VIDEO ABOUT IDENTIFYING VIOLINS?


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I didn't mean to suggest it was a date, jezzupe! Besides, I don't think you're my type. B)

Well my mamma said I should always avoid you type's, but alas, here we are, wild women and violin dealers, the salt of the earth :lol

Perhaps one day we will meet, I mean, not for a date :) , I was thinking a barbecue, nothing like steaks cooked over an open fire......made with viola's :):)

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Here's the big secret...

There is no video, there is no book, there is no magic formula, there is no cabal, there is no secret society, there is no mafia, there is no absolute, there are no degrees of right or wrong, there is no yes, and yes, there is no no. There are no pictures that will tell you right or wrong, there is no "violin master" that is withholding secrets from anyone.

Again, so you can hear it.

THERE IS NO "VIOLIN MASTER" WITHHOLDING SECRETS FROM ANYONE!

There are only violins.

Mostly made by poor craftsmen who lived along time ago.

Look at them.

Look at as many as you can.

Look at thousands.

Study and sacrifice.

Then you will know what you are talking about. Maybe.

There are people who have devoted their lives for this tiny little craft. Some have gotten rich, most have not. But all who have sacrificed out of love and passion for this instrument.

If you don't get that, then what can one say.

Knock the chip off your shoulder and go buy your violin from Reuning and be done with it.

What does anyone have to prove to you?

Arglebargle,

I am not commenting on the substance of your post, because I have not followed this whole thread, but the rhythm and structure of your writing is just great. Are you a writer by profession or training?

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Here's the big secret...

There is no video, there is no book, there is no magic formula, there is no cabal, there is no secret society, there is no mafia, there is no absolute, there are no degrees of right or wrong, there is no yes, and yes, there is no no. There are no pictures that will tell you right or wrong, there is no "violin master" that is withholding secrets from anyone.

Again, so you can hear it.

THERE IS NO "VIOLIN MASTER" WITHHOLDING SECRETS FROM ANYONE!

There are only violins.

Mostly made by poor craftsmen who lived along time ago.

Look at them.

Look at as many as you can.

Look at thousands.

Study and sacrifice.

Then you will know what you are talking about. Maybe.

There are people who have devoted their lives for this tiny little craft. Some have gotten rich, most have not. But all who have sacrificed out of love and passion for this instrument.

If you don't get that, then what can one say.

Knock the chip off your shoulder and go buy your violin from Reuning and be done with it.

What does anyone have to prove to you?

Oh yes there is! There hundreds of books (extemely expensive books)and a privaleged few who handle thousands of violins(Christies Bromptons Sutherbys etc) and they do have the knowledge and cherge a fortune for it.Isn't it very strange that a beginner ,learner can't walk into a shop and buy a book for £20 that simply tells you wht is the difference between French German English Italian work etc

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Oh yes there is! There hundreds of books (extemely expensive books)and a privaleged few who handle thousands of violins(Christies Bromptons Sutherbys etc) and they do have the knowledge and cherge a fortune for it.Isn't it very strange that a beginner ,learner can't walk into a shop and buy a book for £20 that simply tells you wht is the difference between French German English Italian work etc

Guys, past a very basic point, there isn't a definitive answer for "the difference between a French German English Italian work". Give it up!

Book prices are kind of linked to the "audience size". Dover has released a number of the older texts in paperback. Much less expensive. There's always libraries as well.

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Oh, I think there would be a fine market for a video on instrument identification. There is quite a bit of sophistication on this board but many people who find instruments know little about them. I was at an auction last year during which the auctioneer put up a full size E. R. Pfretszchner cello and called it a "viola" because it was bigger than a violin. Many people don't know there is a label inside the instrument, much less how to tell a 14" viola from a 4/4 violin. How to measure a violin? What is a fluted f-hole?, the additional curl in the scroll of Maggini violin, painted on purfling, etc, etc, etc,. Antique dealers would gobble the video up, and we could spend our time attacking it for being too simplistic.

Don--you forgot bagpipes.

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I realize that one can't positively ID a violin as to specific maker without extensive training.

However, I'm sure there are clues that help trace a violin back to a certain country, and allow fairly accurate, "This is typical german construction." "This is typical French Construction" etc etc.

For instance, One expert told me that the way linings are carved and installed offer a clue as to german or french make.

Another maker pointed out, on a Scarampella cello, the way Scarampella shaped the wood, how sloppy knife work resulted in tiny grooves or lines in the wood. Then he laughed and said it was still difficult to distinguish between Scarampella and Gadda.

The first example is general, the second very specific, but each is valuable.

Are there any videos available that help teach those general differences, and thus help one more confidently ID a violin's era and birthplace?

I looked on youtube and didn't find a thing.

Any help?

I don't know of any recent publications, but back in the 70s a guy named Roy Ehrhardt, along with my mentor Earsel Atchley, put together 3 volumes of excerpts of old violin catalogs from the 1880s through the 1960s. They are called "Violin Identification and Price Guide".

The books deal only in trade violins, and the illustrations are all black and white, but there is a fair amount of basic information to be gleaned from them. They were $25 each back in the 70s, and they are hard to find now.

The responses above are on the mark. I've been looking at old violins for over 20 years now, seen and handled thousands, worked on a lot of them, and I would consider my knowledge still little more than superficial. I can spot gross characteristics of different schools of work, but individual makers, and more obscure schools? No way. Making instruments is a really good way to become more sensitive to instrument characteristics. Oddly enough, there are a few Chinese makers I can spot almost at a glance, mostly from their varnish and the way they carve scrolls.

I used to collect and deal in Asian art and antiques, and it's the same way. I only really started learning when I started owning good, authenticated pieces, and living with them.

Jeffrey, you are truly a gentleman and a diplomat. Hats off to you!

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I realize that one can't positively ID a violin as to specific maker without extensive training.

However, I'm sure there are clues that help trace a violin back to a certain country, and allow fairly accurate, "This is typical german construction." "This is typical French Construction" etc etc.

For instance, One expert told me that the way linings are carved and installed offer a clue as to german or french make.

Another maker pointed out, on a Scarampella cello, the way Scarampella shaped the wood, how sloppy knife work resulted in tiny grooves or lines in the wood. Then he laughed and said it was still difficult to distinguish between Scarampella and Gadda.

The first example is general, the second very specific, but each is valuable.

Are there any videos available that help teach those general differences, and thus help one more confidently ID a violin's era and birthplace?

I looked on youtube and didn't find a thing.

Any help?

Thanx

Philip :)

+++++++++++++++

There are signs of for different makers' violins and there are also exceptions.

If you do not handle a lot these instruments, it is easy for you to make mistake. It is serious if it especially involved other

people's money.

"Leave it to experts or buy advices" are still good advice. After all they do these kind of things to make a living.

Reputation does not come easy.

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Jeffrey, you are truly a gentleman and a diplomat. Hats off to you!

Hello to all,

I had thought earlier that I wanted to comment on aspects of this thread, but then it moved on to some other topics.

Now, with the comment above, I'd like to add a thought...

My work could not be further from much of what is represented here. I am a Social Psychologist by trade and provide consultative help to organizations that find my work to be of interest. I have played the fiddle for about fifty years, but I doubt you would know it by listening. I know something between little and nothing about violins.

Yet, I read this board every day, and I am drawn to it repeatedly because I see here something that is all too rarely evident in the many professional worlds I see when I am working.

In a word, I love and respect the pattern of generosity I see here.

I could offer many names of folks who very freely share their knowledge and skill here but I hesitate to do that because, no doubt, I would leave out a name or two.

So, I will comment on one only:

I can't help but notice how consistently Jeffrey engages with folks here in a spirit of true generosity and I admire the skill with which he does it. I will add that though we have not met, I dealt with him many years ago (Hmmm, is it really more than twenty?) and had just the same sense of him then.

In any case, I offer my sincere thanks to Mr. Holmes, and to all the many others who so willingly share their talents here, and allow me, and those like me, the opportunity to "listen in."

All the best,

A.C.

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"Study and sacrifice."

Arglebargle: I don't know who you are and what you do for a living, but I resent your passive aggressive implications that I did, do not work for a living that took study and sacrifice. I really don't see why you should attack me in response to my post about dishonest and shady dealers unless you might have something to justify your post re your own practices and philosophy. I am hoping against all hope that the MN posters will laugh at some of the provocative posts and shooting off the hip responses and allow this thread to go on.

As I re-read my post, I see nothing in it that accused you of not studying and sacrificing for your career. I am sure you did. Most of us do.

What I was addressing was the implication that you put forth that people in the violin trade are deliberately withholding information about violins, deliberately misleading people, and generally being unscrupulous. The brush you painted everyone with was so broad as to be laughable, if it wasn't also so nasty.

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Actually, I don't think you've been ignored, Phillip... but you may not have heard what you wanted to. I think I gave you an answer about forms, correct? Sorry it didn't hit home, but that's about as basic as I can get... maybe someone else can do better.

Stainer & Amati? There's a thread on that. Do a search.

Problem with the question you're asking is, there's not a simple answer. You need to have some basics down before you an recognize what kind of material is used for the purfling, or how the centering notch was cut in the lower rib of a Mittenwald instrument that is different than one cut in an Italian. It's all "details", but it's big picture details (outlines, style) vs. small details (purfling corners, rib miters). Sit with someone who knows and compare one thing to another? Join the VSA and go to meetings and talk to makers? Read everything you can get your hands on?

Say "hi" to Jay for me.

We don't ned to learm to indertify old master instruments they are all accounted for, the trade knows how many there are ,where they are etc.Now as to the advice that we saunter down to our nearest expert and apend a few evenings being shown tthe difference in rib mitres etc I find baffling why not simply print a book with illustrations eg rib mitres, common varnish traits difference in dimentions if any,purfling differences etc.

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We don't ned to learm to indertify old master instruments they are all accounted for, the trade knows how many there are ,where they are etc.Now as to the advice that we saunter down to our nearest expert and apend a few evenings being shown tthe difference in rib mitres etc I find baffling why not simply print a book with illustrations eg rib mitres, common varnish traits difference in dimentions if any,purfling differences etc.

Well, maybe you would like to fund this book? :) As far as it's marketing, how much will it cost to produce (well, 'cause half-assed won't do much good) and how big an audience will you have? What's your break-even? Most violin related publications have a distribution of under 2,000, so if it costs $250,000 or $300,000 (which I think might be conservative for authorship, editing, photography, printing, binding and materials) to produce the thing, will you be able to sell enough copies at $200 each to pay back the loans?

Most publications produced by experts are due to their own passions and desires to know and learn more about the subject. They are results of ongoing research, travel and excitement. Sorry, but I don't think what is described here will inspire an someone to stop what they're doing and take up the cause.

Enough on that.

Now seriously. I wasn't just referring to old masterpieces (though one really has to know the basic models and how they were interpreted). There is printed material concerning many of the "lesser" instruments (Hamma's book on German makers, Eric Blot's books on Modern Italians, The book on English makers, the book on Hungarian makers, Several books on French makers, Notes in the appendix of Tom Florence's old "Appraisers Manual; which I think is called "The Redbook" now, etc, etc.). Several of these publications have illustrations and/or photos of details including linings, blocks and rib & purfling corners.

So... rather than wish that someone who actually knows what they are doing will stop making a living for a couple years to produce a product which has little chance of even a break even... in other words, do the work for you, free... why not saunter down to your nearest restorer/dealer/expert and see if they'll spend a few minutes with you... then go off to the library?

:)!

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We don't ned to learm to indertify old master instruments they are all accounted for, the trade knows how many there are ,where they are etc.Now as to the advice that we saunter down to our nearest expert and apend a few evenings being shown tthe difference in rib mitres etc I find baffling why not simply print a book with illustrations eg rib mitres, common varnish traits difference in dimentions if any,purfling differences etc.

Even if it were possible to write such a book -- which doesn't seem likely -- it's a lot of work, and who would buy it?

Most of the fiddles I see are modest trade instruments. A good one is a good one, independent of where it comes from. At this level, we are often talking about playability, tone, less so about the visual (within bounds). I have all three of the Ehrhardt books, previously mentioned, which I bought in 1997, thinking I would learn something from them. I did -- there are too many different factory instruments out there. It is possible to get to the point you can guess about them, and that is interesting, but ultimately doesn't do much for the price of the fiddle

Look another way -- a couple came into my shop late Friday evening. They had an 'old' violin, and it had "Stradivarius" on the label. Common story. Label said Mittenwald. Was it? I don't think so, but it could have been a very cheap Mittenwald. Anyway, the thing was in pieces. The neck out, without a button break (good) but with a 1-2mm deep mortise (bad). Fingerboard had been glued back on with white glue, nicely set squeeze-out on the sides, with the end of the fingerboard up to the pegbox. Centerseam on the back was open. Arching was collapsed and wobbly. Scroll was boxy. They wanted $10 for it. I figured that I'd rather have the $10, and said no.

Point of the story -- looking at that fiddle, who cares who made it? All of us have countless stories of people coming in with old family instruments that are 100s of years old, or come from somewhere exotic, or were played in such-and-such symphony. I do enjoy putting together fiddles for the family, as a family treasure, and I don't care much about the story. Some people are interested in hearing an experienced evaluation (which could, by the way, be wrong) and others think that somehow you're trying to cheat them.

And if you're talking about, say, fiddles that are well above trade fiddles, but below the great Cremonese -- well, there are books out there. Decide what you want to learn about it, and dig in.

Perhaps this all sounds very commercial, money-oriented, but I'm getting to the point in my life that I want to choose how I waste my time.

Maestronet is an amazing resource for me, a place I do happen to 'waste' time, but also get to read all sorts of different viewpoints from people who actually know something. Wasn't too long ago this wasn't available.

If someone is not interested in money, if they're above that sort of thing, then they can go out, buy an 'interesting' fiddle, take photos of it, post them on Maestronet and ask for information. It works, sometimes. And if they do that often enough, then they can write the book.

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Well, maybe you would like to fund this book? :) As far as it's marketing, how much will it cost to produce (well, 'cause half-assed won't do much good) and how big an audience will you have? What's your break-even? Most violin related publications have a distribution of under 2,000, so if it costs $250,000 or $300,000 (which I think might be conservative for printing, authorship, editing, photography, printing, binding and materials) to produce the thing, will you be able to sell enough copies at $200 each to pay back the loans?

Most publications produced by experts are due to their own passions and desires to know and learn more about the subject. They are results of ongoing research, travel and excitement. Sorry, but I don't think what is described here will inspire an someone to stop what they're doing and take up the cause.

Enough on that.

Now seriously. I'm wasn't just referring to old masterpieces (though one really has to know the basic models and how they were interpreted). There is printed material concerning many of the "lesser" instruments (Hamma's book on German makers, Eric Blot's books on Modern Italians, The book on English makers, the book on Hungarian makers, Several books on French makers, Notes in the appendix of Tom Florence's old "Appraisers Manual; which I think is called "The Redbook" now, etc, etc.). Several of these publications have illustrations and/or photos of details including linings, blocks and rib & purfling corners.

So... rather than wish that someone who actually knows what they are doing will stop making a living for a couple years to produce a product which has little chance of even a break even... in other words, do the work for you, free... why not saunter down to your nearest restorer/dealer/expert and see if they'll spend a few minutes with you... then go off to the library?

:)!

Point taken I apologise.

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I am convinced that the trick is to write what you know about, so, I've been giving serious consideration to publishing some Landmark Titles of my own, for the benefit those who work in public school systems...

"How To Identify Entry Level Violins (and related crap), for fun and profit"

Then, depending on how well that does, a companion volume -

" Glasser Fiberglass Bows Through The Ages - an illustrated guide".

As, I claim an unparalleled level of expertise in these areas.

Some Interesting- somewhat unexpected - facets coming to light in this thread, I must say.

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CTviolin, finally a marvelous belly-laugh. I'll put in an advance order should your literary efforts bear fruit.

Jeffrey, you have my gratitude for your generosity and patience - there are always some who just experience a different reality and no evidence to the contrary will convince them otherwise.

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There is printed material concerning many of the "lesser" instruments (Hamma's book on German makers, Eric Blot's books on Modern Italians, The book on English makers, the book on Hungarian makers, Several books on French makers, Notes in the appendix of Tom Florence's old "Appraisers Manual; which I think is called "The Redbook" now, etc, etc.).

Hey... don't forget that book on Australian makers!

And thanks for the laugh early on a Sunday morning CT... "Glasser Fiberglass Bows Through The Ages - an illustrated guide".

Sounds riveting... I'll do the photos for you!

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Much of this thread reminds me how so many people want a quick 5 minute explanation of something that takes years of hard work to understand. At the Atlantic City VSA one attendee asked me how I learned so much about violins. Well, first I assured him that I don't know that much, but I am still learning. And second, I read. In fact, I read a lot. I told him about MN, for instance, and the vast Internet sources, but he did not grasp or seem to accept what I said. He seemed put off by my reply even though it was the honest truth.

Stay tuned.

Mike

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I am convinced that the trick is to write what you know about, so, I've been giving serious consideration to publishing some Landmark Titles of my own, for the benefit those who work in public school systems...

"How to identify entry level violins (and related crap), for fun and profit"

Then, depending on how well that does, a companion volume -

" Glasser Fiberglass Bows Through The Ages - an illustrated guide".

As, I claim an unparalleled level of expertise in these areas.

Some Interesting- somewhat unexpected - facets coming to light, I must say.

Followed of course by the "Iconography of the Guldan-Jackson Violin"

followed by "A Monograph of the Fine Points of Construction of Kay and Englehardt Cellos and Basses" :) :)

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Followed of course by the "Iconography of the Guldan-Jackson Violin"

followed by "A Monograph of the Fine Points of Construction of Kay and Englehardt Cellos and Basses" :) :)

Perhaps we should strike while the iron is hot. "The VSO: from the Skylark to the Cremona and Palatino, being a Journey through the late 20th century."

Not to mention all the individual makers today: "From Popular Mechanics to Maestronet: The Computer School of Violin-Making." Or will we be known as the Internet school?

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