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epe913

Seeking Thoughts on origins, details, and value of old violin

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No longer relevant.  This thread keeps getting mentioned out of context in other threads.  Out of respect, I was going to take it down, but MN must not allow deleting old threads that one starts.  So I am going to delete my comments.  Thanks, everyone for your help and insight!   :)  

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As often reported, a violin has two aspects, one is the use for a musician as a piece of sports equipment, the other is the monetary value according to it's historical environment.

 

The second in this case, as an overworked piece from the 19th century saxon/bohemian mass production, like you were told in the other thread, is more in the lower 3 figure area, regardless it's properties from the first aspect.

 

BTW, Hannover has some interesting historical and cultural places, although you might get bored of this town within some days. Those Ebay individuum, selling under 1 001 different accounts worthless junk as "old italian" isn't representative for it's kind inhabitants. B) (I was born and raised there).

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I could be talking bs, though,

I am quite sure that you aren't talking bs., out of the question.

If you have fallen for a fake advertisement trick or not would be a different subject

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Oh I do not claim to be immune. I am still trying to justify MY eBay purchase.... :lol:

I never bother with that.  I just fix 'em, play 'em, and sell 'em.   :)

 

I will, however, note that the best time for buyer's remorse is before you bid.  :lol:

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Every time I think I have it all figured out (for myself)...I meet someone who reminds me that my reality isn't their reality.  ^_^

 

I now have it in my head that $10,000 - while certainly a lot of money, is NOT a lot of money for a violin.  And at that price range you are still in a bit of a netherworld - you might be paying for provenance, but really, not all that much.  You are not paying for sound quality, although you might luck out and get it.  Actually, I'm not sure who is buying instruments in this price range...(antique instruments, not new ones).

 

While chatting with a violist, I mentioned this and he looked at me incredulously.  In his opinion you should pay as little as possible to get the best 'tool' for playing that you can.  No price point was mentioned, but it was obviously well below $10,000.  I totally agree with him.  If you are not collecting - than that is probably what you should do.

 

Then it comes to collecting.  A local resident recently passed away - and left his collection of some 300 eBay violins behind.  I can see buying an eBay violin out of interest, or to restore ...but 300? Why?  Apparently most were Chinese - and not the good ones.  All needed work.  So this person was collecting violins - but there was no apparent purpose to the collecting.  Maybe he just bid for the fun of the hunt, or maybe was enveloped in that pervasive myth that ALL violins will appreciate in value - and potentially become the next Strad...

 

Each to his/her own of course.  I find it all totally fascinating. 

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Not as elegant, I assume you mean. I see... Lots to learn!

 

Yes, but it just doesn't look anything like Dom.  But Dom is not nearly as elegant, IMO, as the most noted Nicolo who defines elegance.

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"You are not paying for sound quality, although you might luck out and get it."

Unfortunately and fortunately there are diamonds and turds at every price point sound wise.

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Don't get a new bridge or post if you love the sound. It will be different than it is now and there's a chance you won't like it.

When somebody comes in looking for a new bridge on a special sounding old instrument I always try to talk them out of it, sometimes they insist and aren't happy with the results. If it plays and sounds decent just play it and enjoy it as is.

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Every time I think I have it all figured out (for myself)...I meet someone who reminds me that my reality isn't their reality.  ^_^

 

I now have it in my head that $10,000 - while certainly a lot of money, is NOT a lot of money for a violin.  And at that price range you are still in a bit of a netherworld - you might be paying for provenance, but really, not all that much.  You are not paying for sound quality, although you might luck out and get it.  Actually, I'm not sure who is buying instruments in this price range...(antique instruments, not new ones).

 

While chatting with a violist, I mentioned this and he looked at me incredulously.  In his opinion you should pay as little as possible to get the best 'tool' for playing that you can.  No price point was mentioned, but it was obviously well below $10,000.  I totally agree with him.  If you are not collecting - than that is probably what you should do.

 

Then it comes to collecting.  A local resident recently passed away - and left his collection of some 300 eBay violins behind.  I can see buying an eBay violin out of interest, or to restore ...but 300? Why?  Apparently most were Chinese - and not the good ones.  All needed work.  So this person was collecting violins - but there was no apparent purpose to the collecting.  Maybe he just bid for the fun of the hunt, or maybe was enveloped in that pervasive myth that ALL violins will appreciate in value - and potentially become the next Strad...

 

Each to his/her own of course.  I find it all totally fascinating. 

I already addressed the case of the 300 violins in another thread.  Short version:  some lonely dementia sufferer had access to eBay, QVC, HSN, etc. and a bank account, while no one who should have gave a damn. Don't let this happen to your parents or grandparents  :(  :angry:

 

Prefacing the whole rant to follow with "IMHO", the following are some of my considered views on buying violins.  Note that none of this applies to absolutely unplayable VSO's, which are a separate issue of industry ethics.

 

  • Violin utility values and selling prices are utterly disjoint sets.  Don't waste time trying to figure it out unless it's your livelihood.  Go with your ears, hands, skills, and budget, and you probably won't go wrong.
  • 90+% of what comes out of your violin is what you put into it as a player.
  • Unless you are a classically-trained conservatory grad who is currently working as a soloist, or in an orchestra, you couldn't do justice to a "golden-age Cremonese" if you had one.  They are difficult-to-control but highly versatile specialist virtuoso performance platforms in the same class as racing cars, cup yachts, or fighter jets.  Drive your minivan or whatever, sail your Morgan, fly your Cessna, or play your Markie, Mittenwalder, etc. as well as you can and be content.  They really are the real thing, but at a level you can handle without devoting your entire life to it and spending a second fortune in upkeep.  If you can't already play all the violin works of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, the "French Impressionists", Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, and Sibelius (and interpret all the funny little symbols into their proper sounds) well enough to win a professional audition, blow your lottery winnings somewhere else.
  • If you are working in non-classical music, you don't want one either.  Next time your friend who went to Julliard while you went into bar gigs hits town, put a couple of drinks into them and BS them into letting you try their Cremonivarius.  Once your ears and fingers have told you the worst, return to your friendly old fiddle with relief, and go buy it a new amplifier.
  • The corollary of the last two propositions is to ignore any claims of "Old Italian" whatsoever.  You're only attracted to it because you want one like your favorite classical soloist has, but even if it really was one, you don't need it, you can't use it effectively, it's probably BS anyway, so why pay for it?
  • Learn a good deal of luthiery, get equipped, and do your own maintenance.  You won't make a fortune, but you'll save one.  You'll be able to take advantage of more possible bargains, and not have to drive across the country and pay top dollar to have a properly installed bridge, pegs, soundpost, or other parts.  You'll also feel superior to all the little snowflakes lined up outside Chisel, Gouge, & Ream waiting to have their wallets planed.
  • Learn to recognize a few common schools/makes, and only shop for them.
  • Study and use MN as a resource as religiously as an evangelist does their Bible.  It's priceless.

:)  ^_^  :lol:

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I already addressed the case of the 300 violins in anther thread. Short version: some lonely dementia sufferer had access to eBay, QVC, HSN, etc. and a bank account, while no one who should have gave a damn. Don't let this happen to your parents or grandparents :(:angry:

...

...and an excellent job you did! :)

I was just using it as an example of the different planes of reality that...even between those sharing like interests...we exist on...

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Prefacing the whole rant to follow with "IMHO", the following are some of my considered views on buying violins.

You should title your list “How to fill my garage with driftwood and die destitute with children who hate me” or something similar.

Something important to add to it would be to become almost pathologically suspicious. In the current thread, and the other one that goes with it http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/335886-unique-purfling-on-labeled-nicolaus-amati-violin/?p=740426

the question to ask yourself would be if the OP, epe913, isn't actually in real life the ebay gangster from Hanover himself, pretending to be some dumb blond gullible American “individual”, praising his violins, who is trying to lure equally dim Maestroneters to visit his ebay shop and buy some similar gargoyle.

The 300 Ebay violin estate is a nightmare for someone like me, who gets dragged along, some 6 months after the bereavement to appraise them all, when required in a house smelling of cat piss, with several quarrelling heirs (occasionally accompanied by their solicitor!) who think they have inherited a fortune.

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You should title your list “How to fill my garage with driftwood and die destitute with children who hate me” or something similar.

.

I'll bend the grammar slightly, but, as Uhura replied when Sulu addressed her as "Fair maiden" (in the Star Trek episode "Amok Time"), "Neither!"  :P

 

You obviously didn't read my list too closely, either.  I was telling people how to save money.

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Ok. lost cause

So, you feel that prices track sound quality, violin sound is independent of player ability, that any duffer can handle a Strad or GDG, that a honeyed sound is always best for Trad, Folk, Rock, Jazz, etc., that "Old Italian" means anything positive for average buyers, that luthiery is a useless study for violin owners, buyers shouldn't know what they are looking at, and MN is worthless?  How delightful.  Have you considered a career in American politics, like Schwartzenegger?  :lol:

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So, you feel that prices track sound quality, violin sound is independent of player ability

I think there is one other contributor to the price of a violin that you have not mentioned, and that is a violin with the right name will enable a soloists to draw a larger crowd. Whether it sounds better or not, may well be debatable, but whether a Strad will draw a larger crowd than a Yamaha is not debatable - at least IMHO :)

 

EDIT: You may substitute "audience" for crowd.

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Oooh, it's you I had in mind... From that thread a few weeks ago. :)

Ha, I'm who I had in mind as well! I get stuff like this on a weekly basis, but it only winds up on forums every now and then.

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I think there is one other contributor to the price of a violin that you have not mentioned, and that is a violin with the right name will enable a soloists to draw a larger crowd. Whether it sounds better or not, may well be debatable, but whether a Strad will draw a larger crowd than a Yamaha is not debatable - at least IMHO :)

 

EDIT: You may substitute "audience" for crowd.

My long, bulleted screed was designed for the MNetter who is not a classical professional, and is looking for a modestly priced but tonally acceptable violin for non-classical or pleasure use.  That the top rank classical professional requires a "Golden Cremonese" is implied in how I stated things.  Actually, a more modern violin of similar capabilities (and nearly the price) will suffice for most classical pros.  The use of the violin as a status symbol and political weapon in competition for jobs, I did not address, as it simply doesn't apply to most of us.  My point was that advertising claims of "Old Italian" (which are popular eBay seller weasel words) should be utterly ignored by anyone but a classical pro.  BTW, last time I checked, they don't shop violins on eBay.  ;)

 

The post you cited is simply a rhetorical stick to beat Jacob with, for being too lazy to debate my previous post point-by-point.  :lol:

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My long, bulleted screed was designed for the MNetter who is not a classical professional, and is looking for a modestly priced but tonally acceptable violin for non-classical or pleasure use.  That the top rank classical professional requires a "Golden Cremonese" is implied in how I stated things.  Actually, a more modern violin of similar capabilities (and nearly the price) will suffice for most classical pros.  The use of the violin as a status symbol and political weapon in competition for jobs, I did not address, as it simply doesn't apply to most of us.  My point was that advertising claims of "Old Italian" (which are popular eBay seller weasel words) should be utterly ignored by anyone but a classical pro.  BTW, last time I checked, they don't shop violins on eBay.  ;)

 

The post you cited is simply a rhetorical stick to beat Jacob with, for being too lazy to debate my previous post point-by-point.  :lol:

 

:)

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You should title your list “How to fill my garage with driftwood and die destitute with children who hate me” or something similar.

Something important to add to it would be to become almost pathologically suspicious. In the current thread, and the other one that goes with it http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/335886-unique-purfling-on-labeled-nicolaus-amati-violin/?p=740426

the question to ask yourself would be if the OP, epe913, isn't actually in real life the ebay gangster from Hanover himself, pretending to be some dumb blond gullible American “individual”, praising his violins, who is trying to lure equally dim Maestroneters to visit his ebay shop and buy some similar gargoyle.

The 300 Ebay violin estate is a nightmare for someone like me, who gets dragged along, some 6 months after the bereavement to appraise them all, when required in a house smelling of cat piss, with several quarrelling heirs (occasionally accompanied by their solicitor!) who think they have inherited a fortune.

 

Had a smaller scale "grand" experience this afternoon.  Photos of a number of "Italian Treasures" that were sure to pay for the surviving family members life in Tahiti for years to come.  I'm sure my responses to the photos prompted the heirs to hang my photo over the dart board.

 

I admit to smiling as I thought of the "nice round number" that the load was actually worth.  Thank you for that.

 

I have no problem with those who like fixing' up stuff as a hobby.  I can think of worse things to do with one's time. The train-wreck seems to occur when commerce enters the picture. Honestly, most of the things I see flogged around were available by the box-full 20 years ago as "spare parts".  Now they're individually offered on the net with a full compliment of color photos accompanied by a made-up biography of the previous owner.

 

I think, Jacob, that it's been proven that many who use the garage sale of Ebay as a supply source simply won't fully understand the points we often are trying to communicate.  It might help if they listed the 300 instruments purchased on the internet in their estate plan as "firewood or grammar school orchestra donations", but it might be too much to take for granted that the heirs would bother actually reading the paperwork.   :)

 

A friend, and very fine restorer called me a couple years ago after meeting with an elderly couple who thought they owned a Stainer.  They drove from a number of states away to see him.  It was a beat up balloon shaped thing, devoid of corner blocks.  He was very kind and took the time to try and explain that it wan't authentic and why.  Problem is, the husband was kind of deaf... so he didn't absorb much of the information my friend spent 20 minutes kindly offering.  He looked at his wife and said "what did he say?"  The wife shouted back "He said it's a piece of crap!"  

 

Carry on all..  just one of my more snarky moments!

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