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Hy dear friends...it's me again...

I would ask your attention to examine this old lady that has its label removed.

Some characteristics:

LOB 36.2cm; lower bout seems bigger than in the photo +/- 16.5cm long, from soundhole nicks.

Rather flat model. I would say Andrea Amati-like upper bout's contour, and the rest of the contour more Nicolò-like, extended corners, stylish soundholes.

The belly is one piece of spruce. It has center wood pegs only in the belly, not in the back.

The varnish is very attractive but not specially transparent.

The lower rib is uncut, integral. The interior shows standard method of construction but it has the C bout's linings inserted into the corner blocks, but with pointed ends.

I would be very grateful for any opinion about possible maker or school where to look for.

Best wishes to all.

T.

PS: photos belong to consignor, with permission.

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I find this a very elegant violin. My untrained eye, however locked on to the asymmetry of the scroll, probably a point of craftsmanship better addressed by the experts. Very elegant, feminine C bouts and F holes. How does it sound?

Very shiny varnish.

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I find this a very elegant violin. My untrained eye, however locked on to the asymmetry of the scroll, probably a point of craftsmanship better addressed by the experts. Very elegant, feminine C bouts and F holes. How does it sound?

Very shiny varnish.

Thank you, dear Zefir. No sound yet: repairing crack on the belly and damaged sides at the shoulders.

The base of the neck has an addition that is suspect...I have no explanation about this, safe that the repairer wanted to lift the fingerboard...and the button part of the back suffered also.

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Dear Tarisiochen,

This time you have what we call here a „Mittenwalder Verleger Geige

(Mittenwalder = from Mittenwald,

Verleger = Publisher,

Geige = Violin)

It seems to have the „Kunstschellack (Synthetic Shellac) varnish, which would date it to the period between the two world wars.

Publisher sounds a bit silly in English, but Im afraid that is what they called it. Dealer would be nearer in modern English. It means that one person made the scroll, a second the sound box, a third put everything together and a forth varnished.

One possibility would be the shop of Johann Reiter, and the other would be that it could be from the Violin Making School under the direction of Mr. Aschauer. Both would look more or less identical. If it is from the school, it will have a Brand inside of the back which looks like a Christmas tree in a circle.

The scroll maker normally wrote his initials and the year in black ink on the end grain part of the inside of the peg box (by the nut) so brush the dust and dirt away carefully and see if you can read it (often its illegible).

I have an original advertising pamphlet from Reiter somewhere in my cellar (which I would need a while to find!)which starts off STRADIVARI GUARNERI AMATI- KLOTZ- REITER and then a list of the instruments that he supplies, which range from cheap to quite expensive.

Are you telling the truth about the rib damage by the neck root? It looks like somebody hit you over the head with it!

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Hi Tarisiofever,

Jacob shows his usual mastery of all things Teutonic!

I'd expect this violin to sound pretty nice - I try to find this kind of spruce for our violins, very even across the body and not too tight-grained.

The fillet in the button - seen this in a lot of German workshop violins. I'm sure it was put in at the time of manufacture - because the neck won't have been made specifically for the violin, maybe the dimensions were a bit off, or maybe a bit of heel corner got chipped off when it was sitting in the "box of necks".

Is the top one-piece? And does the crack emanating from the pin into the bottom block travel into the bassbar? Rather you than me!

Interesting that the ribs have failed around the top block (while someone was clunking you over the head) but the button hasn't broken across the purfling line - there was a thread a couple of weeks back about this.

regards, Martin

Martin Swan Violins

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Dear Tarisiochen,

This time you have what we call here a „Mittenwalder Verleger Geige

(Mittenwalder = from Mittenwald,

Verleger = Publisher,

Geige = Violin)

It seems to have the „Kunstschellack (Synthetic Shellac) varnish, which would date it to the period between the two world wars.

Publisher sounds a bit silly in English, but Im afraid that is what they called it. Dealer would be nearer in modern English. It means that one person made the scroll, a second the sound box, a third put everything together and a forth varnished.

One possibility would be the shop of Johann Reiter, and the other would be that it could be from the Violin Making School under the direction of Mr. Aschauer. Both would look more or less identical. If it is from the school, it will have a Brand inside of the back which looks like a Christmas tree in a circle.

The scroll maker normally wrote his initials and the year in black ink on the end grain part of the inside of the peg box (by the nut) so brush the dust and dirt away carefully and see if you can read it (often its illegible).

I have an original advertising pamphlet from Reiter somewhere in my cellar (which I would need a while to find!)which starts off STRADIVARI GUARNERI AMATI- KLOTZ- REITER and then a list of the instruments that he supplies, which range from cheap to quite expensive.

Are you telling the truth about the rib damage by the neck root? It looks like somebody hit you over the head with it!

You guys never cease to amaze me with your knowledge and perspicacity !!! :D

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I thought one piece tops were usually considered lesser sound quality in general because of the lack of symmetry. Is it something really recognized or just another urban legend?

legend.... :)

The distortion and cracking around the lower block is alarming. It looks like it was dropped on the endpin, or shrank onto the pin and split... or?

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Dear Tarisio’chen,

This time you have what we call here a „Mittenwalder Verleger Geige“

(Mittenwalder = from Mittenwald,

Verleger = Publisher,

Geige = Violin)

It seems to have the „Kunstschellack“ (Synthetic Shellac) varnish, which would date it to the period between the two world wars.

“Publisher” sounds a bit silly in English, but I’m afraid that is what they called it. “Dealer” would be nearer in modern English. It means that one person made the scroll, a second the sound box, a third put everything together and a forth varnished.

One possibility would be the shop of Johann Reiter, and the other would be that it could be from the Violin Making School under the direction of Mr. Aschauer. Both would look more or less identical. If it is from the school, it will have a Brand inside of the back which looks like a Christmas tree in a circle.

The scroll maker normally wrote his initials and the year in black ink on the end grain part of the inside of the peg box (by the nut) so brush the dust and dirt away carefully and see if you can read it (often it’s illegible).

I have an original advertising pamphlet from Reiter somewhere in my cellar (which I would need a while to find!)which starts off “STRADIVARI – GUARNERI – AMATI- KLOTZ- REITER” and then a list of the instruments that he supplies, which range from cheap to quite expensive.

Are you telling the truth about the rib damage by the neck root? It looks like somebody hit you over the head with it!

Oh! That was a fast and very extensive reply! But you are robing us all the fun :D

Thank you very much. Now I'll do my part of investigation and updating.

Henley talks marvels about Johann Reiter.

There is no stamp on the back inside. I will have to look at the pegbox for marks. This one had a label which was removed.

I will ask my luthier if he considers to be a synthetic shellac varnish. He told me it was a "good varnish". It is rather thick and not so traslucent, but appealing.

Well, the violin came with those damages; no one hitted me with it, yet :D (apart that I stopped buying so she is peaceful now ;) ) .

It is cute, isn' it? B)

Best wishes,

T.

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I've had well made and badly made violins with one-piece tops ... I couldn't say there were any common factors tonally. I think the myth comes from the fact that they're very common on basic Mirecourt violins (but these often sound great).

There was a big thread recently about symmetry - the conclusion seemed to be that it was a nice idea but nothing to get too hung up about!

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legend.... :)

The distortion and cracking around the lower block is alarming. It looks like it was dropped on the endpin, or shrank onto the pin and split... or?

I don't think that that is a great problem. It needs the bottom block removing, the ribs shortening to match the outline (bye bye "Mittenwald notch"), a new block and the belly crack washing out and glueing. I hate to disagree with Martin, since I normaly agree with 99% of what he says, but I think the neck has been removed and reset (with a heel extension) at some time previously, because the button viewed from the back has been savaged too considerably smaller than I expect it looked like when the instrument was new.

I agree that the predjudice about "one piece bellys" is an "urban legend". In the case of a Mittenwald "Verleger" violin, it will have less to do with any esoteric theorys, rather a hard nosed Mittenwald artisan not seeing why on earth he should saw a piece of wood in half and join it again, if it was big enough anyway.

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Hi Tarisiofever,

Jacob shows his usual mastery of all things Teutonic!

I'd expect this violin to sound pretty nice - I try to find this kind of spruce for our violins, very even across the body and not too tight-grained.

The fillet in the button - seen this in a lot of German workshop violins. I'm sure it was put in at the time of manufacture - because the neck won't have been made specifically for the violin, maybe the dimensions were a bit off, or maybe a bit of heel corner got chipped off when it was sitting in the "box of necks".

Is the top one-piece? And does the crack emanating from the pin into the bottom block travel into the bassbar? Rather you than me!

Interesting that the ribs have failed around the top block (while someone was clunking you over the head) but the button hasn't broken across the purfling line - there was a thread a couple of weeks back about this.

regards, Martin

Martin Swan Violins

Hi dear Martin,

Thank you for your interest and input.

The top is one piece with slightly wider grain on the bass side. I think the cracks is parallel to the bar. Maybe one-piece fronts are not so strong as two-piece ones and more prone to cracking?

The belly lost some of its natural curve and that was the bad part of it, said my luthier.

The ribs are very thin at the top blocks; I would say 1mm. I don't know the mechanism of the traumatism.

The button did fail and was nastily repaired.

Best wishes,

T.

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Just bothered to look at the picture of the back .... oops.

I don't mind admitting when I'm wrong!

I don't think one-piece fronts are more prone to cracking - from a shrinkage/expansion point of view I suppose it would depend how far the wood deviates from quarter-sawn. Tangential shrinkage is at least double radial shrinkage (think I've got those the right way round) ... if you're using wood from small trees then you would have to joint in order to get a consistently quarter-sawn piece with minimal tendency for movement. A one-piece front with a bit of grain off the quarter might be unstable. But in the great "O Tannenbaum" forests around Mittenwald I'd think there would be lots of lovely slow-grown spruce logs with a 25cm radius if not 50cm!

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But in the great "O Tannenbaum" forests around Mittenwald I'd think there would be lots of lovely slow-grown spruce logs with a 25cm radius if not 50cm!

Yeah, British (and other) violin makers get tears in their eyes just looking at the firewood heaps!

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Oh! That was a fast and very extensive reply! But you are robing us all the fun :D

Thank you very much. Now I'll do my part of investigation and updating.

Henley talks marvels about Johann Reiter.

There is no stamp on the back inside. I will have to look at the pegbox for marks. This one had a label which was removed.

I will ask my luthier if he considers to be a synthetic shellac varnish. He told me it was a "good varnish". It is rather thick and not so traslucent, but appealing.

Well, the violin came with those damages; no one hitted me with it, yet :D (apart that I stopped buying so she is peaceful now ;) ) .

It is cute, isn' it? B)

Best wishes,

T.

My sincere apologies for spoiling you’re fun!

I didn’t say it was made by Reiter, but that he could have been the dealer who had had it made for his firm by various Mittenwald artisans. The removed label would probably have said ”Handarbeit aus Mittenwald” (Hand crafted from Mittenwald). I have a couple of dozen of these (unused) labels in my stamp album, should you ask nicely.

In South German newsagents, right up until the 1970’s, they sold post cards with a picture of Reiter in his workshop. Everyone who knew my father always posted him one if they went to Oberamergau on holiday. His workshop was a dreadful mess, with every horizontal surface covered with about 3 feet of instruments and junk, so I can’t imagine how anybody could possibly have done any violin making work there.

The “Kunstschellack” was a perfectly normal standard varnish and I didn’t mention it in any derogatory way at all, so you’re Maestro is quite right if he says that it is a “good varnish”. If he had learnt at the violin making school, Herr Fürst would probably have made him practice polishing with it, until he had had a respectable tendonitis.

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My sincere apologies for spoiling you’re fun!

I didn’t say it was made by Reiter, but that he could have been the dealer who had had it made for his firm by various Mittenwald artisans. The removed label would probably have said ”Handarbeit aus Mittenwald” (Hand crafted from Mittenwald). I have a couple of dozen of these (unused) labels in my stamp album, should you ask nicely.

In South German newsagents, right up until the 1970’s, they sold post cards with a picture of Reiter in his workshop. Everyone who knew my father always posted him one if they went to Oberamergau on holiday. His workshop was a dreadful mess, with every horizontal surface covered with about 3 feet of instruments and junk, so I can’t imagine how anybody could possibly have done any violin making work there.

The “Kunstschellack” was a perfectly normal standard varnish and I didn’t mention it in any derogatory way at all, so you’re Maestro is quite right if he says that it is a “good varnish”. If he had learnt at the violin making school, Herr Fürst would probably have made him practice polishing with it, until he had had a respectable tendonitis.

Ha, ha...I understand. Thanks for the offer but I have concerns putting in non-original labels.

Arbeit; that word I know. Perhaps the most used word by Germans. Bismark used it at least three times per phrase... :D

Best,

T.

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..

In South German newsagents, right up until the 1970’s, they sold post cards with a picture of Reiter in his workshop. Everyone who knew my father always posted him one if they went to Oberamergau on holiday. His workshop was a dreadful mess, with every horizontal surface covered with about 3 feet of instruments and junk, so I can’t imagine how anybody could possibly have done any violin making work there.

...

Something like this?

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They must have been fairly common photos. I have another one, similar, hanging in my shop just to remind me that as cluttered as my benches look, they could be worse! :)

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Something like this?

post-24063-0-35651100-1307021269_thumb.jpg

They must have been fairly common photos. I have another one, similar, hanging in my shop just to remind me that as cluttered as my benches look, they could be worse! :)

Yes exactly! I have seem other similar ones as well. Can you imagine doing anything (re-shoot a cello fingerboard for instance) that needs a bit of room in there?

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Yes exactly! I have seem other similar ones as well. Can you imagine doing anything (re-shoot a cello fingerboard for instance) that needs a bit of room in there?

No, it's hard to imagine how one would even move about without damaging anything. By that point in his life maybe the only thing he did was have his photograph taken -- or maybe he had a luxurious back-room for the workers while he was the 'face' of the shop!

I do admit a certain fascination with those images, though. Such interesting clutter.

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I thought one piece tops were usually considered lesser sound quality in general because of the lack of symmetry. Is it something really recognized or just another urban legend?

I said that Jacob was good on this site only last week, I think he just proved that admirably. As for one piece tops - they were good enough for Strad and the Amati and Guarneri families.

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