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story of the little Strad


apprenticerose

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Like every other wide-eyed young violin fanatic, I went a-searching for the perfect violin when I was about 15. And found a "Strad". Yes, it fooled me (hey, I was 15!), but the resulting research taught me a lot about appraisal and authenticity.

For $325, I now had a late 19th-c. German Strad model with major damage from a cracked end block and too-tight saddle. You can guess what the belly looked like.

But the little Strad sounded like the real McCoy. And played many a concert, as a fiery young violinist pushed a broken instrument with a big voice to its limit.

Against all odds, it lasted eight years with no repairs. Couldn't afford to fix it, but always dreamed of being able to do the repairs. And the young violinist prayed for it to last, just one more concert...

It began to go downhill fast this spring, as it was pushed harder and harder as the dreaded senior recital (performance major's final requirement) approached.

The little Strad barely survived the recital and a major concert two months later. It had begun to die.

Repair appraisals were staggering in price. Large crack under bass bar, small cracks everywhere, badly cracked block, hollows in FB, belly deformed from soundpost, etc. etc.

And then came an accidental meeting with a repairman who made an amazing offer--"I will teach you to fix it, and there will be no charge." Not for parts, not for labor. He had once been an apprentice himself, and wanted it to be a gift as his own education had been.

We reinvented the whole instrument. I thought it couldn't get any better, but it did.

The little Strad continues to sing. The violinist became an apprentice, and that, folks, is why I'm here.

Apprentice Rose

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Great story. Really great story. I love it. I too have a very pedestrian old German trade fiddle with a wonderfully open and exhilarating voice. I have had many many violins and few, if any, can compare with the exhuberant tone of this old relic.

Congratualations on saving a great instrument and learning luthery. Also thanks to your master for bringing you into the fold.

Best of luck,

Jesse

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We are a kind of attached to our instruments. I have many violins which I bought them one time or another. I did not

find any Strad or " little Stad",( no such luck )but I find each of them has something special like different friends. You know what they can do and they cannot do. They

are not perfect but nice in certain ways. Just my observation. You are obviouly a lucky person (violinist) .

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I love my violin, 8 yrs. later. One always hopes to find another miracle, but as my master says--it happened once, be satisfied! And as my old teacher says "The Lord gave you that violin!".

I have five other instruments currently, but none come even remotely close. Although they each have their own peculiar sound.

Apprentice Rose

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For the benefit of me and others, please answer the following:

(1) Is your "little Strad" 's sound quite focused?

(2) Does it posses a lot of power ? (simply put loud? )

(3) Does it projest well? ( I think you have said that)

(4) Does it sound like a Roth of years such as 1920?

(5) The top spruce has very densed grains .

If you answer all yes, then I think I have met one too, My Lord, I passed out that one. Thank you in adavanced.

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Quote:

For the benefit of me and others, please answer the following:

Sure!

(1) Is your "little Strad" 's sound quite focused?

Definitely. It had a fuzziness and falseness on the G but after the repair is clear as a bell. The ultra-high range of the G string is as clear and sweet as first-position D string.

(2) Does it posses a lot of power ? (simply put loud? )

Incredibly loud! I generally have to tone it down when playing chamber music so as not to dominate.

(3) Does it projest well? ( I think you have said that)

Yes, projection is great. The combination of clarity and power goes a long way.

(4) Does it sound like a Roth of years such as 1920?

Do you know, I'm not familiar with 1920 Roths! I've played many by different makers but haven't run across those.

(5) The top spruce has very densed grains .

Actually, it's a wide-ish grain in places, not very even. Not really really wide but not too dense.

>>If you answer all yes, then I think I have met one too, My Lord, I passed out that one. Thank you in adavanced. >>


Where and how did you find yours? What's the label and year?

Apprentice Rose

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Thank you for your response.

I came across a 1920 Roth last year in my local violin shop. It had a Bowman (violin shop) bridge but the price was $6k and I am not such a good player to derserve one.

I had to come up with $2k cash plus a trade-in. It was

not my price level of violin that I wanted at that time.

I feel that you have got an excellent violin that has all the greatness that we all admire.

Good for you and enjoy it to the fullest.

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