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Joannes Jais violins - how do you tell if you have one?

Penelope the Duck

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Hi everyone,


I'm new to this site, and have been trawling around in here for hours - there is so much cool stuff on here!  And so many knowledgable folk.


I've been playing the violin about 2 years, so am still quite rubbish as you might imagine, but have just treated myself to a lovely new violin.  The label says (as well as I can read it)

Joannes Jais me fecit
Bulsani in Tyroli 17


I found this post:  www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/332205-joannes-jais-violin-id/?hl=%2Bjoannes+%2Bjais  and was wondering if i could ask the same question about my violin. I just naively assumed that the label was true.  Having said that, the shop I bought the violin from told me it was about 1850, and this guy was dead by then, plus the label has "17" on it - so already it doesn't really add up.  So I've been investigating and I am completely confused now.


Does anyone know whether it might be genuine or not?  Or if not - perhaps what period it might be?  Or where it might have come from?  Or is it a modern fake? 


It is a lovely looking instrument (well I think so anyway..), and has a really dark mellow tone.  It sounds like warm molasses.  Although sadly not when I play it..  The shop told me it was German in origin.


I have taken a load of pictures and stuck them here:  http://s296.photobucket.com/user/Penelope_the_Duck/slideshow/


I would be so appreciatlive of any information anyone might be able to give me, as I would love to know the origins of my instrument if anyone might know or have some vague idea?


Many thanks in advance.

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Thank you both so much Jacob and deans for your answers. 


I have never heard of this.  Is Vogtländische some sort of violin making school?  Or were they mass produced (like they are now doing in China) at that time in that area?  I have been googling for hours now on this, but I don't speak/read german, and the results translated look like it's some form of apprentice school?


Are they generally good instruments?  Or cheaply made "assembly line" ones?


Many thanks for your help.  I really appreciate it.



Edited by Penelope the Duck
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In general a grafted head is a good thing, and done to replace the neck and keep the original scroll. Its an expensive job and usually not done on  cheaper instruments. It usually means the neck needed to be replaced, either because the neck was damaged/worn or was originally not of modern dimensions. In your case the fiddle may have started with a "through neck" and was rebuilt with a neck block.


Sometimes a maker will graft the head to begin with, but I'll bet yours is a "modernized" through neck instrument. I would not say that your instrument is an "assembly line" job. But it isn't a masterpiece either. It looks like a Stainer-ish model, but not exaggerated like many Saxon fiddles of that time. I think it has a lot of character.


I don't know if you overpaid, but it sounds like the seller was straight about its origin, and it looks like a cool fiddle.

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Thanks a lot deans - that makes me feel much better!  :D


I was starting to wonder if I'd made a terrible mistake, even though I do love the instrument, and even my teacher declared it to be an "exceptional" instrument when I showed it to him - but then I've only just known him a month.


I should stop trawling through pages on the internet about violins now and get it out of it's box and learn to play it shouldn't I..? 


Many thanks for your advice.



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