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FoxMitchell

C S Violin Maker?

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Hey folks! My first post here!  :)

I got a violin from a friend in Germany that I'm trying to find out about its origins, who the maker might be, all that stuff, but I have very little to go by, since it's unlabeled.

20170419_182912_560.jpg

 

Inside, I found a big 'S' branded on the upper block, and what seems to be the letters 'C S' branded on the top plate and the bass bar. The corner blocks are flush with the ribs and the linings go over them instead of into them.

20170419_184001_560.jpg   20170421_225312_560.jpg

 

On the back, south of the bass F-hole, I found some pencil scribbles that read "C.S.- = 2 1936". It has been suggested that might not be the date it was made, but the date it was repaired.

20170419_191622_560.jpg

 

The scroll style seems a lot like I've seen on violins from Schönbach...

20170421_033105%20Aryn's%20Violin%20800.

 

It had some cracks that were repaired sometime in the past, but overall is in good condition. I got it all cleaned up and set up, but still the mystery of where and who made it continues! Has anyone ever seen one like this before?  

20170421_032857%20Aryn's%20Violin%20800.

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What is off-putting about trying to attribute your violin to a particular place, are the linings, that traverse the corner blocks. This is a phenomenon that doesn't correspond to the normally seen Markneukirchen/Schönbach working methods. I have seen it by Hungarian violins (some Italian ones, but you can forget that here), Scotish violins (Smillie), and amateur makers, like McCurdy, and I'm sure other makers that I haven't noticed. On the other hand, some features, like the slight shading on the belly etc. seem charateristic of cheaper Markneukirchen/Schönbach work. Linings that traverse the corner blocks, are an obvious thing to do if you are using an outside mould (I wrote about the various rib manufacture methods here https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/328919-violin-id/&do=findComment&comment=594080 )

and the working methods in Schönbach did change to outside mould, with the demise of the cottage industry and the increasing industrialisation, early 20tjh C. so I suppose it is theoretically possible from this period, although I cannot cite such an instrument.

 

Your violin would seem to have a sound-post crack on the belly, which begs profesional attention, which I could imagine would cost more than it's realistic retail worth, so these thoughts might be of a purely theoretical nature.

 

 

 

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Thank you for the input, Jacob!

It does have some issues, and does have a bunch of cracks, that have been repaired with cleats and all sometime in the past. I had originally said they were 'properly repaired' but after learning that a soundpost crack should have a soundpost patch as part of the repair, I changed it to simply 'repaired'.  ;)  The repairs seem to be holding up for now, though. The monetary value is of little consideration, since this is kind of a 'family heirloom' type of situation where sentimental value outweighs market value.

Although it's a long shot, I would say if you think the linings could be something the Scottish did, that might be a real possibility then too, because the previous owner of the violin did go to England in the late 1930's to escape WWII as it was engulfing continental Europe, and he lived near Edinburgh until about 1950 when he returned to Germany. We don't know if he had the violin at that time but we know he had it in the 50's because of a receipt for rosin bought in 1953 that came in the violin's case, together with old, unused Romana strings (had never heard of them before). Of course it could still be something else entirely.

By 'shading of the belly', do you mean literally shading in the color? It had a lot of rosin caked in; we didn't want to be too aggressive removing it, so some stains remain, but the color is otherwise pretty uniform. I've attached a few higher resolution pictures where it can be seen better (hopefully I did it right  ;) ).

Is it possible to tell what pattern might have been used for the violin (Amati, Strad, Del Gesu, etc) or is that something pictures alone aren't very good for?

Thank you!  

20170421_032857_Aryn's_Violin.jpg

20170421_032957_Aryn's_Violin.jpg

20170421_033016_Aryn's_Violin.jpg

20170421_033029_Aryn's_Violin.jpg

20170421_033105_Aryn's_Violin.jpg

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Thank-you, the new pictures are much better! It still looks to me like a product of the area around Markneukirchen, with just the one possible anomaly (linings). Perhaps I misconstrued the dirt in the centre of the belly and by the corners last time (or not).I would not attach any significance to the whereabouts of any ancestors, since the wholesalers around Markneukirchen supplied the whole world, with a production of about 100,000 + instruments p.a. Romana was always an east German budget string, which I presume one can still purchase, should one wish. Perhaps someone else has an opinion on your fiddle.

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This is interesting that Jacob finds the "linings over the corner blocks" unusual for a Mnk/Sch 20th century construction. I was under the impression that it became fairly standard to do the cheaper rib garlands that way once outside molds became the "norm," which I guess might have been ca. 1920's(?). I have seen countless violins delivered from and labelled by Mnk/Sch houses built that way (I have one at the moment) and many finished, varnished and labelled from other places (like Naples and Sicily for instance) as well. BTW, the one I have is a small viola that was NOS from my father's shop. I decided to bring it with me when I moved to Paris nearly 30 years ago, just to have a viola around. It was bought new wholsale from the old supplier A. Schroetter, and had a "Roderick Paesold" label, which was actually stuck on over a "Stradivari 1717" label. Once I actually started playing some viola from time to time, I realized this ungainly box was not really useable (except as a coffee table, as David Holland likes to say) and tried to offload it, but not even the seediest of auction houses would take it in! I wound up doing an "Italian job" on it, and that's when I realized these cheap things were actually sprayed with automotive lacquer instead of varnish! Stripping it was like re-doing the gas tank of my motor bike!

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Although I am aware that Paesold used an outside mould (I recently posted a video of them using it) I am not aware of them glueing linings across the blocks. That said, I see no reasons why they shouldn't have done so for really cheap VSO's for the parsimonious yanks, although I don't get to see any here.

On the OP violin the rib cage, viewed from outside, does not appear to be made in a mould, with the wonky rib joints and long corners, so that I would rather go with Peters diagnosis, that the inside work is later.

I do my best to avoid the “Italian Job” Milieu, and have no experience with varnishing motor bikes, which I would suggest has no relationship with the OP fiddle anyway.

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None of those violins happened to have a big 'S' stamped on the upper block, did they?  ;)

 

Actually, the better question is: Was it customary for makers to stamp/brand initials on those mass-produced violins?

Also, was it customary for them to be left unlabeled?

Edited by FoxMitchell

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My vote goes in Peter's direction.  Those new pics look very Shoenbach to me and while I have seen a decent amount of 1930's and  later German instruments with the linings over the CB's, I'm thinking Peter nailed it with the Shoen/later CB's lining attribution.  If the repairer did the linings, then I'm assuming that he/she would be the type to "proudly" display their markings.....kind of like my  dog.   

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On ‎29‎/‎04‎/‎2017 at 3:29 AM, hendrik said:

From the way the rib ends look: is this BOB or more likely outside mold construction?

 

 

BOB.

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"Although I am aware that Paesold used an outside mould (I recently posted a video of them using it) I am not aware of them glueing linings across the blocks..."

Here is a photo taken during a 2004 trip to the Paesold factory.  The through-linings are "let" into the existing block.   They were trying this on their better instruments.   They also had continuous linings on most of their cellos but they were not "let" into the blocks.

JB

 

paesold vln.JPG

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Maybe the parts with C S or parts fixed by some one whos initials or C. S. and the date seen is when repair was done ( Not me I am not that old ;) )

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19 hours ago, sospiri said:

Don't you think it's been refurbished? Blocks added, rib mitres cut back?

 

9 hours ago, carl1961 said:

Maybe the parts with C S or parts fixed by some one whos initials or C. S. and the date seen is when repair was done ( Not me I am not that old ;) )

 

It's hard to tell what's original and what was done later, it shows evidence of a lot of work done, and now even more with my own repairs in progress!

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So, bringing this one back up, I had a question for the resident experts if I may.

It has been suggested to me that this violin and the mysterious C.S. letters inside could be from Casper Strnad.

All I could tell from researching on Tarisio's archive was that his scrolls aren't very pretty, he seemed to use wide grained spruce, and the purfling is definitely not like mine, but are there other stylistic elements that could make it probable or dismiss this potential maker?

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I agree with Peter Ratcliff,

On ‎23‎/‎04‎/‎2017 at 2:22 PM, Ratcliffiddles said:

Looks like Schönbach apart from linings and block, which look to me like they could have been replaced

 

from 1920s 30s. A Caspar Strnad from a century or more ealier would be worth a lot of money.

 

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1 hour ago, FoxMitchell said:

So, bringing this one back up, I had a question for the resident experts if I may.

It has been suggested to me that this violin and the mysterious C.S. letters inside could be from Casper Strnad.

All I could tell from researching on Tarisio's archive was that his scrolls aren't very pretty, he seemed to use wide grained spruce, and the purfling is definitely not like mine, but are there other stylistic elements that could make it probable or dismiss this potential maker?

This was suggested by an unknowing person, the same with "scrolls aren't very pretty". You might find much informations about Strad and his working methods in different threads, not too mention two prominent Strnad-owning members;). Just wait.....

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