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WoodwindFiddler

Help identifying a violin and bow

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Hi all!

My name is Alex, I'm an European pro clarinetist (and an avid amateur fiddler!) working in NY. I play classical music as a job with the clarinet but I always wanted to play violin, so a few years ago I just bought a cheapo violin in a pawn shop and began teaching myself (with the constant help of some of the colleagues in my orchestra) in order to play bluegrass (I super like that music!).

First, thank you so much for this forum, I've spent so many hours reading you... I love it.

Ok, let me go directly to the point of the question: Two years ago I found this violin in a garage sale in a farm in rural WA and bought it, I just like a lot the wood. For whatever reason that I can't fully explain, I really like this violin; I'm curious about its origins. any opinions would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you so much again!!

 

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Well, it's not a Markie.  I'm not sure what it is, but would incline towards something or other South German, and fairly old.  It looks a little peculiar for Mittenwald, though.  :huh:

I like the edelweiss on the bow frog. :)

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Hi!

Thank you so much for your reply. Yep, it's not a Markie, but for some reason I can't explain, I really really like to play this violin; in fact, I practice more hours with the violin than with the clarinet now, this summer I had a lot of days of 7 hours of violin practice with that thing (with the clarinet I just practice 2 hours a day).

Thanks!   

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2 hours ago, Violadamore said:

Well, it's not a Markie.  I'm not sure what it is, but would incline towards something or other South German, and fairly old.  It looks a little peculiar for Mittenwald, though.  :huh:

I like the edelweiss on the bow frog. :)

If you've done your homework, you would know that a Mittenwald scroll has front flutings to the bitter end, which ain't the case here. Featuring the same varnish, the grafted scroll seems to be original to the rest, though it is obviously bought in from the Mnk/Schb trade. The body looks very similar to british (or american?) autodidactic made fiddles, probably using an inside mould, maybe from the late 19th/early 20th century period. The belly wood appears to be of a different wood, not the usual spruce, but maybe that's an optical effect of the opaque varnish only.

Same the bow frog decoration isn't similar to an Edelweiss, which features very pointed petals, I would call it rather a Gänseblümchen;). These decorated frogs were also produced in the Markneukirchen cottage industry workshops and can be found at cheap trade bows as well as at more decent. Here the stick looks like made from good pernambuco wood with a neatly carved head, some sort of better nickel mounted "School of Knopf".

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I don't think this kind of fiddle travels very far.

So, given the statistical probability that it's a rustic American fiddle, and the fact that it looks like one, I would say it probably is one!

It's a nice thing to have, lots of character, and lovely wood as you say.

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Agree with Martin - this looks like a whittled American fiddle with a commercial Markie scroll grafted on. It wasn't unusual for even some better American makers to occasionally use commercial necks and scrolls on their violins.

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2 hours ago, martin swan said:

I don't think this kind of fiddle travels very far.

So, given the statistical probability that it's a rustic American fiddle, and the fact that it looks like one, I would say it probably is one!

It's a nice thing to have, lots of character, and lovely wood as you say.

I won't pay too much attention to statistics only, and even if some fiddles don't travel, people do, and especially North America is inhibited by immigrants. The model, the way the ff are cut and how  the purfling is "up" on the edges reminds me of some english midland violins I have or have seen at a particular website^_^. Going into speculations, the maker could be an immigrated Brit. Interesting would be to know more about the belly wood, if it's of american origin (some sort of cedar?). This could prove more than statistics.

BTW, the bow could be at least more valuable than the violin.

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7 hours ago, Blank face said:

If you've done your homework, you would know that a Mittenwald scroll has front flutings to the bitter end, which ain't the case here. Featuring the same varnish, the grafted scroll seems to be original to the rest, though it is obviously bought in from the Mnk/Schb trade. The body looks very similar to british (or american?) autodidactic made fiddles, probably using an inside mould, maybe from the late 19th/early 20th century period. The belly wood appears to be of a different wood, not the usual spruce, but maybe that's an optical effect of the opaque varnish only.

Same the bow frog decoration isn't similar to an Edelweiss, which features very pointed petals, I would call it rather a Gänseblümchen;). These decorated frogs were also produced in the Markneukirchen cottage industry workshops and can be found at cheap trade bows as well as at more decent. Here the stick looks like made from good pernambuco wood with a neatly carved head, some sort of better nickel mounted "School of Knopf".

What-ever. :P

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Not Mittenwald, but not stopped-dead-at-6 o'clock, either.  My intention was to rule out Dutzendarbeit, not carve a possible school into stone.   The fiddle could well have been carved by a German immigrant to the US, IMHO.

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3 hours ago, Blank face said:

 and especially North America is inhibited by immigrants.

BTW, the bow could be at least more valuable than the violin.

How Trumpian of you...I am sure that it is a typo. 

 

Actually, the body remionds me of something inspired by Heron-Allen's book.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Blank face said:

North America is inhibited by immigrants.

 

28 minutes ago, duane88 said:

How Trumpian of you...I am sure that it is a typo.

I dunno, there's some Native Americans who might agree with him. :lol:

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3 hours ago, Blank face said:

I won't pay too much attention to statistics only, and even if some fiddles don't travel, people do, and especially North America is inhibited by immigrants.

I'm one of those first generation immigrants, in love completely with this country and culture. :):)

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Hi!

Thank you so so much for all your replies!! ufff, now I'm more curious about this fiddle, it was used for years and years in a small barn, conditioned for dancing. I really like the idea that this fiddle was used for years exactly for what was carved; I plan to continue with it that same legacy.B)   

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1 hour ago, duane88 said:

How Trumpian of you...I am sure that it is a typo.

I've heard recently, that the actual president's grandfather, trying to re-immigrate in his home country Pfalz/Germany, was pushed out as an "american citizen without right of residence".

But without any sarcasm or political agenda, I was speaking only about possible violin making immigrants from Europe, for instance the english midlands in the early 20th century, who could have made this or other folk fiddles. No further implications intended.^_^

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23 hours ago, carl1961 said:

WoodwindFiddler, Looks quite old, how does it sound, if it could only talk you might learn where it's been LOL

Hi!

It's not a loud fiddle, a little bit muted (bad setting? no idea), the G and D have a nice color but A and E are not very bright. 

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15 hours ago, WoodwindFiddler said:

Hi!

It's not a loud fiddle, a little bit muted (bad setting? no idea), the G and D have a nice color but A and E are not very bright. 

I would get a good brand name brand Bridge , yours might be a little thick (to soft of maple and too thick acts like a mute and your sound post might be to far toward the bass side and too far behind the bridge (sign is weaker low strings), I cut a business card 3/4 across and use it to see where the bride is I have a 100 year old one and the old sound post was real brittle so I made a new one with grains showing about  12 rings, changing the sound post and bridge help the old fiddle a lot. this old post By David Beard has a lot of good info in them. David's  advice about "Following Gerald Botteley's advice from the Courtnall & Johnson book" it great advice I have that book and that article at the end of the book really opens your eyes and ears up to the effects of the bridge and sound post  I made a pdf copy to save in my violin folder

 

Tonal_Adjustments_in_Setup_-_The_Pegbox_-_Maestronet_Forums_Tonal_Adjustments_in_Setup_-_The_Pegbox_-_Maestronet_Forums.pdf

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8 hours ago, carl1961 said:

I would get a good brand name brand Bridge , yours might be a little thick (to soft of maple and too thick acts like a mute and your sound post might be to far toward the bass side and too far behind the bridge (sign is weaker low strings), I cut a business card 3/4 across and use it to see where the bride is I have a 100 year old one and the old sound post was real brittle so I made a new one with grains showing about  12 rings, changing the sound post and bridge help the old fiddle a lot. this old post By David Beard has a lot of good info in them. David's  advice about "Following Gerald Botteley's advice from the Courtnall & Johnson book" it great advice I have that book and that article at the end of the book really opens your eyes and ears up to the effects of the bridge and sound post  I made a pdf copy to save in my violin folder

 

Tonal_Adjustments_in_Setup_-_The_Pegbox_-_Maestronet_Forums_Tonal_Adjustments_in_Setup_-_The_Pegbox_-_Maestronet_Forums.pdf

Wow, wow! priceless info! Thank you a million!! yesterday I also realized that the bridge was 0.5 cm misplaced, so now I suppose that the soundpost also needs to be rearranged. I'll take good note of your points and the ones in that topic. Thank you again!!

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