FoxMitchell

"Vuillaume a Paris" Violin ID?

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So I got one of those "Vuillaume a Paris" violins! Time to see if I learned anything from Cornerblockology and all that.  :)

It has no corner blocks, and was likely built-on-back, and the fluting on the scroll stops at 6 o'clock, so I'm thinking Schönbach? Or were these Vuillaume copies made in more than one place?

This one is interesting among old fiddles because its history is actually known: It was given by a farmer here in Virginia, in the late 1800's, to the son of a freed slave who was that farmer's son's best friend, a rather controversial friendship at the time (they remained friends for life)! It stayed with that one owner to the  end where he lived in the farm (and he was said to be a good fiddler), which is still owned by the same family, and it was recently re-discovered by the great-great-granddaughter of the farmer. ...and now I have it.

 

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Surprisingly, there were no cracks or open seams, so I was able to set it up with the original bridge and try it out. Unfortunately while it isn't without its Southern charm the sound  makes me think of a recording played through a gramophone.

I suspect it's been repaired before, and the white globs of mysterious stuff inside worry me because that's not hide glue.

The button has been broken and glued back in place, and there are two tiny nails into the neck block on the bass side but I can't make out a purpose for someone to put them there.

Also, it's not a full size, it's a 7/8, or is it 3/4? The back measures 33.6cm and overall it's 55.7cm.

Anybody has any info on these "Vuillaumes"?

Thank you!  :)

 

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Never seen this label before, but yes this is a pretty low grade Schoenbach violin.

I would class it as a 3/4.

This isn't a Vuillaume copy, merely a violin with an extraneous "Vuillaume" label.

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35 minutes ago, FoxMitchell said:

 

Surprisingly, there were no cracks or open seams, so I was able to set it up with the original bridge and try it out. Unfortunately while it isn't without its Southern charm the sound  makes me think of a recording played through a gramophone.

 

If you forgot the soundpost, it's no wonder that it sounds like a brass coneB) - or it's due to the smaller size, that it's lacking some bass register.

BTW, nice background story, thanks for telling.

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15 minutes ago, Blank face said:

If you forgot the soundpost, it's no wonder that it sounds like a brass coneB) - or it's due to the smaller size, that it's lacking some bass register.

BTW, nice background story, thanks for telling.

Hehe no, the soundpost was in there, though I don't know if I put it in the right place given this is a smaller size. Where should the soundpost go in a 3/4 size?

But yes, the story is the best thing about this violin.

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Put it just at the usual place, flush with the edge of the bridge foot and roughly "table thickness" distance, as starting point.

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12 hours ago, FoxMitchell said:

Question, what should be the neck angle and fingerboard projection on a 3/4?

If you proportionally scale down a violin, angles stay the same. That may or may not apply perfectly, but will be pretty close.

Projection comes down by 2 mm to 25 mm in Strobels measurements.

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The fiddle on its own legs has little interest. When you add the story of the two men and their friendship, that changes everything. The fiddle and the story should be preserved. Thanks for sharing.

 

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11 minutes ago, FoxMitchell said:

Time to open this one and see what's under the hood!

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Are we still going with Schönbach?

...look at all those nails! I've taken  6 nails out of it so far!

Yes, it's Schönbach.  Please don't put them back, OK?  :lol:

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1 hour ago, Violadamore said:

Yes, it's Schönbach.  Please don't put them back, OK?  :lol:

Nah I won't. They'd better not be 'original', and 'historic', because they went into the recycle bin and I'm not digging them out!  ;) 

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That was an ordeal, but I managed to get out the mysterious glue!

And so many freaking nails!

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Question, wasn't there a time when they stopped making them with integral bass bars because the new routing machines couldn't cut them conveniently or something like that?

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Really interesting story and shows the stark distinction between conservation and restoration.  Given the history of the instrument I would have gone for conservation on this, which would have meant leaving the nails and doing very little to it other than a light clean.  I guess there are no photos of the original owner with it? Might I suggest that the story with as many names and dates as possible be documented and kept with it.  Don't forget to include who you are and your connection with it.

Regards,

Tim

 

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4 hours ago, TimRobinson said:

Really interesting story and shows the stark distinction between conservation and restoration.  Given the history of the instrument I would have gone for conservation on this, which would have meant leaving the nails and doing very little to it other than a light clean.  I guess there are no photos of the original owner with it? Might I suggest that the story with as many names and dates as possible be documented and kept with it.  Don't forget to include who you are and your connection with it.

Regards,

Tim

I made the decision to restore it when I learned that the current 'repair' work was done by some third party unrelated to the original owner, sometime in the early 80's. Some might say that is still part of the history of the instrument, and I agree from a technical standpoint, but fact is the work is crap. This instrument (crappy in itself as it may be) deserves better.

I'm trying to get some better accounts on what comes to names and dates, and photographs would be indeed an amazing find, but a lot of detective work is involved so progress has been slow.

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16 hours ago, FoxMitchell said:

I made the decision to restore it when I learned that the current 'repair' work was done by some third party unrelated to the original owner, sometime in the early 80's. Some might say that is still part of the history of the instrument, and I agree from a technical standpoint, but fact is the work is crap. This instrument (crappy in itself as it may be) deserves better.

I'm trying to get some better accounts on what comes to names and dates, and photographs would be indeed an amazing find, but a lot of detective work is involved so progress has been slow.

On an off chance, photos (or even other things like census records, wills and grants, etc.) might be found on Ancestry (or one of the other genealogy websites), if names, dates or locations are known.  .  

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This little button patch was an ordeal!

I have no idea if I even did it 'right', but I did what seemed like the most logical approach.

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Now that what was broken has been repaired, the rest of the work can resume!  :) 

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