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Since the subject has cropped up a couple of times in recent weeks, I would just like to clarify Seidel violins from a violin identification point of view. This is the stamp, in the usual label position. (Picture #1)

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Seidel violins come at a sort of transition period from a construction point of view. They have (when original, as here) carved rather than glued in bass bars, which in contrast to the roughly hewn out attempts one might be used to seeing, are absolutely meticulously done, including the adjacent belly thickness’s being in exact harmony with the rest of the belly thickness’s. This is quite difficult to achieve, as I found out once making such a belly with integral bar myself. This is, in my mind, the proof that this method was certainly not for time saving (I can fit a glued bar far quicker!), but rather what the makers of this region wanted, for whatever reason. Since the violin has been open in my workshop, already a couple of ignorant people have asked if I am going to make a “proper” bar, and have been suitably admonished. (Pictures #2 & 3)

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Whilst one is used to violins with carved bars, having a through neck, Seidel is a newer development in this department. He has large, almost semi-circular top/bottom blocks, with the neck fitted very much in the modern manner. The neck in this violin was unchanged, but falling out of it's own motivation, so I have taken it out, and will glue it back as it was when the belly is closed. (Picture #4)

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The ribs though were still built on the back, as can be witnessed by the corner blocks with a roughly equilateral plan view, and the rib end joins being in the middle of the rib ends. The centre bout linings are not let into the corner blocks. All the inside work displays an awesome degree of perfection, as does the rest of the fiddle. (Picture #5)

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Probably the best known feature of Seidel is the 5 ply purfling. I am relatively expert on his purfling at the moment, having had to make some last week. One corner was smashed off and missing, including purfling. I had to think long and hard what to do about it, since I (and not just me) don't have any 5 ply purfling in my purfling glory box. At first I thought of using normal purfling, and painting the middle black stripe on, but I realised that I would need a brush with one hair, and a more than steady hand. Seidel purfling, despite its 5 strips, is actually thinner than almost any other purfling in my glory box. I have glued the roughly shaped replacement corner on now, and will finish the shape after the belly is glued back on, should I require any leeway. (Picture # 6 &7)

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I am the first person to have ever opened this fiddle. The smashed in bottom rib had been repaired in the Gynaecologist manner, pulling a glued stud through the f hole on a string. A method I learnt many years ago from a Bass repairman, but would not recommend to anyone. It also had a total of 4 belly sound post cracks, which had been glued from the outside with white glue which kept me busy for a while.

Altogether a Seidel violin represents the top grade of violins from this area at the time, also a quite modern, if transitional making technique, by no means to be confused with the proverbial “Dutzendarbeit”. The wonderful woodwork is perhaps not done justice too by the varnish, which is a thinnish brown stain(?) polished over, with an originally contrived wear pattern reminiscent of the area, so that one can easily miss these rather beautiful fiddles if one is not concentrating.

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Sometimes I'm using a sharp steel pen for drawing a fine purfling line. But this is a neatly made replacement, even the grain is matching exactly - replacing corner tipps the right way is an extremely annoying job IMO.-_-

Reg. neck transition, long time ago I had another Seidel with a common through neck, but the belly (the bell only) morticed ca 3 mm for the overstand, so it did look from outside like a modern construction.

Can we see the complete violin, when it will be finished?

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Here is a viola from the same maker, which displays all the characteristics I described re. the violin in the first post. Since both have already the non-plus-ultra from ideal bass bar, carved by Herr Seidel or his workers already, anyone contemplating removing the bar(s) needs his fingers chopping off.

 

Obviously both have a name rather than a date. Seidel, Christian Wilhelm was born in Markneukirchen on 10th April 1815, and died on 4th October 1900, became a “Meister” on 5th June 1838. Since the two instruments shown here show a great degree of consistency, I would be the last to arbitrarily choose a year between those dates.

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3 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

Here is a viola from the same maker, ........ Seidel, Christian Wilhelm was born in Markneukirchen on 10th April 1815, and died on 4th October 1900, became a “Meister” on 5th June 1838................................I would be the last to arbitrarily choose a year between those dates.

 

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Wow, If I interpret this correctly, you could actually be working on a circa 1890 Markie.  Congratulations, Jacob!  How does it sound?  :ph34r::lol:

These are beautiful, BTW, thanks for all the photos.  :)

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I will add my thanks for the Seidel tutorial and pictures.  It will help remove the image  of these  that comes to mind when I run across that name.  Do you know whether he carried on with his carved bass bars until the end?  The inside of that box is pristine!  Is that how you found it, or did you clean it?  I am inspired to start another thread on dirty boxes.

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As I had hoped you would see from the pictures, the bass bar (on the viola) is 19,2mm away from the middle joint in the bottom bouts, 17,5 in the middle, and 16mm at the top bouts, also not exactly along the grain lines. I have glued the violin top back onto the ribs now, and have forgotten to measure them I'm afraid

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  • 3 weeks later...

When I was putting my Seidel back together, I had a little surprise. When I first undressed the violin, I meticulously put all the bits in a pickled beetroot jar, with “Seidel” written on it, so that I would find everything again afterwards. I discovered an innovation with the bottom saddle. The saddle was let in at a slight dovetail, so that one could not just put some glue on the saddle and shove it into place as usual, but had to drop the saddle into place from above. This has the interesting effect, that the saddle will sit happily in it's place, without being able to fall off, even without glue. I can't remember having seen this innovation before, and was wondering what type of head banging violin maker does saddle innovations, until later that evening I remembered a saddle innovation from David some years ago, which I have failed to find in the Maestronet search feature.

 

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2 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

When I was putting my Seidel back together, I had a little surprise. When I first undressed the violin, I meticulously put all the bits in a pickled beetroot jar, with “Seidel” written on it, so that I would find everything again afterwards. I discovered an innovation with the bottom saddle. The saddle was let in at a slight dovetail, so that one could not just put some glue on the saddle and shove it into place as usual, but had to drop the saddle into place from above. This has the interesting effect, that the saddle will sit happily in it's place, without being able to fall off, even without glue. I can't remember having seen this innovation before, and was wondering what type of head banging violin maker does saddle innovations, until later that evening I remembered a saddle innovation from David some years ago, which I have failed to find in the Maestronet search feature.

 

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Do you think that was a deliberate innovation, or that someone was just sloppy making the angles on the saddle, and cut the opening in the top to fit?

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31 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Do you think that was a deliberate innovation, or that someone was just sloppy making the angles on the saddle, and cut the opening in the top to fit?

Seems deliberate to me. Sorry I couldn't find your saddle Innovation, the MN search function can get frustrating.

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