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reepicheep

Not exactly a Guarneri

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I bought something practically sight-unseen, because the Ebay listing had really bad, far away, out of focus pictures. The seller's entire pitch was summed up in one line: (I cut and pasted it from the listing)

"i HAve no specifics on this violin. I paid $175.00 for it 7 years ago and I will sell it for $200.00"

From what little I could see, I thought it looked halfway decent and I liked the style of soundholes and the varnish. Of course I couldn't tell for sure exactly what it was, so I assumed it would be a mediocre German student model. But for $200, I figured, what the hell, it could go in the rental pool or something.

The entire sale turned out to be a long-drawn out battle since SEPTEMBER (yes, I paid the seller on September 6th) but even after all of the aggrivation, excuses and delays I finally got the violin last week... and yes, the ACTUAL violin from the listing! I have to say, it was more than worth $200 and 3 months of annoyance. It's not German at all, it's American, and looks like a nice American fiddle at that!

So I wanted to post everything I had on it to see if anybody could help with some more information. The back has the name "Willard Mac Calla" written in black script beneath the button. The label says:

Built for Willard MacCalla

Jan 1952

Roelof Weertman

Beaver, PA

During one of the many phone conversations with the seller that it took to get the fiddle sent, she gave me some history on it. She said that she looked up the name Willard MacCalla and he turned the founder of the Westmoreland Symphony in PA (where the seller was). She said she used to work at the symphony awhile ago and that the director at the time sold it to her. I looked up the Symphony myself and saw no mention of Willard MacCalla being the founder, but whatever!

I would love to send photos, but my camera is at, of all places, my luthier's shop where I left it by accident! But I will see him next week, and will post photos then. I've looked up the maker's name and found out he is listed in Henley, and a viola by him is for sale at Guarneri House for "between $5K and $10K"!

The fiddle is in excellent condition, many of the side seams have come unglued but otherwise all it has is one tiny wing crack. It is 357mm and I think more of a Guarneri model, with decent varnish. It's fairly highly arched and has wild long corners with slightly wobbly purfling which doesn't go all the way out to the center of each corner. Overall I like it, and would be curious to see how it sounds.

So if anybody has any more information on the maker I would greatly appreciate it!

Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Jeny

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The way I read the label, the maker should be Weertman, not MacCalla. Roelof Weertman, born 1895 in Rotterdam, moved to the US in 1923. His biography and a photo of one of his instruments (a Guarneri model) can be found in Wenberg's "Violin Makers of the United States." If it's one of his, it should be a nice fiddle. Congratulations. BTW, I think a true Guarneri model would be on the small size, not the large.

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Cool, Thank you very much! Yep, I figured Weertman was the maker, I will look him up in my luthier's copy of Wendberg on Saturday. I think maybe the soundholes and the scroll were what made me say Guarneri model, but honestly I'm not yet able to positively ID any models except Strad and Hopf! For all I know it's some other Italian model...I'm sure when I post photos you guys will be able to tell me what the model is! Regardless, I'm very happy with it

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I'd love to see pix of those "wildly long corners". I have a violin like that from Massachusetts area and the closest resemblance to those corners I've seen was by a maker named Napoleon Noiseaux on the Pioneer Valley website.

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If you go to a violin shop and ask to see a copy of Guarneri, they will show you one easily.

The c-bout of (copy) is a bit narrower, and f-hole a bit longer, the sound a bit darker.

This is all I know about "Guarneri copy".(experience of 5 copies)

If you are talking "copy" they are nothing special.

Amateurs make them every day. "Good " copy is one that you are looking for. For a few

hundred dollars you can get a pretty good Chinese copy. If you do not mind its label.

Good I mean " sound and look". Usually they are better than amateur made kind.

The commercial violins are mass produced. In the old days, they were

produced in Germany, now in China. Just my thought.

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Weertman

Here are the photos, I did these at the shop in the office after dark. The lighting wasn't too great, so I took one with and one without the flash for each view. Once you choose a photo, on the next screen you can click on it to enlarge it.

That's my black velour sweater hung up on the back of a chair behind the fiddle I'z a Pro I tell ya....

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Well, I wish I could tell you but it's not in playable condition at the moment. When it arrived I saw that a lot of the side seams were open. But when I looked inside I saw that at one point the top had been off and some genius decided to use GORILLA GLUE to put it back on!! A lot of the bass side is gunked up with that crap. Not only that but they put it back on crooked!! GRRRR!

So my luthier has a big job ahead of him....

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Hi -

I have read your original Forum entry and the subsequent responses with considerable interest. I am Willem Weertman, youngest son of Roelof Weertman who made the MacCalla violin.

Upon Father's death in 1991 at the age of 95, I inherited his records and compiled an index of the violins, violas and cellos he made, totalling about 200. I used Father's workshop journals as the primary source of data about his instruments but the journals did not start until 1955 making records of prior instruments more of a challenge to find.

At the time I did not have information on the MacCalla violin and did not include it in my index. However the Forum entries caused me to look through some of Father's correspondence and I found a personal letter from Willard MacCalla to Father dated July 3, 1960 in which the violin is mentioned.

I would be glad to send you a copy of the letter but will need your email address to do so. If you send a note to my email address: wlweertman@hotmail.com, I will send the letter.

Willem Weertman

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$200 for a hand made violin with a little history of the maker. What a deal ?

Not all ebay sellers are crooks. I have not bought anything from ebay. Some days I will.

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I am wondering how to get in contact with one of the members from they post.  Wweertman.  I am a mom of a 14 year old violinist who is, as I type, playing a loaner 1968 violin from you father and she is really starting to like it .  A lot.... She is also a Netherlands girl (genetically speaking) and born and raised on Cape Cod so it is very appripoe (sp) for her to have this land (temporarily) in her hands.  She has long since outgrown her 3/4 and as a mom of a eager violinist, I want to give her a nice full size.  However, our funds have dwindled.  I wanted to see if there where any of your dads violins in your collection (full size violin) that is for sale?  I am sure not, but being sentimental and from Cape Cod, I thought it would be a wonderful present to give to her.  Depending on cost.

thanks and let me know if you ever do receive this since it was an old post and I am sure it would be very hard to get in touch with you.

 

thanks 

kara

ps your dad lived next door to my friends dad, Fred Nichy, a viola maker and that is where the loaner is from.  He is a wonderful man as well as I am sure your father was.  

 

thanks so much

kara

 

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On 11/1/2020 at 6:12 PM, Kara Hume said:

I am wondering how to get in contact with one of the members from they post.  Wweertman.  I am a mom of a 14 year old violinist who is, as I type, playing a loaner 1968 violin from you father and she is really starting to like it .  A lot.... She is also a Netherlands girl (genetically speaking) and born and raised on Cape Cod so it is very appripoe (sp) for her to have this land (temporarily) in her hands.  She has long since outgrown her 3/4 and as a mom of a eager violinist, I want to give her a nice full size.  However, our funds have dwindled.  I wanted to see if there where any of your dads violins in your collection (full size violin) that is for sale?  I am sure not, but being sentimental and from Cape Cod, I thought it would be a wonderful present to give to her.  Depending on cost.

thanks and let me know if you ever do receive this since it was an old post and I am sure it would be very hard to get in touch with you.

 

thanks 

kara

ps your dad lived next door to my friends dad, Fred Nichy, a viola maker and that is where the loaner is from.  He is a wonderful man as well as I am sure your father was.  

 

thanks so much

kara

 

Kara, maybe you can try sending him an email, 

wlweertman@hotmail.com

Mr. Weertman has not visited this site in the past 12 years, so hopefully this email can reach him. :)

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@Kara Hume

What a sweet note!

You may already know this, but all violins by the same maker won't sound alike. All violins are individual, and even good violins by the same maker are good in their individual way. So be sure to try any violin before you spend a lot of money on it.

Can you purchase the violin currently on loan?

Also, it may be worth your time to call David Bromberg's Fine Violins in Wilmington Delaware as he may have or know of someone who has a Weerteman violin for sale.

Good luck!

 

 

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