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fragslap

Someone may have gotten a decent deal...

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...presuming they understood what they bought:

 

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/49447010_circa-1920s-john-juzek-violin-and-2-bows

 

Judging from the scroll, it's not a violin but a 25.5 inch viola with a couple of old bows. Looks to be in decent shape. $120 seems like a pretty reasonable price.

Edited by fragslap

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I don't think so. This is one of the lowest grade Juzeks. It looks like it still has the beveled fingerboard, which is something that's almost always replaced these days, sometimes you can plane it out, so that's a cost that you have to add in plus the other set up needs. The bows don't look useful.

 

Could be a decent student instrument, if your are looking for instruments for schools it might be an OK buy, but not a great one. After all is in you could probably have gotten a better Chinese instrument for your dollars.

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Maybe you could get 40-50 for the bows on Ebay, get a chunk of your money back, but by the looks of it I probably wouldn't bother with them even to donate to a school. Maybe the top one could be rehaired and used, but I suspect it will be bent.

 

I've seen a lot of Juzek violas, they usually aren't very good sounding and can be frustrating to play, even the higher grade and larger ones. Even in good condition this will need more $$$ to get playable. There's are good reasons why this lot only sold for 120, it wasn't a lucky break.

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Hey, I do repairs for a few schools, we aren't all doing just the finest repairs.  I'd say that after the fingerboard issue was taken care of this should prove serviceable for some of the students.   I'll forward any donations!   :lol:

 

Actually I'm guilty of paying a good bit more for a Juzek violin, which ended up needing a neck reset.  Egg on face!   :rolleyes:

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Can't actually see if this has a Romberg flat or not, but I don't tend to replace these on small violas, nor would I say "they have to be replaced" as a matter of course.

I'm no fan of the "Juzek" name, but condition looks good, the pegs don't need bushing, what's not to like for $120?

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Again...why isn't this firewood?  <_<

 

For comparison, my Made in Czechoslovakia VSO...was purchased for $50 in 1973...and was valued at around $250 in 1993.  

 

I think it may have been overvalued however... ^_^

 

But who knows!  Maybe it's worth all of $500 by now!

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Can't actually see if this has a Romberg flat or not, but I don't tend to replace these on small violas, nor would I say "they have to be replaced" as a matter of course.

I'm no fan of the "Juzek" name, but condition looks good, the pegs don't need bushing, what's not to like for $120?

I'm coming at this from the perspective that this instrument only has value for a beginning student. I would buy an instrument like this  just to donate it to a school. The teachers I know dont want Romberg flats, they just wont issue it to a student, even in places where they are hurting for instruments there are still other choices. Maybe its different in other parts of the world. Once this is fixed and all else is set up, you will have enough money into it that you could have purchased a better playing Chinese viola.

 

Maybe I have it in for Juzeks. I come from a part of the country where string programs were discontinued from public schools in the 1960s. The basements and closets of these schools were chock full of Juzeks just like the OP's. They were just dogs to play. My first viola experience was one of these, eventually I got enough money to go down to Bill Weaver's shop and my world changed....

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I can't comment on the instrument in question.  I have never paid any attention to Juzek's but just wanted to relate my recent experience.  I had a mandolin/guitar/ playing friend who asked me and a friend from the local full time symphony to play some of his four fiddles he was thinking of selling (he picks them up at pawn shops/antique sales etc).  The least valuable of them was a Juzek with a common label not dated likely from the 1920-1940 period.  Nice top wood, average back, crude scroll.  However it sounded really good, better than the other three much more valuable instruments and even better than a couple of professional instruments including mine we had brought along.  I quickly put in to try it for a week or so and subsequent trials in symphony concert halls showed that it had both a rich but attractively dark sound but also considerable projection both on the top and bottom, quick response, and the ability to play softly but still be heard. It has a weird tailpiece with four tuners but I am loathe to mess with it.    Nothing canine in the least and now I'm thinking of selling my 50K plus fiddle.

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I know folks are tired of hearing about Juzeks, but they are pretty prevalent here in the US, especially around the NYC area where they were purchased on contract for the public school system as has been noted previously.  I confess to have picked up 4 Juzek violins and 2 15-1/2" violas recently, in a no-cash trade.  and I must say that the three older instruments (pre Germany) used some fabulous wood.  the maple has a tight pronounced flame, and the spruce is even and narrow grained.  Just over 1mm per ring.

I know we're talking about school instruments here, and I don't expect them to be stellar, it will give me some good material to practice restoration skills and touch-up techniques, without having to worry that much about botching anything up.  Can't look a gift horse in the mouth!

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