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I bought a 20s Roth, under the supervision of EH ROth for about $1000, couldn't in good conscience sell it for more than $2000, it just didn't sound that good, and the 50s Roths I've bought have been real duds, Had a 72 that was really good though, and a high end 20s one that was exceptional, but at full retail high end store prices, you're paying 50% for the label and the mystique of the company, equivalent quality  non Roth violins can be had for half as much.

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2 hours ago, deans said:

Actually I think $10K price range is no man's land in the violin market. I would recommend that people get a good student instrument in the 2-3K range and play that until they can save up 20-25K.

This seems a bit of a sweeping statement, and is patently not the case that there aren't any good violins between 3k and 20k, or that 10k is a violin black hole.

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3 minutes ago, Wood Butcher said:

This seems a bit of a sweeping statement, and is patently not the case that there aren't any good violins between 3k and 20k, or that 10k is a violin black hole.

I agree that there are many many great instruments in this price range. I have my favorites for sure. And certainly not everyone wants to sink a lot of cash into a piece of wood. But I just think the ~10K range to 20K can still potentially represent a significant jump, especially when it comes to contemporary makers. If you can hang onto a solid student instrument, save up, bypass this whole range,  manage to get into the 20K range, a lot more doors can potentially open.

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Price is not proportional to the quality of a string instrument as a musical instrument.

Unfortunately, the price of a new instrument by most new makers is like the price of a new car. It drops as soon as you walk out of the shop.

 

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16 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Unfortunately, the price of a new instrument by most new makers is like the price of a new car. It drops as soon as you walk out of the shop.

Not necessarily. The price of any violin purchased retail will put you deep in the hole, unless you are good at selling violins retail yourself.  But people buy from shops anyway knowing that.

I have to say, Roths do seem to hold their value and the wholesale/retail gap is actually relatively small. That can be a big plus if you think you may want to ditch it later. 

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The varnish on this instrument (OP's) is very much line the 20's Eugene Meinels.  They were supposedly made in the Roth shop, weren't they?  The varnish on every Eugene Meinel I"ve seen (including one in my shop) is very different than 20's and 30's Roth's.  Could they have used this on some cheaper models?  I agree with Martin that is seems  concerning they would mix up the model's lilke this.......

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I remember some unusual interaction with the Roth firm about a violin from the late 1930s. It left me with the distinct impression that there were some skeletons in the closet.

In particular the relationship between the firm in Germany and the retail arm in the US seems to have got a bit out of kilter. I'm guessing that a few violins of indeterminate origin became EH Roths complete with labels, brands and serial numbers, although they didn't start out that way.

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On 1/23/2021 at 10:23 PM, Shelbow said:

The ops brand looks like its made from two separate brand stamps and isn't lined up properly which is different to the genuine brands that seem to be made using a single brand stamp.

Î don‘t see this - they all look the same. The last N a little too far out, the horizontal bar in the ROTH H too high. Same in the violin that you want to buy. Who would make a stamp with these inaccuracies? That‘s as much work as to make the whole copy. This varnish I have seen other other EH Roth fiddles. At least I can‘t see a cheap Eastern European modern violin here. I would ask Herr Roth and pay he EUR170 if I liked it tonally - let us know what he says. The price is a different issue, I would not spend this amount of money for a Roth. 

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Maybe there's no big use in argeuing long about the brand - in my eyes it's still standing out from the rest presented here, though of course somehow within a wider range. The reason could be, as Martin suggested, that it was put in there by an American wholesaler for the Roth firm who had a kind of different brand. Strange that the Roth expert didn't say anything about the odd serial number which definitely looks manipulated by a heavy hand, but it's also possible that this was regulary done this way by some outlier shop. Also the odd look of the varnish could be due to lightning and some overpolishing, and the new and cheap looking fittings are adding to the impression of some newly made and manipulated fiddle.

Taking everything together the collective impression that there's something odd with it says something, especially that the violin would be hardly accepted as a high range genuine Roth instrument of the period. Such instruments usually don't sell for prices even remotely close to these for undiscussed top range pieces (and such prices are paid, no matter if one personally would do it or wouldn't), even with a certificate of authenticity.

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On 1/26/2021 at 12:11 AM, Jeff White said:

The varnish on this instrument (OP's) is very much line the 20's Eugene Meinels.  They were supposedly made in the Roth shop, weren't they?  The varnish on every Eugene Meinel I"ve seen (including one in my shop) is very different than 20's and 30's Roth's.  Could they have used this on some cheaper models?  I agree with Martin that is seems  concerning they would mix up the model's lilke this.......

It's not varnish, its sprayed on lacquer. That's why it's in such good condition, because the finish is super hard and tough and means the sound it makes ain't worth the effort required to play it.

I'm surprised that any semi serious player would spend so much money on such an instrument. 

 

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13 minutes ago, sospiri said:

I'm surprised that any semi serious player would spend so much money on such an instrument. 

 

I am not an expert, but I trust many of you who are.  I am not even a "serious player."  I'm still quite the novice, but I can afford a better instrument than the low-quality violin I bought to try to learn this amazingly difficult instrument.  So I want to progress, and I can tell I need a better instrument to do that.  I wouldn't know the "right price" to pay for a violin, and so that is why I asked for opinions and advice on MN.  I got plenty of input, which I appreciate, and I followed the majority advice. I guess Sospiri did not read through this thread.  I think I've said at least 3 times I did not buy it.  I only had the instrument out on trial and returned it. 

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28 minutes ago, KB_Smith said:

I am not an expert, but I trust many of you who are.  I am not even a "serious player."  I'm still quite the novice, but I can afford a better instrument than the low-quality violin I bought to try to learn this amazingly difficult instrument.  So I want to progress, and I can tell I need a better instrument to do that.  I wouldn't know the "right price" to pay for a violin, and so that is why I asked for opinions and advice on MN.  I got plenty of input, which I appreciate, and I followed the majority advice. I guess Sospiri did not read through this thread.  I think I've said at least 3 times I did not buy it.  I only had the instrument out on trial and returned it. 

I understand and I am not directing any criticism to you. I am just adding to the debate about this instrument.

I agree with many of the other posters' points.

 

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1 hour ago, sospiri said:

It's not varnish, its sprayed on lacquer. That's why it's in such good condition, because the finish is super hard and tough and means the sound it makes ain't worth the effort required to play it.

I'm surprised that any semi serious player would spend so much money on such an instrument. 

 

I'm almost certain 30s Roth's did not use a spray lacquer finish, do you have any evidence to back up your assertion?

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24 minutes ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

I'm almost certain 30s Roth's did not use a spray lacquer finish, do you have any evidence to back up your assertion?

It was common in the 30s. Just look at the photos, the finish is still thick and shiny after all these years. That's lacquer.

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1 hour ago, sospiri said:

It's not varnish, its sprayed on lacquer. That's why it's in such good condition, because the finish is super hard and tough and means the sound it makes ain't worth the effort required to play it.

No, it is not lacquer. I have played a number of these instruments, including the one I posted, and I have not found a bad one yet.

In fact the one I posted in this threat was remarkably resonant, focused, and responsive, low to high.

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59 minutes ago, Wood Butcher said:

So, a thick, shiny finish can't be applied by a brush?

Yes it can

44 minutes ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

The instruments would sound like crap if they were finished in lacquer

So does any thick hard finish on a violin in my opinion.

37 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

No, it is not lacquer. I have played a number of these instruments, including the one I posted, and I have not found a bad one yet.

In fact the one I posted in this threat was remarkably resonant, focused, and responsive, low to high.

So are they all pristine shellac? 

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I emailed EH Roth a second time, describing some of the concerns raised in this MN discussion about this violin (including the finish, the new look of the wood inside, and particularly the brand anomalies).  I asked if he is certain this is an authentic Roth instrument and received this reply back from Wilhelm Roth:

 

Dear Mr. Smith,

Thank you for your e-mail. Thank you for your mail and the beautiful pictures.

These are original Ernst Heinrich Roth I instrument.

We can give you information about your instrument, so far as we can.

In our archive documents we can see, that this instrument “C - 410” is compare with

your pictures and we can see, that this instrument is genuine and it is a

Model No. 51 / 120-R. from the EHR concert line.

It was made 1936 here in Markneukirchen.

 

The rest of his email to me explained how to get today's price on the comparable violin, that he would normally charge 65 EU to provide this information but is giving it to me free, and how to order a new Certificate if I want one. 

and Mr. Roth also attached these comparison photos someone at EH Roth put together.  I don't have the trained eye some of you have, but I would say these two instruments are remarkably similar, right down to that brand with the overhanging H at the end of the top half.  I think I'll trust Mr. Roth's validation of this instrument:

 

1925-vs-1936_top.thumb.jpg.5e73d61436df93c2ec4b1e1b8ccd5066.jpg

1925-vs-1936_back.thumb.jpg.3d835587eb87474364fbdf0eaa88bb5e.jpg

1935-vs-1936_back_o.jpg.7411831867db843ce487d8935cce8939.jpg

1935-vs-1936_neck.jpg.f01eace9e188da706c774092292930bd.jpg

1935-vs-1936_label-brand.thumb.jpg.8fadc64d0ffb2cdd47aa8ab302eed7bf.jpg

Serialbook_1936.thumb.jpg.d64c22142926e23cfaa58fbe1f2a4201.jpg

 

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By the way, there was a lot of discussion in this thread about the hard and shiny finish on this violin.  I think part of the problem is the lighting I used to take the photos.  Just like I am not a very good violinist, I am also not a trained photographer and don't have professional lighting.  So, I positioned the violin right next to an open window with the morning sun streaming on it.  The glare was intense and washed out the violin in several spots in my original shots.  So I moved the violin back a little from the window and turned it at an angle to cut the glare, but I could not eliminate it.  So I think the shiny finish you see is more attributable to the lighting conditions in which the photos were taken than the varnish used and technique with which the varnish was applied to the instrument.

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I see quite a lot of minor differences but there's enough for me to be convinced that both violins share the same origin. 

The scrolls are finished very differently, the purfling material doesn't seem to be quite the same, the button, the varnish obviously.

And we still are left with the fact that the f holes on the OP violin are not Stradivarius f-holes. But the eyes are very much the same shape, and I can only assume that this violin got mis-labelled or was a reject Guarneri model.

The 1930s EH Roths are far from straightforward, and there are quite a few anomalies which I don't think the Roth firm want to delve into ... however, we don't criticize JTL for slapping a Barnabetti label into any number of wildly different qualities and models of violin - I somehow expect a bit more from EH Roth, whose serial numbers and model designations are their primary and unique selling point. 

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I haven’t followed this thread completely, but it seems to have a happy result. Every time I see one of these notes, I think about how nice it would be to be able to drop an email to Mr. Stradivarius and ask if this violin in the possession of Mr. Vuilluame is genuine.

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35 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

I haven’t followed this thread completely, but it seems to have a happy result. Every time I see one of these notes, I think about how nice it would be to be able to drop an email to Mr. Stradivarius and ask if this violin in the possession of Mr. Vuilluame is genuine.

What would you do if he said "Yes"

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