enjoy playing a great violin like a pro.

Thanks Steve.


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