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Identification thread


pahdah_hound
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I could use a little help identifying this violin. Perhaps others will post photos of violins they need help identifying, and we can all learn something. My guess is that this is probably an old German violin (pretty risky, eh?) but I would love to know what region or age, if anyone has a clue.

complete photos

Thanks,

Jesse

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It depends on wether you are buying or selling. If you are buying, it's just an old German violin. If you are selling, it is clearly a master piece of a Master luitier from Cremona... where is Insearchofcremona when we need him??? I think you guys kind of have chased him away...I miss him...He is entertaining...I'm not helping am I?...

Cheers,

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Ok Jeff, I will bite. Thanks for being willing to help me educate myself.

The scroll looks full and round, larger and fuller than the typical pushed-in look of many German fiddles. The tail of the back of the scroll comes to a point and is less squared off than many German violins I have seen. These things look French to me. In comparison to the early 20th century Markneukirchen violin I have, the c bouts are much smaller but that could be the model. The varnish color and texture also looks like French violins of the mid to late 19th century. The corners have some flare and the button is taller than it is wide. The purfling in the corners have long bee stings which I connect with German although I have seen them on French violins also. The body length is 356mm and the lower bout is 210mm. This is smaller than most French violins I have had.

My concensus guess, and I am afraid I have really shown my ignorance now, is that it is likely French later than 1860 and earlier than 1900.

Be gentle.

Jesse

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Notice the strange beesting into the eye of the scroll. The long, strangely drooping corners that are supported all the way out to the end by impossibly thin rib points. The dropped piece into the ribs under the saddle. The way the top and bottom points of the wings are rounded off. The impossibly tasteless ivory diamond. The one piece lower rib (is there a centering cut on the rib right at the point where it touches the back?) The strange outline with really straight c-bouts.

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Ok the drop down saddle and one piece lower rib=Markneukirchen, yes? Ok I get it.

I notice, upon your suggestion, and noticed in a rather vague way before, the strange corners, the strange outline with the straight c bouts, the strange and "tasteless" ivory diamond. Ok, all this strange stuff-I guess it ain't a Strad. Strange=American, very often, but I gather this isn't American either. Plus, fiddlecollector has one and he isn't into American violins, and he has good taste. So it is by a maker everyone recognizes immediately. That is a good thing I guess, maybe?

I looked through the two dozen I have hanging around my office and none have the strange characteristics Michael mentions.

Jesse

I am wandering through the forest, lovely, dark and deep, and the trees are falling without making a sound.

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Hi Jesse, i haven`t a clue who made mine, i was misled into buying it at auction. It had a load of Hill fittings and was in an Hill case.From a bad camera angle sitting in the case (pics sent by an auction house)I thought it might have had something to do with Craske,but as soon as i got it i realised it wasn`t.German, Markneukirchen or Mittenwald,some imported factory violin.I didn`t lose that much so i`m not too bothered.Mine had been played a hell of a lot though, and the lady players name is in the case.It also has a smashed back which has been quite well repaired but they didn`t bother with any touching up. It has a post patch in the back.A lot of trouble to go to for a fiddle like this.

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I am also attempting to learn more through these identification projects. The f-holes have unusual rounding on the extended thingys (technical term) adjacent to the eyes. What does this usually indicate in terms of style, region, maker, or model?

I have seen this a few times before, but can't place it.

Thanks, as always!

Jim

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I'd like to ask a favor of those attaching photos that will appear inside the text box. Please limit the width (750 pixels or less) as the text is really hard to read if one is scrolling back and forth. If you want to show a larger photo, please supply a link or include the image as an attachment.

Quote:


Ok the drop down saddle and one piece lower rib=Markneukirchen, yes?


Drop down saddle, one piece lower rib, and center locating cut into the rib are classic features of Mittenwald training. That does not always mean the fiddle was made there... Some makers trained in Mittenwald moved to other areas and you can see these traits in fiddles in several towns/cities. Joannes Thir of Vienna is one.

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Hi pahdah_hound,

I noticed that you have somehow tried to avoid communicate with me, which is fine...it's a free country and you don't have to talk to anybody, if you choose not to. And I know, to you, or some people, I may have a strange way to speak, or roughing you in the "wrong" way. But, the fact that I have written many direct messages to you, and you have continued to ignore me, I will stop writing to you. Perhaps, you are better than me in recognizing "stereo" types of what German or Italian, or American violins should look like...What if there's a good Italian violin maker, whose build very good sounding violins that look "tacky" like American violins...you are mostly stereo typing what you have seen before. In some places, people call it Racism!! I think it's very rude of someone to not responding to people whose speaking to them...

Cheers,

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Hi Sammy,

I have not attempted to avoid you and if you knew anything about me you would not equate my naive attempts at violin identification with racism. That is quite a stretch and quite undeserved.

I often felt, as you had mentioned in another thread quite a while ago, that once I posted something, it killed the thread. It might be the style I use to post (I can be rather pedantic if I think I know what I am talking about). So, I understand how you feel.

If I have been rude, I apologize. I don't think I have made an unpleasant comment to you and I was surprised to read your criticism. I certainly have not chosen to ignore you. That you feel that way, concerns me, and I will try to be more sensitive. I have been called rude before, and I can guarantee that when I am rude it is a sin of bone-headed ommision rather than one of malicious commission.

I spent a good deal of time composing what I thought was a rational arguement on another thread regarding what some buyers think is the right to "change their mind" if they don't feel really comfortable with what they agreed to buy on eBay. You made some nice points, expressed your agreement with what I said, and then suggested that the "subject had been beaten to death". I didn't feel that it had been beaten to death, but I didn't want to be a rude bore and prolong the agony.

Jesse

If you wish to continue a discussion of my rude behavior, I would welcome and respond to a personal message. I certainly do not want this thread to degenerate into a bickering hissy fit between the two of us.

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Well, I spent most of the evening scouring hundreds of violin photos. I found a bunch of dropped down saddles, plenty of one piece ribs, scroll backs that end in a sort of point, but here's the rub... Even if I were able to find one that had most of the characteristics of this violin, I likely would not know what the other violin was anyway. The few times I have known what I am looking at, have been at Skinner or Tarisio previews and I have barely had time to look at the cheaper, unidentified stuff,(that I was buying) let alone enough time to study the good stuff.

I am guessing that you gave me a bit of a hint when you mentioned Johannes Thir, so perhaps there is a southern German or perhaps Austrian connection here-isn't that area near the Tyrol too?

I am sorry, but I must be a dull student, because I am getting better clues from the other posters, you and Michael than I am from the violin itself. I can certainly see its strangeness, recognize some things I have seen before and of which I now know the origin, but trying to make any definitive decision still feels like a guess.

Enough excuses. Here goes. It doesn't look like a German trade fiddle, at least of the common type around 1900 or so. I cannot see similarities to Lowendall, Heberlein, Roth, Juzek, Schmidt, etc. Therefore, I am assuming it is somewhat older. My guess puts it prior to 1880 or so but later than 1860. I see no sign of a baroque conversion, which I would assume would be present in an older violin. I am also going to guess Southern Germany, and thanks to your clue, perhaps Austria. Those regions are getting rather close to another country that hasn't been mentioned, and since I have not heard of much violin production from Switzerland, Italy comes to mind. Now I would be really lost. I remember when I first started getting interested in violins, and Chris Reuning was kind enough to show me Stern's Strad at his shop, it looked nice to me but not at all different than the copies I had seen. I wonder if one dropped in my lap if I could recognize it now.

Final guesses, Southern Germany, perhaps Mittenwald but seems too obvious and I have had what I think were Mittenwald violins without the strangeness, or maybe Vienna. Time period of the mid 19th century. Do I get partial credit?

I need lessons like this very badly.

Thanks,

Jesse

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I don't know the maker, but think you're on the right track. To me, it looks like a 19th century Mittenwald instrument in the photos... The model is a bit strange, but it seems to have the general character. The varnish is very similar to instruments I hear referred to as "Neuner", but I think many ruddy reddish Mittenwald fiddles just get that name thrust upon them (as it's a name many have heard before).

My "clue" was more of a warning... Characteristics of Mittenwald fiddles are shared with some other cities due to influence/training/relocation. If this fiddle wasn't made in Mittenwald, it was probably made by someone who was trained there.

The kind of short, dome shaped, dropped saddle in Fiddlecollectors image (the one he took back off earlier?) is very typical of Mittenwald, but these are often reshaped (top flattened a bit) as time goes by.

Here's a link to another Mittenwald violin. Although the model is different, note the way the shoulders slope, the straight C bouts, varnish texture, and the way the purfling corners "poke" out into the beveled portion of the rather squarely finished corners on the image of the back.

Mittenwald violin

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Sorry Jesse...now, I feel like a fool... . Also, sorry about name calling...I've gotten a little too sensitive. I always thought you are a good member, and a good ebay seller. Now that we clear that out of the way, i'd love to talk to you again...

"...words are the biggest source of mis-understanding..."

-Midori-

Let's play violin instead!!

Cheers,

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