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Greg F.

opinions on age and origin

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Just wondering for my own info if any of the knowledgeable violin people can help with a rough age and likely country of origin for this violin.  I assume that it is a factory product.  I can't get any pictures of the inside but it looks nicely lined and blocked (to my novice eyes).  Yes, it's one of those infamous ebay fiddles.  No, I didn't buy it because I thought it might be a rare "sleeper" slipping by the hundreds and hundreds of ebay violin lurkers (if nothing good ever shows up on ebay one has to wonder what all the lurkers are up to).  I apologize in advance for the iffy quality of the pictures.  If they are too awful to help with a rough date, etc., let me know and I will try to post some better ones.  FWIW, the seller said it belonged to a relative who probably had had it since c. 1905.  The scroll and peg box look to have had some work done on them and I suspect some revarnishing has taken place in this area.

 

Thanks,

 

Greg

 

P. S. If id'ing common factory fiddles is annoying to you then don't.  I rather have no replies than a bunch of snarky ones.

 

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Rue,

 

I hope you don't feel like it was a waste of time to post your recent really-helpful thread on taking photos.

 

http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/333119-how-to-photograph-an-instrument-for-identifcation-purposes/?hl=%2Brue+%2Bphotographs

 

Apparently Jacob has super-powers when it comes to recognizing violins from Schönbach, but the OP should check out Rue's thread for what people need to see to properly identify most violins, if they lack super-powers.  Surely you could get a little more useful light and focus.  I guess you know now what you needed to know, but should it ever come up again...

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Jacob,

 

I don't know which of the various characteristics are most important for id'ing, but FWIW the fluting extends all the way into the throat (from your id checklist:  Scroll: Dutzendarbeit tend to me more rounded off and over in both respects. Fluting finishes as early as 6 o’clock. Back of the scroll tends to finish less sharp, or have a kind of “delta” at the bottom.).

 

Thank you for the reply,

Greg
 

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I also don't know exactly how this applies:  "Ribs: The ends of the rib at the corners left long, so that you can get a cramp on to glue them together, and shortened afterwards, with the tendency to remain almost flush with the ends of the back outline at the corners.", but aren't the rib corners inset somewhat on this violin.  I'm trying to apply some of your criteria for violin id'ing so please correct me as needed.

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Thank you Martin.

 

When time permits I will try to get brighter pics and follow Rue's guide.

 

FWIW, here's the checklist I came across that I assume is mostly Jacob's work:  http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/330827-violin-identification-checklist/?hl=%2Bschonbach+%2Bsaunders

 

BTW, does the scroll have the pronounced forehead look or not?  I have only a vague idea what such refers to.

 

Greg

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I'm with Martin here, Saxon trade, by the corners, but not Schoenbach.  I find the scroll carving somewhat reminiscent of Lowendalls.  What if anything, does the label contribute?  How does it sound?  :)

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If I mention anything about the label 1/2 of the people will say it's meaningless and 1/2 will say it's a modern "reprint".  Perhaps 1 in a 100 will think it is a genuine indication of where the violin originated.  At least that's what I gather from reading various id discussions here and elsewhere.  

 

FWIW, I bought the instrument from a non-violin dealer and, based on what all else they were selling on ebay, it was pretty clear to me that there was no reason to doubt that it was an instrument that had been in their family for a long time (after I bought it I inquired further and the seller thought a relative had purchased it around 1905).  I've been buying and selling on ebay since 1997 and have somewhere in the neighborhood of 20000 transactions (not violins, but antique American pocket watches and the parts for same) there so I'm extremely familiar with how ebay works and who can be trusted to tell something resembling the truth about their goods.  

 

As for sound, I've only been "playing" for about 2 1/2 years so it sounds awful (in my hands).

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I find it a bit useless to distinguish between saxon/Markneukirchen and Schönbach industry  - they both used the same methods and spoke the same language.

Did I report before about the loosely glued Stradivarius label I once found in this type of violin?

It was double-side printed, one side "Made in Germany", the back read "Made in Czechoslowakia", what indicated that it was after 1919 and there still was much traffic about the border,

 

Reg. rib joints: They don't need to close up with the plate corners, it's enough that they have nearly parallel glued ends, wher they were clamped together. That's easily to see at the photos here.

Also the scroll flutings can be carved "to the bitter end" sometimes in this period, without making anything different.

 

@ Vio: Where do you think were the Lowendalls made (in white)? Yes, of course! ;)B)

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Just a note to any charlatan who imagines he/she can distinguish between Markneukirchen and Schönbach (about a half hour walk):

One should familiarise oneself with the concept of “Markneukirchen Waren” i.e. that which was boxed up and taken to Markneukirchen railway station (alas now trackless). Most if not all of the Markneukirchener “Verschicker” (Dealers) bought up wares from the whole region. A report from the Markneukirchen Gewerbeverein from 1872 goes into some detail for that year. They sent:

3.200 Dozen (i.e. 38.400) instruments priced between 12 and 600 Talern per piece
700 Basses priced between 10 and 150 Talern
40 Dozen Celli priced between 6 and 100 Talern per piece
36,000 Dozen (i.e.432,000) Bows, priced between 1,5 and 600 Talern per dozen
additionally they sent 120,000 violins and 6,000 Celli from Schönbach and roughly an equal number from Klingenthal

Since Schönbach in Böhmen was slightly cheaper, one can presume that the large number of cheap ones came from there, but not that they didn't make pricier ones. Also the statistic is of dubious value, when one bears in mind the aural history of the hoards of Schönbacher wives all spending the weekends, smuggling violins across the border. The smuggled (not to mention one of the 120,000 declared) Schönbach violins would be labelled in Markneukirchen, before it was brought to the station, with its Markneukirchen invoice, ditto for Klingenthal, and wherever else.

Bearing all of that in mind, I defy anyone to tell me which one is Markneukirchen, which one Klingenthal or Schönbach, never mind from Bad Brambach or even Zwota (or some 20 other villages). A bit like a tea leaf reading degree, from an American university.

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You have 20,000 eBay transactions as a buyer and seller, and those are the best photos you can come up with? You seem determined to have a "positive" outcome in the expert assessment of your violin. Why not disclose the label, and let the chips fall where they may?

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You have 20,000 eBay transactions as a buyer and seller, and those are the best photos you can come up with? You seem determined to have a "positive" outcome in the expert assessment of your violin. Why not disclose the label, and let the chips fall where they may?

Hi,

 

I sell small things on ebay like watches.  To take pictures I use a scanner which gives fantastic (almost too good) detail.  I'm challenged when it comes to taking pics of larger items.  Sorry.

 

I'm not looking for a "positive" outcome (whatever that is), so don't throw that at me.

 

I'm asking if the real experts here can give an idea as to origin and approx. age of a factory violin.  I've followed many id discussions on MN and generally it is asserted that id'ing luby/schonbach and the like is easy for even a newbie to learn.  I'm here to learn.

 

Thanks,

 

Greg

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Here's what I've learned so far:

 

1) I take terrible pictures.

 

2) Jacob says Schonbach

 

3) Martin says Saxony/MK

 

4) Voiladamore agrees with Martin

 

5) blankface says Schonbach vs MK makes no difference

 

6) blankface says fluting and rib joint characteristics changed, which I guess means that the guidelines put together at the link mentioned should be used with large grains of salt.

 

7) Jacob says that only charlatans can tell an MK from a Schonbach.

 

8) akaBobH thinks the growth ring alignment (or lack thereof) is telling (I assume he means it's a sign of a low quality instrument)

 

9) clearsky thinks I'm after a "positive" outcome, and by the way my pics stink.

 

FWIW, I had a nice private correspondence with violadamore that was helpful.

 

I think I'm outta here for now.

 

Thank you all for you time and replies,

 

Greg

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I don't think it's easy at all. There is a vast range of qualities of instrument that can rightly be called "Saxon" or MK as Jacob has explained, from the lowliest violins made in parts by farmers in the winter all the way up to some superb violins that would be difficult to outclass in workmanship or tone wherever you went looking.

The checklist you are referring to is a guide to some basic features, and will help to separate out lower level MK/Sch from Mittenwald.

But not every MK violin has a delta at the back of the scroll or fluting stopping short - nor are either of these features in themselves a no-brainer/magic bullet. Extended rib corners can be seen in many other schools - conversely, not every Saxon violin will have this feature.

 

ps. since you are determined to see disagreement where there is none, I admit to using the term MK trade loosely. Schoenbach violins are a subset of that from my point of view ...

 

Martin agrees with Jacob

VdA agrees with Martin ergo with Jacob

BF says it really makes no difference, we all agree with that

everyone thinks it's Saxon (MK trade)

Pictures were fine ...

 

Don't go, we were having such fun!

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Puzzling it out is part of the fun.

I am still squinting at miniscule differences in f-hole shapes that are apparently evident to everyone but me...

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An interesting top......notice the vertical rings near the outer treble side, surely a replacement...the remainder of the rings slope at the same rather large angle extends all the way to the bass side,indicating an original one-piece top with no center join, or a center join with the billet not book matched. The narrow part of each year's grow ring is much more resistant to stress.than the softer growth. Ideally,these rings are vertical, when viewed from the bottom, as you stated. I think the significance of this is that it's tried, true, and predictable to a certain degree. Vertical-grained tops are the norm. Violin tops with near 45 degree sloping grain such as on your last photo would tend to have different reactions to swelling and shrinking (perhaps the reason for partial replacement?),would likely require some changes in graduation, etc. Maybe I am wrong but I shy away from fiddles w.ith this feature. I cannot comment on any possible changes in sound,

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Just a note to any charlatan who imagines he/she can distinguish between Markneukirchen and Schönbach (about a half hour walk):

One should familiarise oneself with the concept of “Markneukirchen Waren” i.e. that which was boxed up and taken to Markneukirchen railway station (alas now trackless). Most if not all of the Markneukirchener “Verschicker” (Dealers) bought up wares from the whole region. A report from the Markneukirchen Gewerbeverein from 1872 goes into some detail for that year. They sent:

3.200 Dozen (i.e. 38.400) instruments priced between 12 and 600 Talern per piece

700 Basses priced between 10 and 150 Talern

40 Dozen Celli priced between 6 and 100 Talern per piece

36,000 Dozen (i.e.432,000) Bows, priced between 1,5 and 600 Talern per dozen

additionally they sent 120,000 violins and 6,000 Celli from Schönbach and roughly an equal number from Klingenthal

Since Schönbach in Böhmen was slightly cheaper, one can presume that the large number of cheap ones came from there, but not that they didn't make pricier ones. Also the statistic is of dubious value, when one bears in mind the aural history of the hoards of Schönbacher wives all spending the weekends, smuggling violins across the border. The smuggled (not to mention one of the 120,000 declared) Schönbach violins would be labelled in Markneukirchen, before it was brought to the station, with its Markneukirchen invoice, ditto for Klingenthal, and wherever else.

Bearing all of that in mind, I defy anyone to tell me which one is Markneukirchen, which one Klingenthal or Schönbach, never mind from Bad Brambach or even Zwota (or some 20 other villages). A bit like a tea leaf reading degree, from an American university.

Thank you, as always.  :)  So you don't believe that traditional traits and methods persisted longer in the villages than they did in the actual factories of the more industrialized city?

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