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Graham, who runs theviolinman.co.uk website is quite knowledgeable

with pictures and I've even used his service once, if you ever just

can't decide about an ebay purchase, his opinion might make the

difference, he's not Charles Beare, but no dummy either, its really

not a whole lot of money if you're considering paying hundreds for

an ebay violin, sincerely Lyndon J Taylor

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If one were to take a cynical view, (not ME of course, but if ONE

were to

Let's say that after a year of searching you finally come across

that once-in-a-blue-moon genuine, no kiddin' around monster deal.

 What's to keep Graham from telling you it's a factory German,

and then bidding on it himself?

-If one were cynical, that is.

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I tend to agree with Lyndon J on this one. Graham brings two things

that the novice needs and that are worth at least £5.

He has seen a lot of instruments in his time. He can tell if the

date maker and country of origin look legit.

He knows what repairs might be needed and what the cost might


Some people posting here do not need such a service but the bottom

line is Graham gives honest and impartial advice which must be a

good thing.

The further benefit to this approach is that it reduces the number

of "what do you think of this item" posts on his own forum

Everyone has to make a living and I wish him well. Sadly as we Ebay

buyers are a tight bunch I doubt if he will make much money.

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Seeing as I seem to be the one being discussed here. You may now feel free to ask any questions regarding the service I provide for Ebay users.

While I am here I will also tell you a bit about myself and how I feel the service I provide is useful to the majority of 'enthusiasts' who hope to make a purchase using the Ebay auction site.

You'll see from my sites 'About Me' page that I have been involved, in various ways with the violin business over the past 20 years. I've managed Ayrshire Violin Studio in Ayrshire for almost 10 years. During which time I studied for a Higher National Certificate in Musical stringed Instruments at Anniesland College in Glasgow, graduating in 1999. I have the benefits of being able to study old violins from a maker's perspective and enjoy this aspect of my work. I hope that you will see that there are some people out there that have great integrity in the way they conduct their business and it is to that end that I strive to provide this particular information service. You simply need to ask any of my personal clientel, they will tell you.

Kindest regards

Graham Welsh

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In my experience people who make / repair have integrity that is

rooted in a love for a good instrument.

The idea of evaluations / appraisals by photo and email is an

interesting one. I am presuming that this allows Lyndon in the

Stated to work with Graham in Scotland.

Graham - How much do you think can be ascertained from a photo and

how much can only be gained through holding and playing.


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Hi slowpoke, in reference to your question to Graham, how much can

you tell from an ebay picture, quite a bit in my opinion, I am

largely in buisness due to buying bargains on ebay with a low

failure rate. However i'm in the up to $500 range not above where

alot of Graham's clients are looking, that's why I value Graham's

opinion more than my own, but back to ebay pictures, you can tell a

lot about a violin by looking for signs of wear, is it natural,

good or artificially shaded, not so good, does the label match the

style and apparent age of the instrument, does it have a neck

scroll graft for instance, beware there are a lot of fake grafts

being passed off as genuine on ebay, an expert with a good eye can

catch the fakes and be sure of the real ones; about half the time,

sometimes the rest is guesswork gut level, I look at a violin and

say if worst case is it still worth twice what I pay for it fixed

up, then at least I am guaranteed a small profit. I look for neck

scroll graft violins that are not advertised as such, or are hard

to tell from the pictures but look grafted, these type tend to go

for about half the price of the ones advertised as neck scroll

graft, and mind you quite a few advertised as real are obviously

fakes, and then there's just can't tell I have one violin the graft

is so perfectly done one expert took about 10 minutes looking at it

before he finally agreed it was real, I tend not to gamble on ones

that could be fake as much as go crazy bidding higher one ones I

have solid evidence are real. Telling the difference between

genuine 200yr plus wear and really tastefully done fake wear is

difficult to tell but so important when judging the value of an

instrument OK that's long enough sincerely Lyndon J Taylor

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And I thought you were Lyndon J Taylor Principal, Second Violins LA Philharmonic

Looks like you and I are fishing in the same waters Lyndon although for me it is only a hobby.

Interesting story - I recently won a Zimmermann violin (Labeled JHZ) for £220. After the sale ended the seller was approached with a £350 bid which he (very honestly) passed on to me. The result was a profit of £130 on a fiddle that I never had in my possession.

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slowpoke, Yeah it gets rather confusing having the same name,

originally Lyndon Daniel Taylor of the LA phil had a different

middle name but then he married a woman named Johson and Became

Lyndon Johnson Taylor, either way no hard feelings we actually talk

once in a while, I'm still dying to see the Stradivari he plays, I

actually took harpsichord lessons from his father Morris Taylor at

Andrews University in 1979,small world, we were born 6 months apart

on opposite sides of the world, and when he came to visit once and

play my clavichord he played the same Bach French Suite piece that

I play all the time, but when it comes to violin, He's the master a

really soulful player, sincerely Lyndon Johann Taylor

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In reply to Slowpoke,

I find that with the experience I've gleaned over the years that quite a lot can be learned from Good Photographs. After all the camera can sometimes capture what the natural eye can miss on a first glance at a specific area of the violin.

However there is nothing that can replace a long hard look and feel of the instrument in ones own hands. I've found since offering this service that people are genuinely relieved to have saved money on a potential bad purchase or have placed bids with a higher level of confidence than perhaps buying a bit on the 'blind side'. Afterall, 'most people' who purchase violins for their kin, have little or no knowledge of what they are buying and very much have to trust the seller to be honest and upright about what they are selling.

Going by the testiments I've received from users of my Ebay valuation service, I'm extremely happy with the value it offers and the ethos that my service brings.

Kindest Regards from Bonnie Scotland

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