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Juzeks descendent


Beaux Eau
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Last year, I purchased two "Juzeks" on eBay. They were certainly for much less than $500!! One was only $80, although it needed a crack repair. Strange thing though, I've seen genuine Juzek labels, and, if I remember correctly, they were on a yellowish paper. These were black and white (or should I say black and gray) labels that looked curiously like Mr. Juzek ran out of his regular labels and had to run to the copier store with one original (as a master) to make more copies. Oops! That's right, they didn't have Xerox copier stores in the early 1950s, did they? The seller I purchased from has MANY!!!!!! "Juzeks" for sale. I wonder if they all have the same xeroxed label? Curious!!! ;-)

For the price I paid for them; however, they are not bad student quality starter instruments. One always needs to be careful when buying things sight unseen (or sound unheard).

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I've seen many violins with this type of Juzek label that looks like they have been photocopied. I think they all have the wording "formerly in Prague," indicating that they are more recent than the ones that say "in Prague." 1950s seems like about the right vintage. I have no doubt that these labels, and the violins they are in, are real -- the question is "Real what?" The quality of the instruments with these labels is pretty bad -- way below "Master Art" standards.

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The Juzek label is in the Metropolitan Music catalog, making it an easy score for the crooks selling fake violins on ebay, and other auction sites. The New York school system bought thousands of Juzek instruments from the 30's through the 70's for their music programs. I would think many of the beat up old Juzek instruments that pop up on ebay came from there.

This has been discussed here before. Some years ago a bit of my time was spent researching the Juzek brand. The "Master Art" instruments made in the 20's and 30'are the best examples. They are well made, using vary nice wood. My opinion though is that the same hands did not make the many examples that were reviewed.

I've seen the pictures, contacted Metro Music, asked questions regarding "John Juzek" and have come to the following conclusion: Unless someone can tell me when and where he was born, when he died, and where he is buried, John Juzek is just another, of a long list of trade names. Don't get me wrong I would like to believe that those "Master Art" examples were actually made by a master maker, and not just mass produced factory instruments.

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The current Metropolitan Music catalog has a history of the firm (as well as offering Juzek labels, sheesh!), and they claim that Old Johnny Juzek was an accomplished maker and did exist. Other Juzeks came to NY and started Metropolitan Music, and they sell Juzek instruments today. But like you, jaf, I still wonder if there are any instruments that actually came off the bench of John Juzek. I agree with your assessment, although how would any of us know?

I think that at least some of the Juzek Master Art violins of the 1920s came out of the Karl Herrmann factory. Herrmann's shop made the Andreas Morelli violins, some of which are really nice, and identical to some of the good Juzeks. Herrmann also made some that are labelled Carlo Micelli, a clever Italianization of Karl Meisel. I've had several supposed 'experts', one in particular who is quite well known, tell me that a Morelli I have was a Juzek, and another tell me that it was definintely a Carlo Micelli. All 3 are German trade names, and it really looks like Herrmann was willing to produce them for other firms with their label--and why not. This is business.

In defense of the well known 'expert' he has never spent much time learning about German factory violins, why would he? For some reason he's much more interested in them home-made Eyetalians.

The German factories certainly had some good violin makers working there, and the best models might have been completely made by 'master' crafstmen. But they still had to put a Juzek or a Morelli label in the violin, so how much pride in workmanship would they have? Who knows. That's why buying a trade violin with a name like Juzek or Morelli or even Roth is a gamble. Juzek quality is not very high normally, Morelli is better, and Roth on average the best except for the shop instruments which are good but not great.

Having supplied the NY Public School system with a gazillion Juzek instruments, Met Music certainly lowered the average quality of the Juzek gene pool. Many of them have markings in the wood, so you know they were abused by students and probably were no great shakes to begin with.

Sorry to drone on. I'm done now.

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Since we're talking about trade names, it may be a good time to post this again. Some time ago someone here posted a list of trade names and makers who never existed. You'll notice that E.H.Roth is not on the list, as he was a real person who did actually make some instruments. I have added some names to the original list. This list is not in perfect order and I'm sure it is not complete, but some of the newer folks here may find it useful.

List of violin tradenames:

A Salvator,

Alexendra (tradename) -

Amatius (tradename) -

Antonio Curatoli

Anton Kessel (tradename) -

Antonio Loveri

Ardeton (tradename) -

Barard (tradename) L.

Barnabetti (tradename) Geronimo

Barrell (Tradename) -

Bazar (Tradename) -

Bijou Vstad (tradename) -

Bourdet (tradename) Antoine (Antoni)

Buthod (Tradename) Charles

Carlo Lorenzini,

Carlo Micelli,

Carrodus (tradename) -

Ceruti (tradename) Giovanni Maria

Chadwick,

Chappine (Trade Name) -

Circeron, Le (tradename) -

Compagnon (Tradename) -

Cremonatone (tradename) -

Cremonese (tradename) -

Curatoli (tradename) Antonio

D Nicolas,

Dass (tradename) -

Denizot (tradename) -

Dracontius (tradename) -

Duchene (Tradename) Nicolas

Dulcis et Fortis (tradename) -

Durenzy (tradename) Adolf

E Martin, -

Eduard Reichert,

El Maestro (Tradename)

Enrico Robella,

Epoch (tradename) -

Ernst Kreusler,

Eugen Meinel,

Excelsior (Tradename) -

F Breton,

Farny (Wurlitzer import) Henri Farny (Wurlitzer import made in France)

Farni (tradename)

Fiorini (tradename) Paolo,

Fracesco Viotoni. .

Friedrich August Heberlin,

Florentina (tradename) -

Fourier-Magne (tradename) -

Franck-Reiner (tradename) ,

Francois Barzoni -

Fredeking Banks (tradename) -

G A Ficker,

Garini (tradename) Michelangelo (Michele-Ange)

Garnier (tradename) L.

Geronimo Barnabetti,

Gibson Inc. (tradename) -

Glasser (tradename) -

Golden Tone (tradename) -

Goulding (tradename) -

Grandini (tradename) Geronimo

Grandini (Tradename) Ecole

Gustav Heberlein,

H Clotelle,

Harmonik (tradename)

Heinrich E Heberlein,

Heralto (tradename) -

Hidalgo (tradename) -

Hildago (Tradename) -

Hofer-geigen (tradename) -

Huril (Tradename) Jacob

J. T. L. (Tradename) -

Jacobus Hornsteiner,

Joachim (tradename) -

John Juzek

Julius Heberlein,

Konzert-Geigen (tradename) -

L Ludwig,

L'aine (tradename) Didier Nicolas

Lamberti (tradename) Carlo

Le Celebre (Tradename) -

Le Lorrain (Tradename) -

Le Parisien (tradename) -

Leclerc (tradename) Jacques

Leanardo Genaro,

Leroy (tradename) C.

Loveri (tradename) Antonio

Ludwig Heberlein,

Lupot (tradename) -

M Couturieux,

Mansuy (Mansue) (tradename) Pierre

Marcus (tradename) M

Marquis de l'air (tradename) -

Matthias Hornsteiner,

Medio Fino (Tradename) -

Micelli (tradename) Carlo

Milano (tradename) -

Morelli (tradename) Andreas

Neu-Cremona (tradename) -

Nicolas Bertholini,

Ottomar Hausmann,

Oskar C Meinel,

Paganini (tradename) -

Paganini (tradename-bows) -

Paillot,

Paroche (tradename) Leon

Penzl (tradename?) Ignaz (Ignazio)

Petri (tradename) -

Pique de Paris (tradename) -

Primerius (tradename) Carl Ferdinand

Professor (tradename) -

Raggetti (tradename) -

Revalo (tradename) (see Ohlhaver) -

Robella (tradename) Enrico

Ruggerio (tradename) -

Ruggierlli (tradename) -

Salvadore De Durro,

Sampo (tradename) -

Sarasate (tradename) -

Schlosser (tradename) Hermann

Schonewald (tradename) -

Sofia (tradename) -

Stentnor (tradename) -

Stentor (Tradename) -

Stradella (tradename) -

Tartini (tradename) -

Techler (tradename) -

Tim-Geigen (tradename) -

Timtone (tradename) -

True-Tone (trademark) -

Ulbrich-Tatter (tradename) -

Vareni (tradename) Pietro

Victoire (Tradename) -

Victor (tradename) The

Virtuose (tradename) -

Vorgian (tradename) -

Vosgien (tradename) -

Walliostro (tradename) -

Warszowa Rok (tradename) -

Washburn (tradename) George

Wilhelm Duerer,

Wonder Violin (tradename) -

Wunderlich (tradename) C. A.

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"You'll notice that E.H.Roth is not on the list, as he was a real person who did actually make some instruments."

It is true that E H Roth was a real person who did actually make some instruments. But now he's dead and E H Roth has become a vioin trade name in the same manner that Ford has become an automobile trade name.

John Juzek is a violin trade name. The question is: Did it derive from a real person like Ernst Heinrich Roth or Henry Ford? The Metropolitan catalog says he was a violin maker and it even has a picture purporting to be old man Juzek, but I am unconvinced. Biographical information on a violin maker normally states when and where he was born, who he apprenticed under or what violinmaking schools he attended, violin shops he worked in, where and when he established his own shop, and when he died. Metropolitan Music is run by members of the Juzek family. If anyone would have access to information about their illustrious ancestor, they would. Since John Juzek's biography in the Metropolitan catalog contains none of these essential data, I can only conclude that the man never existed.

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I have to second that opinion, Brad. And it's amazing the value that some people put on these violins, most of which are not very good instruments.

Also, a few more trade names,

Carlo Robelli (in use today by Sam Ash Music. Usually very cheap instruments although I've seen some decent looking violins from the 1930s or 40s, I'd guess.)

J. B. Martinelli (Roth firm, decent shop instruments)

Angelo Ferrari (Sears, c. 1912, before they began making automobiles )

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It's been noted several times that there are currently one or more persons named Juzek working at Metropolitan Music in Vermont. Gee, if I were a grand-nephew (or whatever) of the purportedly great John Juzek, I'd sure be interested in fleshing out his ghostly existence in these hallowed pages! Are there any maestronetters out these with a relationship with with Metro. Music who could summon the Juzeks out of hiding to defend their good name?

Actually, the purpose of my initial post was to elicit comments on Netters' experience or impressions of the Juzek Master Art models, which I understand are often exponentially better instruments than the run-of-the-mill-sell-'em-by-the-crate-to-schools plain Juzeks. (By the way, one of the school systems that had a ton of Juzeks was in Duluth here in my home state of Minnesota, back decades ago when there were lots of tax dollars available from the iron mining and logging industries.)

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"Actually, the purpose of my initial post was to elicit comments on Netters' experience or impressions of the Juzek Master Art models, which I understand are often exponentially better instruments than the run-of-the-mill-sell-'em-by-the-crate-to-schools plain Juzeks."

Your understanding is correct.

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I have a 1966 Master Art, and it is a terrific reliable meat-and-potatoes workhorse that I wouldn't trade for nuthin. It's already been bashed around by a middle schooler (me, a long time ago) and doesn't have much of a resale value - but it sounds just FINE and I can use it in all sorts of situations without worry -- if a student nicks it, my world won't end, I get to hear a decent sound coming from under my fingers all of the time, not just at the cushy gigs, and it's not a big theft risk. I've bought two unstrung NYC public school war vets at garage sales and they've been well worth the 25$ + good setup. Juzek means - to me - reliability, and a certain amount of security when laying out money for an unknown. Not everyone is in a position to take big financial risks, and a known quantity has a definite place in the workaday teaching world. What most of the ones I've encountered seem to have in common is evenness. The low end ones might not be big-sounding or super refined, but there are no odd corners that stick out, no ideosyncracies to get in a learner's way.

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  • 3 months later...

Oh, very nice indeed! I hadn't seen that site before, so thanks! My one looks like http://www.billsbanjos.com/1892Washburn.htm as far as the neck/head/inlays go, but the pot on mine is plain with ordinary hooks. Which indicates that it's likely a composite, I suppose.

Composite or not, it's a very nice-sounding, easy-picking banjo. But one thing that suggests L&H were more opportunists cashing in on the 1890s "banjo craze" than serious makers like Stewart and Fairbanks is that they did these rather fancy inlays, but in a slovenly way with lots of filler (e.g. that photo of their "ladies'" banjo. Ugh!)

But you're right, this is a bit o/t for the thread

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quote:


Originally posted by:
pahdah_hound

I know just what is going on with them boys from Met Music. They took the business out of the city and moved up to Stowe to go skiing. They could care less about growing the business or capitalizing on the old man's name. They produce a catalog, sell enough stuff to pay for that season pass, cut some wood during the summers, and wait for the pahdah to fly. I am quite certain the only days they get up real early is when there are fresh tracks to be had.

I have stopped by their place several times-never been open when I was there. The front door is hardly a front door and there are piles of stuff inside. Its a metal warehouse sort of barn-like building right on the Stowe Access Rd next to their house. Takes about five minutes to get to the lifts.

Its the type of thing I would do if my dad gave me a big stringed instrument company in New York City.

Jesse

Metropolitan Music had a booth at the Anaheim NAMM Show in January. They showed a few nice instruments, but mostly a lot of cheap Chinese factory violins with guess what -- John Juzek labels inside. A variety of models as low as $100 list (dealer cost in quantity--about half of that) up to "Master Art" instruments for $6500 list.

dahl

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On the subject on whether or not Jusek existed?

According to the US Census.

The 1900 census lists 2 John Juseks

Both living in Cuyahoga,Ohio born circa 1870 and 1893.

The 1910 census lists 3 John Jusek`s :

John M Jusek living in Sherburne born c. 1881

John J Jusek Sherburne born c.1908

John Jusek Mercer born circa. 1874

The 1920 census lists 3 :

John Jusek Chicago born c.1889

John Jusek Herkimer, New York c.1850 (also states could be also known as John Heryck)

John Jusek Cambria, Pennsylvania born c. 1891.

So out of three Census` only one was living in New York. What i find interesting is that none of the above are listed in more than one census.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
fiddlecollector

On the subject on whether or not Jusek existed?

According to the US Census.

The 1900 census lists 2 John Juseks

Both living in Cuyahoga,Ohio born circa 1870 and 1893.

The 1910 census lists 3 John Jusek`s :

John M Jusek living in Sherburne born c. 1881

John J Jusek Sherburne born c.1908

John Jusek Mercer born circa. 1874

The 1920 census lists 3 :

John Jusek Chicago born c.1889

John Jusek Herkimer, New York c.1850 (also states could be also known as John Heryck)

John Jusek Cambria, Pennsylvania born c. 1891.

So out of three Census` only one was living in New York. What i find interesting is that none of the above are listed in more than one census.

I wonder whether the 'Juzek' spelling would make a difference.

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