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My Personal Violin - comment & observations welcome


Joe Leahy
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I haven't had much to add to the forum in terms of making so thought I would post a few pics of my personal violin.

It was purchased for me by my father in the 60's when I was 12. With all its battle worn scars and cracks, I consider it a beautiful instrument.

It has a wonderful, mellow sound.

It has no label or identifying marks. I had it examined many years ago and one consensus was that it was a late 18th century french instrument, possibly Pique school, possibly reduced in size from an originally larger instrument.

It may not be a Strad but I know it will be played, cared for and passed down as a family treasure.

Any comments regarding style, design etc. would be of interest.

Joe

P.S Pardon the quality of the pics - they were taken with an inexpensive point and shoot.

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I'm not much of an expert as to fiddle pedigree but if the photos are accurate, I do love the color. A very rich honest varnish shade that adds warmth and compliments the age.

The colour of the photos is pretty accurate. The original varnish that is left is a deep red. The yellow ground shows through where much of the varnish has warn away.

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I find the back fascinating. I have to wonder why such a nice one-piece back was cut in half and made as two-piece...

One theory is that it was a larger instrument (still a violin) that was likely downsized to make it more saleable at a time when larger instruments were not in vogue. It obviously (I think) would be much more valuable if it had been left at the original size.

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One theory is that it was a larger instrument (still a violin) that was likely downsized to make it more saleable at a time when larger instruments were not in vogue. It obviously (I think) would be much more valuable if it had been left at the original size.

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How can one tell it is a smaller size from picture? It looks the f-holes are relatively bigger.

Important thing is that the size fits nicely to the build of the player.

Once I had a samller size violin. It was for a lady to play. It fits much better for a lady (average).

it was still a full size.

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How can one tell it is a smaller size from picture? It looks the f-holes are relatively bigger.

Important thing is that the size fits nicely to the build of the player.

The corpus length is 349.5mm which places in on the small side of a full sized instrument, lower bout width of 196mm, upper bout width of 158 and a center width of 102.5mm. These are measurements of the body, not the plates. The f hole length is 80mm which I think puts it on the large end of a full size or a bit bigger, perhaps 360-365 mm instrument.

I'm 6.3" and I have been playing this instrument all my life. I look forward to building a larger model and passing this on down to a more petite member of the family.

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Was the scroll grafted onto the pegbox?

Yes, looks like the neck was replaced and the scroll grafted back on. You can see the obvious join lines in the scroll side pictures and if you zoom in on the back of the scroll, you can see the lower point of the v of the graft. The lower part of the back of the scroll does not appear to be the original.

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Chet,

I thought you were 6'4". :)

In any case, I like this violin very much.

Mike

Noop...I'm the shortest in my family at a mere schmear 0.009217172 furlongs. And, while I am glad you like that fiddle, I'm not the guy with the fiddle. Just the wiseacre who had to poke fun at the OP's punctuation. :-)

(It is pretty, isn't it?)

Chet

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I'm pleased that you like the violin. For all its replaced corners, grafted neck, dents, cracks and bruises, it is pretty and has a great sound. We took my teacher with my father and I when we bought it and he suggested making an offer. We would not have considered it over the nice shiny ones that were available without his recommendation. I guess it was worth the $200 that my father bought it for.

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That $200 would be about $1200 today. That seems like Bargain City, for that fiddle. I'm envious.

I agree that It was a bargain.

It was hanging in the corner of the shop as a consignment item behind some other instruments. As I said, I think it had been dismissed by many since it had so much restoration work done on it. We would have dismissed it too if we had not had a knowledgable person with us. Some crack repairs weren't perfect but after 45 years of ownership, except for a couple of hairline cracks between the A string peg hole and the line of the peg box graft that need some attention (some glue and a spiral bushing I think), its as good as when we bought it, so the work is holding up well.

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Joe, that is is beauy!!!

Love that red varnish, Venitian red I think.

I really like the colour. It must have been striking when it was new. The red is really deep and rich. I'd like to develop this type of colour for a future violin but I haven't done much investigation in terms of figuring out how to do it.

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