Need help identifying age and country of nice old violin


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Hello everyone,

 

I have acquired a lovely sounding old violin.  Apparently the instrument had been stored in pieces over the past 50 years or so before finally receiving some tender loving care a few months ago. (part of the f hole had been eaten by a hungry mouse, some table cracks but not serious, loss of varnish to top left side of table.) Back is in good condition with no sound post cracks etc. 

 

Anyway, I believe the instrument could be from around mid-1700s. Based on a Stainer model. Has a label dated 1660 but not pinning my hopes on that. 

 

The tone seems to have a bit of everything, rich deep sound on lower strings (viola like it played with a heavy arm) and pure sounding upper strings..So I reckon potentially lots of colours to be had from the instrument (with the right playing).

Given the violin hasn’t been played in over 50 years I would imagine it would need some time to ‘wake up’. It's already a joy to play and projection is very good, which confuses me as I though fuller arched models did not have as much power and projection as the flatter arched models. 

 

Would be very grateful for any clues as to the region and even possible maker.. (wishful thinking)

 

I like to think the violin lived a fruity life over the centuries and is now ready for more action.

 

Thanks,

 

 

IMG_0107.JPGIMG_0108.JPGIMG_0109.JPGIMG_0110.JPGIMG_0111.JPGIMG_0123.JPGIMG_0124.JPGIMG_0134.JPGIMG_0236.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi

How recently was the mouse-enlarged f-hole repaired? It looks like a very neat job, not the sort of thing people do these days on just any old violin ...

I like the look of the instrument but I have to admit I get pretty confused between English and Saxon instruments of this period (which I take to be circa 1800). It's all the more difficult in this case since there's a lot of over-varnishing.

I wonder where you get the idea that full arching is incompatible with power and projection? I suppose this is true if you're a jet-setting soloist and need to be heard above a full orchestra, but the needs of a concerto soloist should not be the general measure for acceptable violin tone. There are many fine early 18th century Italian instruments which are full in the arch, and plenty of serious professionals using them. 

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Hi

How recently was the mouse-enlarged f-hole repaired? It looks like a very neat job, not the sort of thing people do these days on just any old violin ...

I like the look of the instrument but I have to admit I get pretty confused between English and Saxon instruments of this period (which I take to be circa 1800). It's all the more difficult in this case since there's a lot of over-varnishing.

I wonder where you get the idea that full arching is incompatible with power and projection? I suppose this is true if you're a jet-setting soloist and need to be heard above a full orchestra, but the needs of a concerto soloist should not be the general measure for acceptable violin tone. There are many fine early 18th century Italian instruments which are full in the arch, and plenty of serious professionals using them. 

 

 

Thanks for the look in. I guess the glossy over varnish makes it hard to see the overall grain and texture. 

 

The f-hole was repaired this year along with new bass bar and fingerboard.

The left f hole from the outer nick down to the lower wing had been chewed off.

I also noticed that the back while two piece has an additional slice of wood on the lower bottom right bout. My guess is the maker did not want to waste a good piece of tonewood as it doesn’t look like a previous repair job. 

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OK I thought there was a much bigger repair involving new wood below the bass f-hole - there seem to be some rather suspicious diagonal lines ...

I suppose originally the violin would have looked a bit more like this?

attachicon.gifIMG_2621front.jpg

Thanks for sharing a similar looking violin for comparison.

Yes, the only piece of new wood is the small repair to the left f hole. The rest are minor crack repairs to the table. 

I just found out the violin was shown to Rampal (I previously thought it was Eric Blot but my friend corrected me yesterday) during a recent visit to Tokyo, who gave an estimated date of around 1720-50 based on his observations of the wood.

It would be nice to find out who actually made it but I guess I’ll settle for an unknown maker from Fussen ..mid to late 18th century. 

Edited by sftokyo2016
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To my beginner, untrained eye I see a few similarities... pegbox shape, varnish color, a few spots in the wood grain seem similar, and of course let's not forget the obvious similarity that is is also a violin  :P  Just trying to build my knowledge by comparing what I can here online and in person, and reading what others say.  Following this thread.  

Message to the OP: I know nothing of what I speak... erm, type!  Just sharing a thread with an discussion on instruments you might find useful or interesting that was helpful to me.  I see you, too, are a new member.   :D   

Fat-looking 18th. Century south-German Stainer-derived violins often sound very good in a small venue, and are not terribly hard to find.  While Mittenwalder fiddles for the era can usually be sorted out, at least to the shop/family involved (the type is readily identifiable and a voluminous literature is available), there were so many made elsewhere that look vaguely similar but differ in important details, that, for most of us here, tracing them simply to an area usually is an accomplishment   :)

 

Congratulations on getting Jacob's attention.  He is our premier expert on these matters, and our much respected "Wise Old Owl".  Just don't approach the tree he roosts in very closely.  While he doesn't bite, what he does do when annoyed with an erring student doesn't always wash off very readily. He'll probably let fly at me presently. [Raises her much-spattered umbrella and runs for cover]  :lol:  ;)

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OK I thought there was a much bigger repair involving new wood below the bass f-hole - there seem to be some rather suspicious diagonal lines ...

I suppose originally the violin would have looked a bit more like this?

attachicon.gifIMG_2621front.jpg

 

Hi Martin, 

Just wondering whether the valuation of the type of violin you posted falls within the 5-10k pounds price range? If so would this the rough ball park for my violin too..Difficult to assess by photos alone...the pricing of similar instruments in Tokyo is quite optimistic in comparison to Europe.

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A bit off-topic, but I'm curious about the orientation of the figure on the back of this violin.  How is it that one side of the back has a rising flame direction, while the other slopes downward?  It's as though it was a one-piece back in that sense.  If the back is bookmatched, then both sides should slope up or down, right?  Did the maker flip one side over?  My violin has the same configuration, also made by a maker of Füssen heritage (though trained in Vienna, it seems)...

 

post-55808-0-42752600-1479273169_thumb.jpg

 

Is it one of those random things ("pay no attention to the direction of the figure in this maple") or does it have some significance?

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To my beginner, untrained eye I see a few similarities... pegbox shape, varnish color, a few spots in the wood grain seem similar, and of course let's not forget the obvious similarity that is is also a violin  :P  Just trying to build my knowledge by comparing what I can here online and in person, and reading what others say.  Following this thread.  

Message to the OP: I know nothing of what I speak... erm, type!  Just sharing a thread with an discussion on instruments you might find useful or interesting that was helpful to me.  I see you, too, are a new member.   :D   

Thank you for sharing your experiences as well. I am indeed new to this forum. So Yoroshiku onegaishimasu, as they say in Japan.

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A bit off-topic, but I'm curious about the orientation of the figure on the back of this violin.  How is it that one side of the back has a rising flame direction, while the other slopes downward?  It's as though it was a one-piece back in that sense.  If the back is bookmatched, then both sides should slope up or down, right?  Did the maker flip one side over?  My violin has the same configuration, also made by a maker of Füssen heritage (though trained in Vienna, it seems)...

 

attachicon.gifFichtlBack.JPG

 

Is it one of those random things ("pay no attention to the direction of the figure in this maple") or does it have some significance?

Interesting. I didn’t notice the flame direction. But now that you mentioned It does seem rather at odds to what I usually come across. I wonder whether this was a quirk of regional maker(s) aimed at particular acoustic results? Or just using what was available at the time. I quite like it though. I actually like the asymmetrical features on this violin, especially the f-holes. 

I love the look of your violin as well. How would you describe the tonal qualities of your instrument..if one is able to put it into words?

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A bit off-topic, but I'm curious about the orientation of the figure on the back of this violin.  How is it that one side of the back has a rising flame direction, while the other slopes downward?  It's as though it was a one-piece back in that sense.  If the back is bookmatched, then both sides should slope up or down, right?  Did the maker flip one side over?  My violin has the same configuration, also made by a maker of Füssen heritage (though trained in Vienna, it seems)...

 

attachicon.gifFichtlBack.JPG

 

Is it one of those random things ("pay no attention to the direction of the figure in this maple") or does it have some significance?

This is one of these phenomena that, once you have noticed once, you will be damned to notice hundreds of times! You can see this on many 17th & 18th C old masters, both Italian (Stainer often) and all those Füssen inspired ones.

The thought is similar to having a split belly, where the fibres are in exactly the same trajectory on both haves. If you have one that isn't “split” or is “off Split”, the wood fibres will be in a different (opposite) trajectory on each half of your plate. If, instead of “bookmatching” (I have always found that to be a curious term), you turn one half of the plate upside down before jointing, you will have a plate where both halves have the wood fibres lying in the same trajectory. That is how my father taught me to join plates anyway, and his reason, and I guess Stainer and his mates could have had a similar train of thought

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...the pricing of similar instruments in Tokyo is quite optimistic in comparison to Europe.

And the prices of some archetypically Japanese items are lower in their native land.  Supply, demand, and the "exotic" factor, one feels.  Thank God for the Internet and Paypal.............  :lol:

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