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scratchy rosin
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I was repairing an old Scottish 'cello today and enjoyed this note and a less ostentatious pencil message from a Dundee repairer. I have secured the open edges but there are some old cracks on the top that would be better addressed by taking the top off. Is the note writing still something that modern repairers like to follow?

post-3090-1274744425.jpg

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I was repairing an old Scottish 'cello today and enjoyed this note and a less ostentatious pencil message from a Dundee repairer. I have secured the open edges but there are some old cracks on the top that would be better addressed by taking the top off. Is the note writing still something that modern repairers like to follow?

Interesting! Cramond was a very skilled maker but left Scotland in 1834 (apparently irritated by competion from amateurs) and came to Saint John, New Brunswick near where I live. Unfortunately, it appears that he made no more instruments but spent the rest of his career making gun stocks.

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I believe it's the Alard del Gesu that has JB Vuillaume's signature in it, done possibly after he regraduated it.

The Hungarian violin maker Bela Szepessy (1856 -1925), who also worked for some time in London, was fond of writing notes in his fiddles, judging from the Szepessy section in the book by Peter Benedek, 1997, THE VIOLIN MAKERS OF HUNGARY.

Per Benedek, with photos of notes provided:

In an 1874 violin of his, Szepessy writes, inside the top, a rather lengthy note. It begins, in Hungarian: "The first work of Szepesy (sic) Bela at Mr. Nemessanyi's." Then there's some more text, in Hungarian and German, about working for Nemessanyi. His note ends in Hungarian with: "I built it for me and also sold it for 30 f. Whoever opens this violin should neither take out the bassbar nor any of the wood, because its tone will be lost." (pp. 338, 344)

In an 1885 London made violin, there's inscribed in English (by Szepessy?) inside on the top, "Exhibited International invention exhibition. London 1885. Refused to accept silver medal." (p. 345)

In a 1916 violin, Szepessy wrote, in Hungarian, the single word "war" inside on the top. (p. 361)

For Szepessy, his violins served, on occasion, as a diary.

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A very well known Chicago restorer from several decades ago was known to write his name in ball point pen on the interior of old Cremonas. I saw one during his working career and it wasn't a humble script, rather more like a signature on one of those giant checks they give out to contest winners.

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A local maker here, now deceased, used to make a little hollow in the neck under the fingerboard. He would write down his personal information and duplicate the date of assembly as on the label. This was written on a small piece of paper, folded and enclosed when the fingerboard was glued on. Sort of a mini time capsule.

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I was repairing an old Scottish 'cello today and enjoyed this note and a less ostentatious pencil message from a Dundee repairer. I have secured the open edges but there are some old cracks on the top that would be better addressed by taking the top off. Is the note writing still something that modern repairers like to follow?

++++++++++

Here is one of my recent labels

Model after Antonio Stradivius 1676,

restorer's name (not my name) , date unknown

Label is used to tell something trueful, and useful.

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++++++++++

Here is one of my recent labels

Model after Antonio Stradivius 1676,

restorer's name (not my name) , date unknown

Label is used to tell something trueful, and useful.

Fellow, How many violins have "restored by Fellow" written inside?

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The most moving I've ever seen was quoted in the May Strad's "Stanley Potts" piece.

A VSO showed up in the shop, drawing much ridicule.

When opened up, a note is found written on the belly...

"Dedicated to James, my only son who fell at Flanders, June 1918"

E

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Fellow, How many violins have "restored by Fellow" written inside?

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

The restorer was long gone, perhaps 80 years ago. His name was on the bassbar, but I have to fix that place to make it playable

, ie, my goal. So his written name (partially) had to be destroyed. How many I have fixed is irrelevent. I did not sell them to anyone.

I have fixed quite many. Some were so poor, they went to garbage bin. How many repairman do that? May I ask. :)

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Of course sometimes that note or signature inside is critical - I had a dealer bring me a beautiful "Italian" instrument to fix up, nothing could be seen from the outside but when I opened it up there was the telltale signature of the maker/copiest/forger "George Hulme-Hudson, which made the violin English c 1900. Took photos gave them to the dealer who I trust was honest about it after.

The name was there but in a place not visible from the f-holes in any way short of a spy camera.

Reese

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I have a very old instrument that has some religious verses/prayers written in pencil on the inside top, as well as the (apparent) maker's name. Rough translation from Norwegian or Swedish:

"Turn over all your ways and heartaches to Him who owns the whole heavenly city (stronghold); He who can still the storm and break the billows blue; He will find the way on which your feet should go."

"Now my eyes are closing; God, Father on high, take me in thy safekeeping, from sin and sorrow and danger; The angel guard me, who has led my feet today."

Arbeidet Joh(n)? Petterson (Pettersen)?

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I came across the following in a book, forgetting to write down the title, I will have to search for it again.

"Some foolish person thought they could repair this violin and very nearly spoiled it, dug the wood all out, split the edges all to pieces, then brought it to me expecting a first class job in three dayd. It gave me a shock, what can you do when you have nothing to work on." E. F. Bryant

found inside a violin brought in for repair to J. A. Gould & Sons, Mass.

I have to feel just like him some days - Momma said there be days like this, there be days like this my Momma said......

Reese

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The most moving I've ever seen was quoted in the May Strad's "Stanley Potts" piece.

A VSO showed up in the shop, drawing much ridicule.

When opened up, a note is found written on the belly...

"Dedicated to James, my only son who fell at Flanders, June 1918"

E

I have the may 2010 issue, but I didn't see that reference in the S. Potts article. I'm in Canada, perhaps some of the material is different for export?
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On the inside back of an Enrico Ceruti, apparently made in 1868.

"Gaetano Rossi, maker of musical instruments in Milan, "re-did" the fingerboard and the bass bar, anno 1868"

Ceruti_Inscr.jpg

There is a further inscription, rather odd, in the same handwriting, that reads:

" G?.... Angelo, of Cremona, bought this instrument from "the Author" 1868, and was the first to use it"

Ceruti_inscr6.jpg

This instrument is unlabelled, but may well have had Ceruti's label when originally made, which may explain why Rossi didn't name "the author".

Note the corner blocks and linings.

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The most moving I've ever seen was quoted in the May Strad's "Stanley Potts" piece.

A VSO showed up in the shop, drawing much ridicule.

When opened up, a note is found written on the belly...

"Dedicated to James, my only son who fell at Flanders, June 1918"

E

Thank you for sharing the above. It should give us pause, when we consider coming down on the work of another. And you know, for me it would have been a far greater honor to have been entrusted with such a violin, than any Strad or del Gesu known, for some things (acts done out of pure love) are far beyond any monetary value.

Thank you again, this is the kind of message that really gave meaning to this day, just to know such a thing had been done. Thank you.

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

The restorer was long gone, perhaps 80 years ago. His name was on the bassbar, but I have to fix that place to make it playable

, ie, my goal. So his written name (partially) had to be destroyed. How many I have fixed is irrelevent. I did not sell them to anyone.

I have fixed quite many. Some were so poor, they went to garbage bin. How many repairman do that? May I ask. :)

Fellow, I did not ask that for a joke. I was thinking that it was when I started to put a note with my name in the violins I rebuilt, that I realy started too do my best repairs.

Just a thought.

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  • 1 year later...

I came across the following in a book, forgetting to write down the title, I will have to search for it again.

"Some foolish person thought they could repair this violin and very nearly spoiled it, dug the wood all out, split the edges all to pieces, then brought it to me expecting a first class job in three dayd. It gave me a shock, what can you do when you have nothing to work on." E. F. Bryant

found inside a violin brought in for repair to J. A. Gould & Sons, Mass.

I have to feel just like him some days - Momma said there be days like this, there be days like this my Momma said......

Reese

George Bryant was pretty awesome & my greatgreatgrandpa! If you are interested in reading all about him you can here ... http://thehofmannandbryantfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/

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George Bryant was pretty awesome & my greatgreatgrandpa! If you are interested in reading all about him you can here ... http://thehofmannandbryantfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/

Robin,

Welcome to MN. Very nice family history preservation in the link.

I really liked the workbench and office photos with the instruments.

S. DiFrangia

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