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Opinions on this old violin?


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I purchased this old violin from a seller in Germany and wondered if anyone would share their opinions.

I was initially very disappointed when I saw it because it has a very sloppy, shiny layer of gloss added over the old varnish. Also, the old label which I did not really expect to be authentic is a very fakey copy - it looks like someone copied a photocopy of a photocopy etc., onto plain white paper. And there are dribbles of either glue or the gloss finish on the inside.

However, I changed the old strings and after playing it for about a week, I am really growing fond of the tone. Now I am wondering if it would be worth having a new bridge made and the soundpost adjusted. I also wish I could remove the shiny sloppy over-varnish, but don't want to ruin the violin completely since it is starting to sound nice.

Any opinions on the violin?








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Right, I don't think that the label (Chanot / Paris) has any relationship to the violin. I can't imagine why anyone would glue such an obvious fake label (bad photocopying on white paper) into a very old violin.

One other mark: The button is worn down quite a bit as you might be able to see in the photos, but there is still a faint impression of some letters imprinted into the wood of the button. It looks like MJ.

But I'm wondering if the shape, wood, etc. look like it's worth spending any money for a new bridge, etc. I own quite a few violins but I keep being drawn back to playing this one. There are a lot of genuine wear spots on the violin which look like it has been played a lot through the years, probably more than any of my other old violins. I'm not very good at describing tone, and not a very good player yet either, but it sounds even across all the strings and seems very responsive.

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Looks like a French medio Fino to me. The shape of the upper bout and the overall shape. It has nasty varnish that they used to apply. The bridge needs changing or thinning as it is too thick from what I can see from the pictures. It will sound alright as I have done up a few of those and they play OK. Just student level but not bad for an inexpensive violin as they are large and have big old basebars - the varnish just looks horrible but you can get something done with it if you hate it that much - but that is what they looked like in the beginning.

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Has anyone had any experience with either having an added-on gloss coat like this removed, or have you done so yourself? This is a really sloppy coat with streaks and thicker areas, and definitely does not enhance the appearance. But I expect it would be too expensive to have it professionally corrected, and then if some replacement finish needs to be added, I suppose that would have a negative affect on the tone?

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It is not a Medio Fino, in my opinion. Medio Fino's almost always have one piece backs, and scribed purfling. There was never a Medio Fino with as cleanly carved a scroll as this one has. Also Medio Finos are varnished a flat dark red and virutually never antiqued. I have seen dozens of Medio Finos but never one that looked like this.

It looks German to me.


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The arching looks south-German to me.

As far as improving the nasty finish, one option might be to get several half-sheets of MicroMesh in various grits up to 12000 and start sanding down the thick parts of the overcoat, trying to make everything blend together better. The dollar investment wouldn't be large, and as long as you don't sand right through to the wood I shouldn't think it could do anything but help.

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OK OK its German! I am not too hot yet on my appraisals I admit. It is the top that made me think it was French because it has a sloping shoulder shape to it. I do have a medio fino which does have red varnish and does have a one piece back so I should have shut my big mouth but I have seen brown ones too with inlaid purfling and a deep scroll - on the net today - instead of working - oh well, theres always tomorrow...

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If this violin is mine, I would not do anything to it in wish of

improveing its appearance. It is fine as an inexpensive violin of a good tune

and fake label. You only fix it if there is any structural damage . If the tune is good why need

a new bridge? Have your local luthier to take a look at the neck angle.

(usually , Okay if it is not off too much). Jacob will have something to say

about neck angle.

People do not trust over-improved violins if you choose to sell it. They

want everything original Save your receipt if you have one.

Why should I worry about the neck angle? Reason: the violin has been subjected to stress

for over 100 years , a long time, pulled by the tensions of strings.

Why you should not re-varnish it? Reason: The first coat of varnish is over 100 years old, completely

hardened, any new coat of varnish will muffled the sound.

Will it affect the sound? Most likely in negative way.

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Czek or German. Looks like someone already attempted a neck pullback but didn't know how to get into it - evidence the damage to upper right bout. Thin the bridge and lower it's height to taste. Wet-or-dry extremely fine grit to carefully remove excess gloss finish ares but don't over do it and I'd have to think hard before I even went that far. Main thing is if you like the sound it was worth the price. So many times I've seen sellers try to cheat with a fake label when the instrument is already old and revered and acceptable from just making it this far.

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Thank you for all the responses. My teacher also played it and said it sounded quite good but suggested thinning the bridge, and lowering it. Actually she suggested that I get a new bridge made because the existing one has a chipped foot. I wonder who could possibly have thought that this obviously fake label and sloppy shiny varnish would improve a very old violin that has been played so much. I probably will try to do a little careful varnish removal as suggested. Thanks!

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