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Australian Violins


brontosaurous
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The KARINKANTA family are a four generation dynasty of well respected Argentinean violin makers, I think their name sounds like it might be Finnish originally.

It’s possible that the violin you repaired could be one of theirs and therefore Argentinean.

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Hi Keith- Are there any older Australian violins available that you have seen? This sounds like an interesting area to explore, especially if there are individually made instruments by excellent makers who have not as yet hit the world market. ( by older I'm thinking 30 plus yrs) that have been well played).

I seem to remember that the Strad ran an Australian violin issue a few years ago. Maybe they will again. It sounds like "sleeper" possibilities could be abundant!

All Best, Larry.

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I know of a William Dow cello that was sold in Melbourne for sixty thousand Australian dollars. I was led to believe that this was the most ever paid for an Australian made instrument, but I could be wrong! I can't quite remember his dates but I think it was around the 1920-30's?? I know he was based in Melbourne and won quite a few competitions. One of his violins also sold recently for about A$18,000.

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I guess the name A.E. Smith was synonymous with quality on the Australian scene for some decades.

I'm out of touch but I believe the second generation (Kitty Smith) was still making something until very recently and the third generation Rod Smith is certainly in business (and charging about $15K Aust? for a fiddle?)

I saw a late A.E. Smith (1964?)a few years back going for around the same figure, $15K Aust. It was not finely finished which you might forgive in a maker his age.

I remember a couple of others I had the chance to play about 30 years back - one with unorthodox irregular ribs widened at the c-bouts - which the owner christened the "pregnant Smith".

I also read that the German violist Hartmut Lindeman(?) was playing a big Smith instrument for some time when he was working in Australia.

I have seen a couple of instruments by the same Dow mentioned in another post here - that's certainly quite big money!

I heard a rumour(?) there is also a bow-maker located in Darwin attracting some interest. The world of the luthier knows no bounds!

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I have tried a couple of violins made from Australian timbers but to be honest although they were nicely made by good makers I didn't like the sound so much as the standard timbers. Both of these instruments were very attractive. I also found one of them to be extremely heavy after a little while playing. I think this one was made of blackwood. I believe the heaviness may have been due to the density of the timbers used in the fittings rather than the body but I couldn't say for sure. My arm just ached. Of course, this is just my personal opinion as a fairly small person - I'm not saying they wouldn't suit someone else.

My two main instruments for regular playing are Australian-made violins. One is modern, made for me on commission by Arthur Robinson from Western Australia. It is made from standard materials and I believe it was well worth the money. The other is an A.E.Smith, so older and also made from standard materials.

I'm afraid I haven't tried any other Australian makers. I expect I should to see what they're like but I'm really not in the market for another instrument and I don't like to mess them about with 'tyre-kicking'. I'd be interested to hear from anyone else who has tried other Australian makers.

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here we go again...i hope people don't misconstrue your comments as "China bashing" I don't take them that way, but I think we have to be careful when making sweeping statements like that...don't worry, I make them too!

What I appreciate about Paul is his innovativeness, his ability to think proactively, and his attention to detail. He has put a lot of thought into the instruments both that he makes individually out of his own shop as prototypes for the Chinese workshop made instruments, as well as those that he oversees in his Shanghai facility.

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If I was looking for a good older Australian made violin I would be going for some of the Smith apprentices - people like Lloyd Adams, Bill Dolphin or Charles and Cedric Clarke (father and son). But they are all getting a bit pricey too. There are a few others who's work I really like who aren't so well known - Guy Aubrey Griffin, Bill Paszek (though he didn't make many), Frank Zivec and John Yakimoff are some that come to mind.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Does anyone have any info on a maker from South Australia in the late 1890's by the name of James Taylor? I have a violin made by him dated 1895. It's quite well made (compared with some early Australian instruments I've seen) but not especially good re tone.

I'd be interested to know more about the maker if anyone knows anything.

Thanks

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Born Aberdeenshire, Scotland, 1846. Arrived Adelaide 1864. Was apprenticed as a tailor but took up photography and started a portrait business in Gawler in 1871, and also developed interest in printing processes. Moved to Port Augusta 1885-1903, then Quorn 1897-1903, then Adelaide 1904-1912. Noted marksman, one of the founding members of the Highland Pipe Band, and an excellent Scottish dancer. One of his hobbies was violin making, last instrument completed in his 70th year. Died 4/9/1917, aged 71 years. Made around 12 violins. There is a record of one with a label mentioning South Yarra, Victoria so probably spent some time in Melbourne also.

I haven't actually seen any of his instruments so can't comment on his style. I would appreciate it if you could send me a few photos.

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