Gibk8

Help identifying violin

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Hi,

On a bit of a whim, I recently bought a violin (with case and bow) at an auction and am now regretting it slightly as I think it probably wasn't worth what I paid for it. 

I can post better pics tomorrow after I pick it up but the label reads J.Thibouville-Lamy & Co London & Paris. I know JTL produced thousands of violins, but on my brief internet searches these all seem to be produced in France and so I'm wondering if it is a JTL copy. I've looked through the JTL catalogues and there is a very similar looking case in the 1932 catalogue but I've no idea on the violin.

On a positive note, the violin seemed to be in ok condition. 

Grateful for any advice!

50-1[1].jpg

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JTL made all ranges of "student" instruments some of which are quite nice. Also the bows that came with them were sometimes better than the violins. It would be worth your time to look at the "instructions for posting photos for identification"  posted above and see what you have bought.

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22 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

They usually don't. :(

haha, you're right.. I picked it up this morning and my rose tinted glasses have definitely mislead me. I'll take a look at the instructions for photo's now and let you all see the carnage. 

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So here goes... (warped) bow and case first...

I should also mention it's a 3/4 size violin. 

 

bow.jpg

case.jpg

frog.jpg

 

warped bow.jpg

Edited by Gibk8

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On ‎11‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 7:59 AM, nathan slobodkin said:

JTL made all ranges of "student" instruments some of which are quite nice. Also the bows that came with them were sometimes better than the violins. It would be worth your time to look at the "instructions for posting photos for identification"  posted above and see what you have bought.

And some times not

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It Looks like something that will Sound quite badly when fixed up. Is it very heavy, which would Point to thick graduations etc.? You can throw the bow away, that is worthless. The violin seems repairable, but I doubt it is worth it, financially speaking. Is the varnish flaking or chipping off? Then I would say it probably was a brittle Spirit varnish that Needs some help now, but at least it is not nitro varnish. But really, if it were mine, I'd try selling it over eBay as it is, unless you bought it for the fun of making it playable yourself. For that it could be a good Thing. I'd be merciless, regraduate the top if necessary, glue up the box, add new Wood to the broken off Corner, Strip off al the varnish, and revarnish, maybe adding new fake purfling. You may even end up with something that sounds halfway decent. Oh, do take out the Label afterwards.

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On ‎11‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 1:34 AM, Gibk8 said:

On a bit of a whim, I recently bought a violin (with case and bow) at an auction and am now regretting it slightly as I think it probably wasn't worth what I paid for it. 

I can post better pics tomorrow after I pick it up but the label reads J.Thibouville-Lamy & Co London & Paris. I know JTL produced thousands of violins, but on my brief internet searches these all seem to be produced in France and so I'm wondering if it is a JTL copy. I've looked through the JTL catalogues and there is a very similar looking case in the 1932 catalogue but I've no idea on the violin.

On a positive note, the violin seemed to be in ok condition. 

What did you pay for it?

And don't remove the label, its a genuine JTL "mi-fin"  that cost about 8-9 French francs a piece, in early 20C ;)

If it were a Medio Fino, the accordingly label would have been placed where the JTL label currently is - probably! They of course used many ways to label them over the years.

It is not completely worthless - many shops ask 800...1200 euro for a 3/4 mi-fin or Medio Fino if it is in OK shape and makes a decent noise, so it all depends, what your luthier will charge for his work.

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Hi everyone,

Thanks very much for your messages and advice! I've spent years playing violins but know very little about the instruments themselves and have found this all really interesting.. I wish I had learnt years ago!

To answer some of your questions...

12 hours ago, baroquecello said:

It Looks like something that will Sound quite badly when fixed up. Is it very heavy, which would Point to thick graduations etc.? You can throw the bow away, that is worthless. The violin seems repairable, but I doubt it is worth it, financially speaking. Is the varnish flaking or chipping off? Then I would say it probably was a brittle Spirit varnish that Needs some help now, but at least it is not nitro varnish. But really, if it were mine, I'd try selling it over eBay as it is, unless you bought it for the fun of making it playable yourself. For that it could be a good Thing. I'd be merciless, regraduate the top if necessary, glue up the box, add new Wood to the broken off Corner, Strip off al the varnish, and revarnish, maybe adding new fake purfling. You may even end up with something that sounds halfway decent. Oh, do take out the Label afterwards.

-It's surprisingly light.. I also have a 3/4 Compagnon violin (at least I think it is.. could easily be a copy :rolleyes:) and it's lighter than that.

-varnish is flaking off

Any ideas how much you think I would manage to get on ebay for it? 

8 hours ago, antero said:

What did you pay for it?

And don't remove the label, its a genuine JTL "mi-fin"  that cost about 8-9 French francs a piece, in early 20C ;)

If it were a Medio Fino, the accordingly label would have been placed where the JTL label currently is - probably! They of course used many ways to label them over the years.

It is not completely worthless - many shops ask 800...1200 euro for a 3/4 mi-fin or Medio Fino if it is in OK shape and makes a decent noise, so it all depends, what your luthier will charge for his work.

I paid £110 ffor it :(

7 hours ago, Jeff Jetson said:

Hello Gibk8 and Welcome!   I suppose you do know that this is a smaller violin and would not be practical for your own use.

haha, yes thank-you! I didn't see it before I bought it and thought it would be full size... lesson learnt!

 

Since it's not anything very special and I like a project, I think I'm going to try and bring it back to life myself.. if it goes horrible wrong at least I won't have ruined a lovely violin ;) and you never know it might turn out quite nice. My niece will be old enough to play it soon so it would be a nice present for her. 

Thanks again for the advice... I think I will probably be back again soon asking for tips on the repairs as I go along :)

 

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No idea how much you'd manage to get for it. I'd say that has a lot to do with luck also. I wouldn't hazard to advise you on what to do about the varnish to save it. I Imagine some might give it a French polish or even some colourless varnish, but I'm not qualified enough to say anything specific. But others here are. If Antero is right, then it may just be worth Fixing up after all (but personally I'm highly sceptical this violin would sell for more than 300 Eur, even fixed up). The flaking varnish, the ugly scroll, the fake purfling, the boring Wood, the missing Corner.... A violin must Sound heavenly to make People disregard all of those aspects....

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This seems a very typical JTL of the Medio Fino type. 

A fullsize one might well sell for €1200, more if it was in exceptional condition - they are ugly as sin but they do tend to sound very good. However, 3/4 ones are worth a good deal less, more like half of that. 

The varnish is a very basic preparation and easy to touch up. The open seams aren't very challenging and any old numpty can glue a saddle back on. I'm more concerned about what appears to be a crack in the lower left table - I think this would devalue it quite a bit. Maybe another repaired crack running up towards the soundpost from the bottom edge?

Another issue is the stained fingerboard. This would need to be replaced with ebony if you hope to get a good price.

 

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1 hour ago, martin swan said:

they are ugly as sin but they do tend to sound very good

True indeed! And often enough, fractionals as well. My son plays a red 3/4 Medio Fino at the moment and I wouldn't challenge him to change, even as there are many better looking ones at hand...

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