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A post on this forum a month or so ago made me look more closely at the button on my violin. What I found looked odd - there seems to be a slice through it on the treble side.

What does this suggest? Has there been a repair? Or a mistake during construction? Or is it deliberate?

I'd be very grateful for the views from any of the experts here.

Gordon.

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I hesitate to call myself an 'expert' nevertheless....

You can tell if it's an error in construction if the original varnish covers it. If you can see any change in varnish texture or color then it's probably a repair. Also look for a near flawless wood match, the maker would have lots of the original wood to use to match in the repair.

Oded Kishony

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It has either been broken of by the maker himself and glued back on not too good before fitting the neck.Or its came off when the necks been removed but i can see much evidence of that apart from a slight shadow at the edge of the plate on the heel,so it possibly has been off.Its a typical type of break which some people fit a collar to hide.

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Michael, it's obscure Italian (aka cheap); a 1929 violin by the Sacchetti brothers. At least that's what the label says - though it is pretty consistent with the few descriptions and photos I've found of other violins by them.

When I was upgrading a few years ago it was initially passed over - but ultimately purchased for it's sound rather than its looks!

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The first time I started thinking this way was about 20 years ago at Bein and Fushi. They'd just bought a few of boxes of cheap "attic" violins (about 60 of them) to sell in Japan (where they didn't have attics) and my job was to unpack them all and line them up on the counter, on their edges, like books, head out. Bob Bein walked in, scanned them, and in literally 20 seconds picked one, pulled it out, and said "pack the rest back up". He'd pulled out a nice old English violin from the bunch. I asked how he'd done that, and he said "Good violins have a different look--practice it and you'll get it." So I did. By the way, I went over the rest carefully, then, and didn't find anything he'd missed.

I came to an interesting realization the other day--players know that to be good they have to practice (productively--not just sawing away randomly) for hours a day for years before they're worth hearing but people who aspire to be makers (or experts, which I'm definitely not), or something on that end, often completely miss that exactly the same rules apply there, too. Just as you can't become a great player by working alone, it's virtually impossible to become a great maker or expert that way, too.

After I wrote this I asked my shop partner to come and look at the picture, cold. His first words were "That's interesting--what is it?" :-)

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