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Cello ID help please

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You guys were great in helping me re the bow that goes with this cello, so here goes- I’m trusting to your generous expertise again. 

The cello is quite short - lob 738 - and whilst I feel I ought to think it  is German, I am hovering about it possibly being English. Not sure about whether the neck and scroll is original. It seems to be made of beech but then possibly the front is also beech I think.  The purfling on both back and front , where it is a single black line, is painted on and wearing away in places. The arching is pretty low, and a bit misrepresented in the photos I think .

All comments most welcomed.














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My apologies. I’m aware that painted purfling is one indicator and that you wrote a checklist of Mittenwald v Mk Violin characteristics but was having some trouble applying these to this cello. I also admit to being misled by the short back length. 

It would be great if you could link to your previous comments please. I’m sure others would also appreciate this.

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I’m afraid one often too easily shouts Schönbach. Such celli could just as well come from Grazlitz, or another of the dozens of villages in the area. They were made in the cottage industry (Dutzendarbeit) system, i.e. the dealer gave the artisan the wood and bits, and he went back to his shed, and made a dozen of them and shoved them back to the dealer, who often put his label in. Therefore the name of the actual maker who made it will not be determinable, nor the exact village. Here in Austria they tend to come with Schönbach or Grazlitz dealer labels, since carting them to Markneukirchen first would have cost customs at the border.


As you might have read in my Mittenwald/Markneukirchen post you said you had found. The ribs were bent, and stuck on the back without using a form. This makes the corners quite long, since the poor soul wouldn’t have been able to glue the ribs together otherwise. This causes the long pointy corners of the outline. The neck wasn’t fitted into a top block, rather it goes through into the inside of the cello, and the top ribs are mortised into the neck root. On these very cheap ones, beech was used for the neck scroll instead of maple, to save a couple of Kreutzer. On the cheap ones, purfling was painted on, and the varnish was a dark stain that soaked into the summer annual rings. The backs were either beech (not here) or plain maple, again to save money,and sometimes any “flame” is painted on (I can’t tell from your photos). The “wear” paten is also typical. The brown varnish at the bottom of the back is “worn” off, as if you had held it on your shoulder there for years. I have even seen some celli with “chin-rest wear”. The inside of the belly will be roughly hewn out, and an integral bass bar be carved from the belly wood, rather that glued in (unless someone has smoothed that out)


These celli often sound surprisingly good, Viola d’Amore will tell you all about that.

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