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John Juzek? If so, high qual or cheap model?


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47 minutes ago, Rue said:

Otherwise, just posting a picture that is in the public domain isn't. It might not be "nice" in some instances, but it's not unethical.

I was specifically not talking about pictures in the public domain. There is nothing at all wrong or unethical (or even not nice) about that. Also pictures from public auctions and ebay listings are okay, except for possible copyright considerations. 

I am saying that posting pictures of someone's private property for discussion in a public forum without their permission is unethical. There are many reasons  for an owner to object to that.

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On 9/22/2020 at 11:02 PM, Justy6/24 said:

Just stumbled on this exchange.  My 13 year old son is ready for 1st full size violin.  We have rented for 8 years.  A reliable merchant and violin maker gave us a 1919 Juzek to try.  In very good condition.  Nice sound.  Thoughts?  Not sure how to download photo.

Not necessary to see any pictures. The quintessence of all this exchange are two things one can be sure of if stumbling on a Juzek labelled instrument for sale:

!.) It's a Schönbach trade instrument of varying quality, often pre-dated.

2.) It's usually overpriced due to all the misleading marketing propaganda. It's possible to safe a lot of money buying an identical instrument just announced as "Schönbach trade instrument".

Ok, this were three things. Never mind.;)

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  • 8 months later...

HI! I just joined... you'll have to forgive my name... I named it specifically because I found this message board via this thread because I was searching for John Juzek. I'm not an expert, and barely a novice if you will. I played violin from the time I was about 5 years old to a couple of years after high school. I was really quite good then, but the past 20 years (I'm 43 now) have me maybe picking up the violin 2-3 times a year. I've recently gotten interested in learning to play now that my daughter is learning Cello, and has been playing piano for almost a decade.

The violin I have is a John Juzek. I make no aspersions that it's some kind of Stratevarious, but I've always really liked this violin. I read some of the comments and recognize that it's probably one of the cheap violins from back in the day. Originally (early 1970s), my grandfather bought it for my aunt, who after a year decided she didn't want to play violin anymore. I got it in 1990? when I was able to actually play a full-size violin. And I've had it ever since. 

 

I took some pictures in case anyone cares... hahah. It's hard to see, but the sticker inside the violin says "JOHN JUZEK" and then says "Violinmaker formerly of Prague." In the lower left it says "Made in Germany" and in the lower right it has his signature, which I assume is not a wet signature but merely part of the logo.

Violin has been in the family for about 50 years, so I have to assume it's not a fake, though I also assume that this level of John Juzek is not something you would actually bother faking. But, I love the violin none the less. I always had the best sounding violin in any orchestra I played in. The sound is so deep and clear. I have another violin that's cheaper that says it was made in Czechoslovakia, but doesn't say exactly where... and it doesn't sound anywhere near as nice as this John Juzek.

 

Would love to hear any opinions or thoughts... though I do take offense to someone calling it firewood! hahah. Also... looking forward to being a part of this forum. I'm very interested in re-learning how to play violin, and getting this violin back to really sounding it's best. It has dominant strings on it, but they are ~30 years old. I also would like to make sure I'm taking proper care of it. The violin is obviously pre-war since it says Germany and not West Germany... I'm amazed this violin made it through my adolescence, college, bachelor pad, and other years of my life without getting completely destroyed. Thank you!

 

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21 minutes ago, JuzekFan said:

HI! I just joined... you'll have to forgive my name... I named it specifically because I found this message board via this thread because I was searching for John Juzek. I'm not an expert, and barely a novice if you will. I played violin from the time I was about 5 years old to a couple of years after high school. I was really quite good then, but the past 20 years (I'm 43 now) have me maybe picking up the violin 2-3 times a year. I've recently gotten interested in learning to play now that my daughter is learning Cello, and has been playing piano for almost a decade.

The violin I have is a John Juzek. I make no aspersions that it's some kind of Stratevarious, but I've always really liked this violin. I read some of the comments and recognize that it's probably one of the cheap violins from back in the day. Originally (early 1970s), my grandfather bought it for my aunt, who after a year decided she didn't want to play violin anymore. I got it in 1990? when I was able to actually play a full-size violin. And I've had it ever since. 

 

I took some pictures in case anyone cares... hahah. It's hard to see, but the sticker inside the violin says "JOHN JUZEK" and then says "Violinmaker formerly of Prague." In the lower left it says "Made in Germany" and in the lower right it has his signature, which I assume is not a wet signature but merely part of the logo.

Violin has been in the family for about 50 years, so I have to assume it's not a fake, though I also assume that this level of John Juzek is not something you would actually bother faking. But, I love the violin none the less. I always had the best sounding violin in any orchestra I played in. The sound is so deep and clear. I have another violin that's cheaper that says it was made in Czechoslovakia, but doesn't say exactly where... and it doesn't sound anywhere near as nice as this John Juzek.

 

Would love to hear any opinions or thoughts... though I do take offense to someone calling it firewood! hahah. Also... looking forward to being a part of this forum. I'm very interested in re-learning how to play violin, and getting this violin back to really sounding it's best. It has dominant strings on it, but they are ~30 years old. I also would like to make sure I'm taking proper care of it. The violin is obviously pre-war since it says Germany and not West Germany... I'm amazed this violin made it through my adolescence, college, bachelor pad, and other years of my life without getting completely destroyed. Thank you!

 

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You would be well advised to change your pseudonym, because everyone will be convinced that you’re just taking the piss otherwise

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20 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

You would be well advised to change your pseudonym, because everyone will be convinced that you’re just taking the piss otherwise

 

Hahah, I have to say, after reading this whole thread, you might be right. I read the rest of the responses after I introduced myself.

I think my John Juzek might actually help solve this X-Files mystery. The sticker inside my violin says "Made in Germany" ... thereby confirming what some suspected. Regardless. I am a huge fan of this violin though... to me it's like a child. Whether someone considers it $20 kindling, or a $25,000 master piece makes no difference to me.

 

I have another violin that I got as a child (full size) which was my practice violin (the Juzek was my performance violin). This other violin is a Carl Meisel... made in West Germany (I have to assume late 80s). it's a nice violin as well, in great shape, but doesn't have anywhere near the richness in sound as my Juzek.

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26 minutes ago, JuzekFan said:

 

Hahah, I have to say, after reading this whole thread, you might be right. I read the rest of the responses after I introduced myself.

I think my John Juzek might actually help solve this X-Files mystery. The sticker inside my violin says "Made in Germany" ... thereby confirming what some suspected. Regardless. I am a huge fan of this violin though... to me it's like a child. Whether someone considers it $20 kindling, or a $25,000 master piece makes no difference to me.

 

I have another violin that I got as a child (full size) which was my practice violin (the Juzek was my performance violin). This other violin is a Carl Meisel... made in West Germany (I have to assume late 80s). it's a nice violin as well, in great shape, but doesn't have anywhere near the richness in sound as my Juzek.

I don’t remember seeing this particular shade of varnish on late model Juzeks But they are very nice violins if the upper levels: they usually sound good usually look good, And our well-made except for the bottom line  examples. You have nothing to apologize for, and you have a nice violin. What kind of bow do you have?

If the violin has been in the family for a couple of generations, chances are the bow has been as well, And it might very well be a nice bow, nicer than the violin.

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4 hours ago, JuzekFan said:

 

Hahah, I have to say, after reading this whole thread, you might be right. I read the rest of the responses after I introduced myself.

I think my John Juzek might actually help solve this X-Files mystery. The sticker inside my violin says "Made in Germany" ... thereby confirming what some suspected. Regardless. I am a huge fan of this violin though... to me it's like a child. Whether someone considers it $20 kindling, or a $25,000 master piece makes no difference to me.

 

I have another violin that I got as a child (full size) which was my practice violin (the Juzek was my performance violin). This other violin is a Carl Meisel... made in West Germany (I have to assume late 80s). it's a nice violin as well, in great shape, but doesn't have anywhere near the richness in sound as my Juzek.

My second fiddle was also a Juzek from the 30s, and I loved it to death! I will say that there is a variety of tones and colors under that sticker, I have found, unlike a lot of modern factory productions (this is a whopping generalization, but hey) I hope you get back to playing!

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On 5/7/2020 at 8:14 AM, PhilipKT said:

 I spoke extensively to the grandson of John Juzek, who told me his ancestor could make but was mainly a dealer, and he spoke of a masterpiece in the metropolitan vault. He could be lying completely.

 

>> immediately looks up MET contact information<<

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23 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

I don’t remember seeing this particular shade of varnish on late model Juzeks But they are very nice violins if the upper levels: they usually sound good usually look good, And our well-made except for the bottom line  examples. You have nothing to apologize for, and you have a nice violin. What kind of bow do you have?

If the violin has been in the family for a couple of generations, chances are the bow has been as well, And it might very well be a nice bow, nicer than the violin.

Hi! Sorry, I would have responded yesterday, but apparently I'm limited by the number of posts I'm allowed to make in a day. I can only make 2 or 3 I suppose. So it appears to have allowed me within 24 hours of my last post... so I'll try to put as much as I can into this one post before I get blocked again.

For the bows... I'm kind of ignorant on quality and name recognition. I just threw out a bow about 2 weeks ago, literally the same one that I used since... freshman year of high school. It was a fiberglass bow, seemed to lack any kind of flash to it. My idea of a fancy bow was one that had mother of pearl on it, haha. The nicest bow I have now feels like it's made of wood, and it is a Karl Wilhelm. The bow shaft (???) is hexagonal, like a pencil. The other nice one says Andrea Eastman. They both look nearly identical, even use the same font and type-set to put their name in the exact same location. The other two bows I have sit with my cheaper violin, and they don't have anything written on them. Quite frankly, I can't tell if they are any different whatsoever from the two "nice" bows I have. I think all four of them are within 10 years old.

More on my violin though, I'm really interested in upgrading it... but I want to know what's good, and what isn't. One of the problems I have is that I find that my bow tends to drag on some of the other strings on occasion, or that perhaps vibration from one string can carry over to the other string. I don't know if I'm explaining that right. It's very likely just me... it's been a while. If there was a rating scale from Itsak Pearlman as a 10 (spelling?) and someone who's never picked up a violin before as a 1. I would dare say in my hay-day, I was probably an 7 or 8. Now, I'm probably a 4 or on a good day a 5.

My strings are ancient... ~30 years old. I always remember that "Dominant" strings were the best. Is that still the case, or is there a specific set that I should purchase? I prefer baroque music (if that makes a difference). I suppose I could  keep using my existing bridge, but it's also ~30 years old... is there one that you guys recommend?

I assume there's no need to replace the fine tuners or the Y-shaped board it attaches to. That's original to the violin so I would want to keep that. If there is a beenefit to replacing the fine tuners, I would appreciate some recommendation. My pegs are also OK. They have a screw on one side, and a normal peg on the other.

More importantly, I just keep the violin in my closet. Is there anything I should be doing (at least going forward) to protect it? Does it need to be protected like a cigar? I don't smoke, so I don't really know how you do that either.

Thank you!!!

 

20 hours ago, Flattmountain said:

My second fiddle was also a Juzek from the 30s, and I loved it to death! I will say that there is a variety of tones and colors under that sticker, I have found, unlike a lot of modern factory productions (this is a whopping generalization, but hey) I hope you get back to playing!

I am very much looking to get back into playing, though I'm not really sure what that really means. I play on my own from time to time, but now that my wife and daugther are interested as well, I hope to get them to the level where we can all play as a trio. I think that would be cool. Once I finish my move, I hope to start taking lessons again to re-teach me some of the basics and how to move forward.

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You're not going to get rich selling it, but as long as everything is intact, you should have no trouble just putting it in the closet. Think of it as a pet: If you wouldn't leave a pet to sleep there, don't leave your violin there.

I recommend Thomastic Vision (the regular set, not Titanium or Solo, or whatever variants they have) to start on as I've found them to stabilize quickly and feel about right under the fingers. About 40-50USD a set from most online retailers.

Savarez Corelli Crystal are about the least expensive synthetic strings I've tried. They sound good, but are very low tension.

If your pegs hold properly, you might be able to do away with fine tuners.

If not, D'Addario Prelude are reasonably durable and inexpensive steel strings to start with.

If your bridge is not warped and it sits right, and the strings haven't dug in too far, it should be good.

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1 hour ago, Rothwein said:

You're not going to get rich selling it, but as long as everything is intact, you should have no trouble just putting it in the closet. Think of it as a pet: If you wouldn't leave a pet to sleep there, don't leave your violin there.

I recommend Thomastic Vision (the regular set, not Titanium or Solo, or whatever variants they have) to start on as I've found them to stabilize quickly and feel about right under the fingers. About 40-50USD a set from most online retailers.

Savarez Corelli Crystal are about the least expensive synthetic strings I've tried. They sound good, but are very low tension.

If your pegs hold properly, you might be able to do away with fine tuners.

If not, D'Addario Prelude are reasonably durable and inexpensive steel strings to start with.

If your bridge is not warped and it sits right, and the strings haven't dug in too far, it should be good.

 

DEFINITELY NOT selling this violin. I've owned it since I was maybe 12. Only way this is leaving me is when I'm dead and get put into the ground, and the only reason why I wouldn't be buried with it is because I think maybe someone else could use it at that point. Haha...

 

So I started looking up Thomastic Vision strings, and then compared them with Dominant. I immediately started to see between the various sets that they have a "measurement" such as medium, heavy, etc. What does this mean exactly, and how is this important to me? I'm a big dude... 6'3" with massive hands, so my fingers have no problem pushing down on the strings... is that what the difference between medium and heavy is? The gauge of the string? How does this improve or hurt the sound?

As for cost... I'm not looking to just waste money, but I do want to get some really nice strings. I don't mind paying $50+ for good strings if that makes a difference. I just wanted to make sure I said that in case you were trying to save me money versus what you would ideally want. Is synthetic better? What makes them synthetic, does that mean they aren't steel wrapped?

 

Thank you so much for this information, I really appreciate it!!!

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Yes, the “weight“ refers to the string gauge. As you describe yourself, I would go for Vision heavy (stark -- “strong“.) 

Dominants are very demanding strings, I've found. This from using them to study Baroque music in Vermont in the mid-late '80s... You will find yourself constantly trying to figure out where the string is going to break.

Core is the center of the string, usually either steel, gut, or synthetic (nylon, etc.)

The wrapping is most of the time silver (g-string) or aluminum (d&a-strings, occasionally e.) On steel strings, sometimes nickel or steel are used.

I recommend Vision to start with because I find them reliable, and I feel unless you play professionally, it's silly to pay for precious metal windings and such if the instrument is going to be only occasionally played and stored in a closet or under the bed.

Ideally, I like the d-string thickest bare gut, the a-string next thickest bare gut, the g-string silver wound gut, and whatever steel e-string won't twist the neck out of its mortice . But living where I do, I'm using a full set of Warchal Amber. So far, they hold up well. I just wish the d-string were thicker.

But enough of what I want...

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@JuzekFan the best thing you can do is meet with a luthier in person.  You have provided good detail in your questions, but I just don't think we'll be able to answer everything in an efficient and satisfactory way.  Also, if you get your fiddle professionally set up and adjusted, you may be surprised at just how great it plays.  

On 5/28/2021 at 6:25 PM, JuzekFan said:

If there is a beenefit to replacing the fine tuners, I would appreciate some recommendation.

Yes, there is.  The length of the string between the bridge and tailpiece is important (though not crucial) to the tone of the violin.  Having aftermarket tuners like yours generally hurts the sound.  If you like having 4 tuners, you can get a Wittner tailpiece for about $20.  Otherwise, assuming your pegs are usable, just ditch the 4 lower tuners.  Don't do this hastily, and have a luthier or knowledgable violinist do it if you don't know what you're doing.  No matter what you end up doing with your tuners, make sure you lubricate them periodically.  You can unscrew them and apply a tiny amount of grease or wax to the threads.  

FWIW, I use Pirastro Tonica strings (with Gold Label E) on pretty much everything.  For a bit more money, I don't know anyone who's been disappointed with Evah Pirazzis.  My sweat disintegrates Dominants in a month and Helicores in a week, so I simply can't use some of the most popular strings.  Of course, I'm sure some people have the same problem with the strings that work for me.  

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  • 3 months later...
On 5/29/2021 at 2:21 PM, Rothwein said:

Yes, the “weight“ refers to the string gauge. As you describe yourself, I would go for Vision heavy (stark -- “strong“.) 

Dominants are very demanding strings, I've found. This from using them to study Baroque music in Vermont in the mid-late '80s... You will find yourself constantly trying to figure out where the string is going to break.

Core is the center of the string, usually either steel, gut, or synthetic (nylon, etc.)

The wrapping is most of the time silver (g-string) or aluminum (d&a-strings, occasionally e.) On steel strings, sometimes nickel or steel are used.

I recommend Vision to start with because I find them reliable, and I feel unless you play professionally, it's silly to pay for precious metal windings and such if the instrument is going to be only occasionally played and stored in a closet or under the bed.

Ideally, I like the d-string thickest bare gut, the a-string next thickest bare gut, the g-string silver wound gut, and whatever steel e-string won't twist the neck out of its mortice . But living where I do, I'm using a full set of Warchal Amber. So far, they hold up well. I just wish the d-string were thicker.

But enough of what I want...

No, what you say makes perfect sense. I have dominants on there now, but they are from when I was in high school... exactly 25 years ago. I love Baroque music, incidentally, though I assume that means Dominant aren't particularly better or worse for them. I'm going to order a set of Vision Heavy and put them on myself.

 

On 5/30/2021 at 11:53 PM, chiaroscuro_violins said:

@JuzekFan the best thing you can do is meet with a luthier in person.  You have provided good detail in your questions, but I just don't think we'll be able to answer everything in an efficient and satisfactory way.  Also, if you get your fiddle professionally set up and adjusted, you may be surprised at just how great it plays.  

Yes, there is.  The length of the string between the bridge and tailpiece is important (though not crucial) to the tone of the violin.  Having aftermarket tuners like yours generally hurts the sound.  If you like having 4 tuners, you can get a Wittner tailpiece for about $20.  Otherwise, assuming your pegs are usable, just ditch the 4 lower tuners.  Don't do this hastily, and have a luthier or knowledgable violinist do it if you don't know what you're doing.  No matter what you end up doing with your tuners, make sure you lubricate them periodically.  You can unscrew them and apply a tiny amount of grease or wax to the threads.  

FWIW, I use Pirastro Tonica strings (with Gold Label E) on pretty much everything.  For a bit more money, I don't know anyone who's been disappointed with Evah Pirazzis.  My sweat disintegrates Dominants in a month and Helicores in a week, so I simply can't use some of the most popular strings.  Of course, I'm sure some people have the same problem with the strings that work for me.  

So much awesome information here, I really, really appreciate it guys. I meant to respond back to this, but changed computers (as I just moved) and lost track of all this. I literally had to search for Juzek in Google just to find this thread where I had asked questions. Thank you so much for all this information!

I also bought a really old Violin from the 1800s on eBay... hahah... it's missing everything... but looks solid. That'll be another post for another day.

 

So on going to a luthier... I know you're right... I know I need to go to a luthier. But I'm having a hard time bringing myself to do this. My wife is learning to play violin, and I gave her my other practice violin from the 90s (which is nice) and she took it to a luthier who got it really nice and set up. I didn't think much of it. But I am terrified of taking my violin to a violin shop and leaving it there. The closest thing I can think of is that it's like the first day I dropped my daughter off at kindergarten... it was so damned hard to drive away (though she was totally thrilled and didn't know we were gone until we came back to pick her up, hahah). I'm not a risk averse person, I deployed to Afghanistan, I used to speed in my Pontiac Fiero as a young idiot far beyond the limits of anything reasonable... but I just cannot bring myself to leave my violin at a shop. My dad gave me his 1963 Omega Seamaster several years ago. His parents gave it to him when he graduated from college and moved to the United States from the Netherlands for the first time. He unceremoniously gave it to me because the automatic feature of the movement stopped working. I couldn't bring myself to leave it at a watch shop because I was afraid I wouldn't get it back. So I literally spent the next two years teaching myself to rebuild Swiss watches starting with pin-lever single-jewel movements, all the way to Seiko 7T32 Quartz movements... all because I couldn't bring myself to leave it (I did end up fixing it myself).

 

Please tell me something that will make me feel better about leaving my violin with a repair shop. For me, I would no sooner drop my wife and/or daughter off in the ghetto to get ice cream and expecting them to walk back. I mean, I played this violin at every major concert... I played the four seasons, Holst's the Planets, Brandenburg Violin Concertos, Mendelhsonn's (can never spell that dude's name right), and so many other fantastic songs... there's so much history. I would never forgive myself if it got destroyed.

Does anyone know of a good luthier in the Tampa area that you really really trust?

 

(Apologize in advance for my neuroses regarding my Violin, I'm normally not like this)

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I would look for members of the American Federation of Violin and Bow makers, or at least VSA members: https://www.vsaweb.org/ 

Years ago, I had similar fears: most violin shops seemed to work in an older fashioned way - they would give you a receipt describing your violin, but many wouldn't even slip a tag on violin- how they kept them separate I'll never know.  (It seemed that all the luthiers I dealt with had a razor sharp memory) Most shops now label the violins, and they have insurance against damage, theft, fire, etc.  Many photograph the instrument both before and after, to avoid specious damage claims.  You might ask the shops  their policy regarding lost violins, and how they care for the instruments set for repair.

Really, though, my violins always arrived better than when I left them.  Except for Auctions, some seemed to be the worse for wear compared to their picture. :-)  :D

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On 5/4/2020 at 3:08 AM, Wood Butcher said:

 

 

And in fifty years time, there will be those discussing their violin, which they are sure was personally made by Mr Skylark.
If anything, time only serves to muddy the waters.

I used to have a real Skylark violin (1/2 sized.) It was made by the old man, himself, when he was making them in China.

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