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AmyGish

I bought an old (?) violin because I want to learn how to play . . . if it is old, does it need any special care??

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I have played all types of instruments, with the exception of a bowed string instrument. Between my husband and me, we have dozens of instruments. Just nothing with strings and a bow.

Well . . . I think the social distancing boredom got to me.  I just bought a violin online.  I bought it mostly for looks (I like old looking instruments). However, I do want to play. It did not include a bow so I know I need to get one.

We do have a local violin store, but with all small businesses being closed down, I don't know how long it will take until I can take it there to see what needs to be done to make it playable.

The seller will ship it to me. My question is what do I need to do with it once it arrives? I have dealt with other wood instruments so I know the risks of cracking and other things. I'm hoping it does well in shipping (not too cold, not too humid). Would it be better to go pick it up?

Is there any type of acclimation process it needs to go through? Is there anything I need to check? For example, I know to check the soundboard of a piano to make sure it's not cracked.

I think it's an old violin. Do I need to do anything special? Control humidity? Check humidity?

Is there a way to know for sure it's older? I'm attaching photos. The seller said it was a David Hope violin. If that helps.

violin1.thumb.jpg.5e116ce3f1153cc2cf7b59d1273e4156.jpg

violin7.jpg

violin6.jpg

violin5.jpg

violin4.jpg

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violin2.jpg

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It's a real antique.  To begin with, it needs a new set of strings, and I see a few cracks that need looking at with an inspection mirror to see if they are repaired.  You also need to check it over for open seams or any weakness in the neck root joint.  It would be bad if you put strings on it, and it pulls apart when you tighten them.   Please post a link to the original offering so we can get a better grasp of the overall situation.  Welcome to MN!!  :)

BTW, the alleged maker name is "David Hopf".  The fiddle is going to be a later copy, probably from the Markneukirchen area.  OK, I see Blankie has pre-empted my helpful edit. 

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It's a Saxony/Vogtland instrument from around the mid 19th century. Maybe good for Hope;), but it doesn't look like a David Hopf, more as if someone had scratched in the signature more or less skillfully. Overall condition looks ok, but to make it playable it probably needs some adjustments by a specialist, especially the bridge don't look right, the tailgut too long and the nut improvised. Maybe it's possible to find a service person in spite of the shut down.

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Welcome! They made lots of these and some can sound pretty good with a decent setup. Get someone to show you how to do a basic setup. As Violadamore said, check the neck, check the condition of the top, bridge and sound post and re-string it. If you start playing it and you have buzzing, you probably have an unresolved crack or separation vibrating somewhere and it will drive you nuts until it's fixed.

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hopefuly the strings are about the right height.  you could luck out and the setup could be not too bad.  don't put much money into it, like having cracks repaired.  it should be ok for a couple of years for a starter beginner.  it's a life-long process...

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On 3/24/2020 at 3:57 PM, Blank face said:

It's a Saxony/Vogtland instrument from around the mid 19th century. Maybe good for Hope;), but it doesn't look like a David Hopf, more as if someone had scratched in the signature more or less skillfully. Overall condition looks ok, but to make it playable it probably needs some adjustments by a specialist, especially the bridge don't look right, the tailgut too long and the nut improvised. Maybe it's possible to find a service person in spite of the shut down.

Looks like whoever "scratched" the signature ran out of capital A's and D's, so it would be an actual brand, just not the actual David Hopf's.  Did I just correct Blank Face?!! Also it wouldn't be much fun to play with all that sticky non-original varnish on the neck.

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2 hours ago, matesic said:

Looks like whoever "scratched" the signature ran out of capital A's and D's, so it would be an actual brand, just not the actual David Hopf's.  

Factually many of the original Hopf or David Hopf brands were made in this odd way. It's more the way the ff are cut and what's possible to see from the scroll making me assume that it's not a "real" Hopf, the brand copied after an original. The varnish looks altered, too.

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It looks like a nice old fiddle, BUT, it's not a HOPF, and it really needs to go to a good luthier to get some things taken care of. You should certainly try calling the local violin store, to see if you could drop it off for the luthier to take a look at. He/she could then call you, and let you know what needs to be done, and give you an estimate.

New strings for sure.

It needs a real nut to replace the poorly fitted, improvised nut that's on there now.

The bridge looks pretty wonky!

No telling what the condition of the soundpost and pegs are, and if there are structural or measurement (like angles) issues.

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