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German Trade Violin - Original varnish?


WartimeConsigliere
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Good evening (or morning or day, as the case may be),

I'm considering this violin as a backup instrument. Unless I have been a poor pupil here, this is a German trade violin, probably Markneukirchen. I'm aware the bridge is rubbish and the string windings are poorly done. Interior plate surfaces are smooth throughout. Blocks and lining are spruce.

1. Does the varnish look original?

2. As German trade instruments go, where does this rank in terms of craftsmanship and quality of wood?

Thank you. I appreciate your thoughts and expertise. I'm not a dealer or collector, just a (bad) player.

 

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1 hour ago, deans said:

The varnish looks original to me. Looks like its in good shape.  If you like it its fine. But in most cases I'd tell somebody to pass and get a well set up Chinese instrument. 

 

A newbie question. Why would a well set up $1 - 1.5K Chinese violin be a better choice than this one?

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5 hours ago, WartimeConsigliere said:

Thank you VDA. Asking price is $1K.

Sounds nice with new Dominants. Not amazing. Bright, open, clear, but not particularly rich. Might improve with proper setup.

I will have to have new bridge, sound post adjustment, new tailpiece, and new chin rest. I expect that will add up to $500 easily.

 

What's wrong with the current set up that you think spending $500  might enrich the sound?

 

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7 hours ago, WartimeConsigliere said:

As German trade instruments go, where does this rank in terms of craftsmanship and quality of wood?

As German trade instruments of this type go, workmanship looks about average to me. The quality of wood below average (wide wavy grain in the top and faint curl in the maple). 

I am not confident that you're going to get a dramatic difference in tone by changing the setup unless it is very poorly set-up now. I don't recommend you buy it unless you're happy with the way it sounds now, or can experiment with a SP adjustment before you pay for it.

Also, be sure the fingerboard is properly set-up and neck length is correct.

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2 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

As German trade instruments of this type go, workmanship looks about average to me. The quality of wood below average (wide wavy grain in the top and faint curl in the maple). 

I am not confident that you're going to get a dramatic difference in tone by changing the setup unless it is very poorly set-up now. I don't recommend you buy it unless you're happy with the way it sounds now, or can experiment with a SP adjustment before you pay for it.

Also, be sure the fingerboard is properly set-up and neck length is correct.

I know absolutely zilch about the building of a violin but am fascinated by your perception with the grain in the wood, what constitutes good grain, I really do want to know, as I wouldn’t have noticed the waviness in a thousand years if you hadn’t pointed it out, forgive my ignorance on the subject.

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1 hour ago, Stringy said:

I know absolutely zilch about the building of a violin but am fascinated by your perception with the grain in the wood, what constitutes good grain, I really do want to know, as I wouldn’t have noticed the waviness in a thousand years if you hadn’t pointed it out, forgive my ignorance on the subject.

There is a bit of wavy grain in the instrument. As in; not straight. It's an aesthetic issue, not really a tonal one. Put it this way, it didn't bother Mr. S much.

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Thank you all for the comments.

The bridge is of poor quality, very heavy, and warped. The photos I provided do not show the bridge in current state. 

Sospiri/Doug - most of the upgrades I proposed (tailpiece, chin rest) will have little to no effect on sound. It seems reasonable that a new bridge (lighter and properly fit to the table) and SP adjust will have an effect, presumably beneficial but no guarantee. I only live near one luthier - he is good but $$$.

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42 minutes ago, WartimeConsigliere said:

Thank you all for the comments.

The bridge is of poor quality, very heavy, and warped. The photos I provided do not show the bridge in current state. 

Sospiri/Doug - most of the upgrades I proposed (tailpiece, chin rest) will have little to no effect on sound. It seems reasonable that a new bridge (lighter and properly fit to the table) and SP adjust will have an effect, presumably beneficial but no guarantee. I only live near one luthier - he is good but $$$.

I know from my own experiences that minor changes in the bridge and soundpost can produce major changes in sound, as can a change in tailpiece type (including changes to tailgut and afterlength).  Even chinrests can have some effect.  I'd see changing all of them at once as a serious roll of the dice, and would instead recommend an incremental approach.  Of course, I have the blessed luxury of being able to make any changes myself, and tweak the setup to my own satisfaction without having to take a road trip somewhere.  :)

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50 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

I know from my own experiences that minor changes in the bridge and soundpost can produce major changes in sound, as can a change in tailpiece type (including changes to tailgut and afterlength).  Even chinrests can have some effect.  I'd see changing all of them at once as a serious roll of the dice, and would instead recommend an incremental approach.  Of course, I have the blessed luxury of being able to make any changes myself, and tweak the setup to my own satisfaction without having to take a road trip somewhere.  :)

I agree with everything you say. I I think the best minds here agree that sound post tweaking is an issue of getting a good fit rather than some seeking some supposed tonal improvement, and this is my belief too.

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41 minutes ago, sospiri said:

I agree with everything you say. I I think the best minds here agree that sound post tweaking is an issue of getting a good fit rather than some seeking some supposed tonal improvement, and this is my belief too.

A sound post can be very well-fit but in the wrong place to bring out the core tone of a violin. A well-fit sound post can be moved around in the "sweet spot," remain well-fit, and still dramatically change the tone of a violin.

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15 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

A sound post can be very well-fit but in the wrong place to bring out the core tone of a violin. A well-fit sound post can be moved around in the "sweet spot," remain well-fit, and still dramatically change the tone of a violin.

I don't  believe that to be the case. This idea of searching the sweet spot is a wild goose chase attended with psycoacoustic delusion.

I have spent enough time testing this idea and so have a few others who arrived at the same conclusion.

The common sense approach is to put the sound post in the best place structurally and ensure a good fit. 

 

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1 hour ago, sospiri said:

I don't  believe that to be the case. This idea of searching the sweet spot is a wild goose chase attended with psycoacoustic delusion.

I have spent enough time testing this idea and so have a few others who arrived at the same conclusion.

The common sense approach is to put the sound post in the best place structurally and ensure a good fit. 

 

As someone who does this for a living, I find your hypothesis wide of the mark.

Over 20 years of dealing with professional musicians, cutting thousands of sound posts, and even more adjustments has proved otherwise.

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31 minutes ago, Dave Slight said:

As someone who does this for a living, I find your hypothesis wide of the mark.

Over 20 years of dealing with professional musicians, cutting thousands of sound posts, and even more adjustments has proved otherwise.

I'm sure you are in the majority. But I play violin and many Luthiers don't

 Anyway, I agree with the Burgessmeister on this one, so I think I'm in good company.

 

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