Antique violin repaired by HJ Alexander1922


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16 hours ago, Guydimitri said:

Thank you is it worth restringing and tuning. Sounds great with even the old strings but don’t know if worth restoring.

It looks to have ancient gut strings on, which will be well past their prime. Certainly it's worth having some new strings, and tuning doesn't cost anything.

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16 hours ago, Guydimitri said:

Thank you is it worth restringing and tuning. Sounds great with even the old strings but don’t know if worth restoring.

Welcome, and thanks for posting your pictures.

I don't see any major problems in the pictures, and it is likely to be a very serviceable pleasant-sounding violin.

Many of these violins came to America from Germany with thick or unfinished plates, and have been re-graduated, and perhaps that is what was done to yours by Mr. Alexander in 1922.

It is definitely worth getting checked out by a luthier to determine what needs to be fixed (if anything). If it has been sitting for a few years (or decades) it likely has some open seams that are easy for a luthier to close. 

I would recommend getting it checked out before you put on new strings and put tension on the top to be sure that the sound post and bridge are in the right place and that there are no cracks or joints that could open when tension is applied. Also, a professional cleaning will improve the appearance significantly.

Good luck, and please let us know how it turns out!

 

 

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29 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

 

Many of these violins came to America from Germany with thick or unfinished plates, and have been re-graduated, and perhaps that is what was done to yours by Mr. Alexander in 1922.

 

I would hesitate to second guess what repairs or vandalism have been perpetrated, just because some jerk has stuck a repair label in

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3 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

I would hesitate to second guess what repairs or vandalism have been perpetrated, just because some jerk has stuck a repair label in

Well, I did say "perhaps." But I would hesitate to call somebody that I did not know a "jerk." So we're different. :)

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21 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Well, I did say "perhaps." But I would hesitate to call somebody that I did not know a "jerk." So we're different. :)

Perhaps you’re right, however the tried and trusted rule of thumb is that the competence of the repairman is inversely proportional to the propensity to insert a repair ticket, particularly in cheap stuff like that

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  • 4 weeks later...

I see there are some cool people here who use constructive criticism or comments and then there are those hateful people who hate their own lives to throw out harsh unnecessary comments. This may be a cheap violin or a great violin. The repairer’s obituary states he was a master violin repairer So he must have been very good at his trade. The two comments stating words like jerk or cheap seem to be people I would never respect as far as people or experts. I appreciate the other comments. Thanks so much.

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By now, one hopes that you have been able to get the violin back in top playing condition, and any open seams were glued along with the new strings, sound post and bridge adjustments as necessary, and perhaps a bit of dressing of the fingerboard. I hope it sounds good. Was there a bow with the violin?

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3 hours ago, Guydimitri said:

I see there are some cool people here who use constructive criticism or comments and then there are those hateful people who hate their own lives to throw out harsh unnecessary comments. This may be a cheap violin or a great violin. The repairer’s obituary states he was a master violin repairer So he must have been very good at his trade. The two comments stating words like jerk or cheap seem to be people I would never respect as far as people or experts. I appreciate the other comments. Thanks so much.

The less you know, the more pompous you can get about it

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6 hours ago, Guydimitri said:

I see there are some cool people here who use constructive criticism or comments and then there are those hateful people who hate their own lives to throw out harsh unnecessary comments. This may be a cheap violin or a great violin. The repairer’s obituary states he was a master violin repairer So he must have been very good at his trade. The two comments stating words like jerk or cheap seem to be people I would never respect as far as people or experts. I appreciate the other comments. Thanks so much.

Actually no it could not be a great violin. This is an inexpensive, student violin although it may be fine for an amateur user. Also some one being described as a master violin repairer is pretty good evidence that he was no such thing. There are a handful of Americans who have been designated Master by the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers one of whom posts on this forum. There are also a few in this country who received Masters degrees from  Germany. Other than those few even those of us with many years of education and experience are simply Violin Makers. Telling the truth however bluntly should not merit disrespect.

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I doubt the term "master violin repairer" as used in the obituary was meant to imply it was a title; the term "master" is often used involving lutherie, such as when describing a "master" or "apprentice" when speaking of a teacher/student situation.  Sometime in the past, perhaps, the "master" was titled, but not in this case.

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15 hours ago, Ron1 said:

I doubt the term "master violin repairer" as used in the obituary was meant to imply it was a title; the term "master" is often used involving lutherie, such as when describing a "master" or "apprentice" when speaking of a teacher/student situation.  Sometime in the past, perhaps, the "master" was titled, but not in this case.

True enough. I was a bit put off by the OP's taking offense at some accurate but bluntly worded information from a very knowledgeable contributer. I myself will correct people who refer to me as a master violin maker. The indiscriminate use of such terms devalues the accomplishments of those who have earned them.

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On 2/18/2021 at 3:37 PM, jacobsaunders said:

The less you know, the more pompous you can get about it

I read a review Of a terrible book about China discovering America in the 1400s. The book itself is laughably bad, but the review that sticks in my mind stated simply, “Anything is possible when you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Oh did that make me laugh..

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On 2/18/2021 at 3:56 PM, Shelbow said:

Playing devils advocate here, an obituary is hardly going to say someone was an average or terrible violin repairer. Would be harsh when you're dead. 

On the other hand, when someone is dead, that’s when you can be most honest about them.

At the moment I am eagerly waiting for the opportunity to be honest about several people I know too well…

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4 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

True enough. I was a bit put off by the OP's taking offense at some accurate but bluntly worded information from a very knowledgeable contributer. I myself will correct people who refer to me as a master violin maker. The indiscriminate use of such terms devalues the accomplishments of those who have earned them.

Although I certainly agree completely with your sentiment, I would like to know why you do not consider yourself a master? I have come in contact with many people on this forum whom I feel to be complete masters of their craft, and you are among that tiny little group. What do you feel is missing?

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1 hour ago, PhilipKT said:

On the other hand, when someone is dead, that’s when you can be most honest about them.

At the moment I am eagerly waiting for the opportunity to be honest about several people I know too well…

Yeah you can put your views across when they are gone, but I doubt negative comments would make their way into an obituary unless someone was truly hated by everyone.

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2 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

Although I certainly agree completely with your sentiment, I would like to know why you do not consider yourself a master? I have come in contact with many people on this forum whom I feel to be complete masters of their craft, and you are among that tiny little group. What do you feel is missing?

I appreciate the kind words and certainly have made every effort to seek the best possible training and to practice my profession at the highest level possible. To my mind however being a professional is not just a matter of being able to work at a high level but rather having met specific educational requirements. An ambulance driver may successfully deliver babies but that will never make them an obstetrician.

I served a lengthy apprenticeship as a Violin Maker which included training in both manufacture and restoration of musical instruments. I am very proud to call myself a Violin Maker but recognize that their are others who have taken further training and or examinations such as offered under the German system or was briefly offered through the AFVBM. Those people have taken their training to a higher level and deserve their Master status which has been given by the consensus of their colleagues. Different countries have different regulations and customs regarding training and certifications of tradespeople but I feel pretty strongly that allowing people to declare themselves "Masters" of a trade without the oversight of the profession as a whole leads to a decline in standards.

 For anyone interested in the training and testing which I did complete please search "Maestronet AFVBM" for a previous discussion related to this.

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24 minutes ago, nathan slobodkin said:

I appreciate the kind words and certainly have made every effort to seek the best possible training and to practice my profession at the highest level possible. To my mind however being a professional is not just a matter of being able to work at a high level but rather having met specific educational requirements. An ambulance driver may successfully deliver babies but that will never make them an obstetrician.

I served a lengthy apprenticeship as a Violin Maker which included training in both manufacture and restoration of musical instruments. I am very proud to call myself a Violin Maker but recognize that their are others who have taken further training and or examinations such as offered under the German system or was briefly offered through the AFVBM. Those people have taken their training to a higher level and deserve their Master status which has been given by the consensus of their colleagues. Different countries have different regulations and customs regarding training and certifications of tradespeople but I feel pretty strongly that allowing people to declare themselves "Masters" of a trade without the oversight of the profession as a whole leads to a decline in standards.

 For anyone interested in the training and testing which I did complete please search "Maestronet AFVBM" for a previous discussion related to this.

Appreciate your comments, and your integrity. C S Lewis had a similar example in his discussion of the word “gentlemen,” which at one time was a specific word with a specific meaning and then became a generic word with no particular meaning at all.

In this instance, I would simply use “Master” or “master” or put some kind of qualifier before the word to distinguish between education and accomplishment. In this field, it is unlikely to become a Master without also being a master, but it is certainly possible to be a master without being a Master.

And for fun, I’m going to spend the next several hours translating that into grammatically correct German. What fun THAT will be.

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