Made in Japan, Triple S trademark Violin


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I have my Grandad's violin that is probably a 1920s-1930s violin. It says Made in Japan, with the triple S trademark.  My son, who is 8, started playing violin so I am learning with him and decided to get my Grandad's violin out and see if it was playable. I took it to a decent luthier and had them look at it and he didn't sound very favorable of it.  Said the fretboard was 17mm off the body and not the normal 22mm.  He did however make a bridge that would fit the custom fretboard so I could play it and also made sure all the seams were glued and tight.  I have played it, and it seems ok, but I am rather disappointed that he was so dismissive of it.  How important is it to have the 22mm vs my 17mm? Also how would I find out more information about it?  Also instead of tuning pegs, it has no-slip pegs and as far as I know they came with the violin when my grandad bought it.

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If I remember correctly, violins with the Nippon label were made before violins with the Japan label. Just a bit of history!

Either way, they were not expensive to begin with and were not well made.

They were another attempt to manufacture "cheap" violins for beginners. Japan was trying to enter into a lucrative market. They had limited success, the instruments were not "good enough" to surpass the German violins that were being marketed for beginners.

And then you can get into the whole anti-Japanese and anti-German backlash brought on by world wars...more interesting history!

It's not nice if the luthier was dismissive, but from their point of view it's not worth putting time into it, because of the various issues associated with "cheap" violins.

You'll get different opinions about "no slip" (AKA mechanical or geared) pegs, but in your case, they were installed to make tuning easier for a beginner.

As a beginner, this violin, with it's new bridge, etc, will be fine to learn on. Depending on how quickly you progress, it might be playable for a very long time.

The value of the instrument - to you - is primarily sentimental, and that's awesome! You are playing your Granddad's antique violin! :) And - you are adding to the family history by playing it while your son is learning to play!

Don't dismiss that sentimental value...I am never getting rid of my first violin (largely unplayable) because of the personal history that comes with it.

As to the importance of 17 vs 22 mm. I assume that's a significant value, but hopefully someone who can explain that significance better will chime in.

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That's a Suzuki.

For the 17mm measurement this must be the distance from the fingerboard to the top measured from the edge if the fingerboard (in violin making we don't say fretboard)

If the violin sounds ok to you right now, I wouldn't worry about the rather flat angled fingerboard. (17mm is low) However if the sound is muffled and diffuse it is advisable to get the neck angle corrected. 

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I found this one on Worthpoint, just so we have a visual:

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vintage-masakichi-suzuki-violin-sss-1801778279

However...was this type made before the end of WW2? I don't think so...but it was Suzuki Senior who owned the company...

Suzuki was born in 1898. He studied violin in Germany in the 1920s. But he didn't develop his method until after that...

I'll see if I  can find a date for violin manufacturer - unless someone knows?

Here's the guitar history...which is more or less the same...but not quite...

https://logobossreference.netlify.app/suzuki-guitar-serial-numbers.html

 

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21 minutes ago, Rue said:

I found this one on Worthpoint, just so we have a visual:

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vintage-masakichi-suzuki-violin-sss-1801778279

However...was this type made before the end of WW2? I don't think so...but it was Suzuki Senior who owned the company...

Suzuki was born in 1898. He studied violin in Germany in the 1920s. But he didn't develop his method until after that...

I'll see if I  can find a date for violin manufacturer - unless someone knows?

 

Thanks, This looks similar to mine, but mine is lighter and not as much striping on the back. The trademark is exactly the same.

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20200621_183820.jpg

Edited by Fiddle Dreamer
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18 minutes ago, Rue said:

I found this one on Worthpoint, just so we have a visual:

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vintage-masakichi-suzuki-violin-sss-1801778279

However...was this type made before the end of WW2? I don't think so...but it was Suzuki Senior who owned the company...

Suzuki was born in 1898. He studied violin in Germany in the 1920s. But he didn't develop his method until after that...

I'll see if I  can find a date for violin manufacturer - unless someone knows?

 

You can certainly see the peculiar back figure that was recently commented on in another thread.  This disappears in later Suzukis.   I'm wondering if the early ones had a laminated and molded back. :)

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9 hours ago, Rue said:

Either way, they were not expensive to begin with and were not well made.

Some of the 1910-20s Masakichi Suzuki (Nagoya, Nippon) violins can be good student instruments - I am not sure how this brand was connected to other Suzukis   I have had a few and, besides plainer maple and low overstands, the construction was good and tone can be quite decent.   I think they also made them from 1941- 43 at even higher grades.    Somewhere I picked up an excel file with Masakichi violin grades by price and year (starting in 1907) - , I can send it to anyone interested.

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I imagine one will always be able to find better instruments when looking through a large number of them. ^_^

At any rate...if the violin suits the purpose - at the moment - it's  a good violin!

I can't seem to find a solid timeline for the manufacture of Suzuki violins - but  I'm sure it exists...somewhere...

However, I did find a plethora for sale on Kijiji Ontario! All sizes! Maybe a Suzuki school was closing? :o

@Brad H - how many grades were there in 1907?

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2 hours ago, Brad H said:

 

Some of the 1910-20s Masakichi Suzuki (Nagoya, Nippon) violins can be good student instruments - I am not sure how this brand was connected to other Suzukis   I have had a few and, besides plainer maple and low overstands, the construction was good and tone can be quite decent.   I think they also made them from 1941- 43 at even higher grades.    Somewhere I picked up an excel file with Masakichi violin grades by price and year (starting in 1907) - , I can send it to anyone interested.

The Suzuki company was split in two at some point in the company history caused by a family quarrel. If I remember correctly there were then Kiso Suzuki and Nagoya Suzuki.

Mr Murata told me that he tried to get some information from the Suzuki company when he was writing a book about Japanese violin makers (never got published). He said that the Suzuki  company wouldn't disclose any detailed information about their history or give access to their company archive. 

 

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  • 9 months later...
On 6/21/2020 at 10:21 AM, Andreas Preuss said:

That's a Suzuki.

For the 17mm measurement this must be the distance from the fingerboard to the top measured from the edge if the fingerboard (in violin making we don't say fretboard)

If the violin sounds ok to you right now, I wouldn't worry about the rather flat angled fingerboard. (17mm is low) However if the sound is muffled and diffuse it is advisable to get the neck angle corrected. 

Greetings Andreas.  Enquiring for a student, about a triple s labelled violin.  Any idea when they started using that mark with the Made In Japan label?

Thank you

mm

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On 4/12/2021 at 8:08 PM, Mike Mitchell said:

Greetings Andreas.  Enquiring for a student, about a triple s labelled violin.  Any idea when they started using that mark with the Made In Japan label?

Thank you

mm

Must be from the earliest production. After Suzuki won awards for their violins, they displayed the medals on the labels. 
 

But I am not really an expert on the manufacturing history of the Suzuki company.

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