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Are Americans running out of fiddles?


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Well...all I can add is what I've witnessed locally.

There must have been relatively few (if any) quality violins available in the (poor) prairie area.  Settlers didn't have money.  The upper classes might not have had access to teachers, so didn't bother importing good quality instruments, and then had few venues in which to perform or even concerts.

Add to that the notion that all violins are valuable to begin with and that age automatically adds even more value.  (Thanks Tony!!! ^_^).

Old, true rubbish violins, tend to sell for at least $500 around here.  It's a bit mind-boggling.

In Ontario and maybe in Quebec, it's likely a bit better, but I don't know how much.

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Nope, we Americans aren't running out of fiddles. You would probably be shocked (Not Jacob!) at how many instruments I have to turn down for purchase or consignment. Perhaps I should buy them all and send them to T2 as a new business plan...

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1 hour ago, jacobsaunders said:

I was wondering if an ugly “Dutzendarbeit” with a joke Klotz label is generally so expensive in America. This lunch time today, a lady came around and gave me one she had found in her attic (absolutely free) to save her having to drive it down to the tip Lot 188 | T2 (t2-auctions.com)

Cough cough If it’s cluttering up the house, I’m happy to take it off your hands.

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Seriously though, using once again my own area as an example. A family with $3500-$5000 to spend, which is not at all unusual for this area, have the option of buying a brand new cello from China, attractive and well-made, and exactly duplicated in the countless thousands, so much so they could go to any one of the other New instrument shops and find the exact same instrument for sale.

Or, they can choose a century plus years old German cello( or French, mustn’t discriminate) Which may have some minor damage on it(Bear in mind if it has major damage we’re not interested.) It was probably made with better wood than the modern equivalent, and shows, probably, more hand work. That does not necessarily mean the quality is better, but it does make it more individual, even though it itself is one of countless thousands that were made at the time.

But where are those countless thousands now? Attrition has claimed the vast majority of them, Either completely destroyed or damaged beyond reasonable repair. So just because 1 million were made, doesn’t mean that even a half million remain

Regarding sound, a lot of these modern instruments from China sound really good. I have never played a bad Jay Haide, for instance. However I’ve never played a Jay Haide That sounded different from any other Jay Haide. They are so alike they were George Lucas’ inspiration for “The Clone Wars.”
Those old German instruments, maybe because of the different handwork they experienced, Or wood from different sources and of different ages, or just age itself, tend to have a delightfully individual sound that is quite refreshing. The second best cello I bought was an unknown instrument made around World War II, that is called “the rat” because while it was sitting in the attic it got chewed on by a rat. It sounds astonishing.

There are lots of reasons to choose a modern student instrument, but the argument is definitely not one way. Probably in Jacobs town, where these instruments were born, they are indeed falling out of the rafters, but in Texas, not so much.

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7 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

...even though it itself is one of countless thousands that were made at the time.

But where are those countless thousands now? ...

...notices that Jacob has an astonishingy large ash pile in the back garden...beside the burning barrel...

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3 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

I was wondering if an ugly “Dutzendarbeit” with a joke Klotz label is generally so expensive in America. This lunch time today, a lady came around and gave me one she had found in her attic (absolutely free) to save her having to drive it down to the tip Lot 188 | T2 (t2-auctions.com)

I'm surprised that you think they can't get up to the $1800 they hope for...

This is clearly the super deluxe model, as can be seen by the generous amount of extra screwdriver antiquing, particularly evident on the back. I'd wager they even used a new screwdriver, box fresh, as it dug and gouged into the virgin varnish, leaving a scene of devastation in its wake.

This extra effort with the screwdriver, would in their view, seem to negate the devaluation caused by the broken out neck, which has been put back in a half arsed fashion, and lack of an ebony fingerboard.

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5 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

I was wondering if an ugly “Dutzendarbeit” with a joke Klotz label is generally so expensive in America.

In my opinion, that isn't the only example of inflated prices in these listings.

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On 7/14/2021 at 3:22 PM, LSF2 said:

No way are we running out in my area (Salt Lake City).  Several years ago a student and her violinist dad came to my house to try a new fiddle, they had a handful of violins with them, of the various older “Dutzendarbeit” types of every description, meaning older, attic-find type fiddles with trade and fictitious labels, the stock of various part-time local dealers who find, fix up, and sell those sorts of things.  They told me the ones they had were selected from 80(!) fiddles they had tried, and the asking prices were not cheap (around $3500).  The ones they had sounded pretty good, by the way, and I didn't win the "contest".

I am not surprised that their finds sounded good (I've seen plenty of that), but I've been somewhat perplexed at the massive increase in "rubbish" prices over the last 10 years.  It appears to me that, as soon as dealers and auction houses began putting higher prices on antique trade violins, the consumers with the money to spend magically appeared.  :huh:

Not that I'm complaining........  :lol:

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For the record, “and teak“ specifically refers to an object that is at least 100 years old. Anything aged between 25 and 99 years is, “vintage“ and an antique violin in excellent condition will almost certainly have a reasonably good sound.

Mind you, they aren’t all in excellent condition, and they weren’t all well made in the first place. And junk that is 100 years old remains junk. But good stuff it’s 100 years old will be at least as good if not better, so it is still worth looking for.

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7 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

Nice pictures of a cheap and nasty Schönbach "Dutzendarbeit", that had the neck broken off and glued back on. A fine study in screwdriver ageing. Is that what you wish to document here?

Jacob, I see what you mean, and I appreciate your comments, however there are doubtless people here, including me, who would appreciate the time taken to go into a little bit of detail. For instance, would it be possible for you to do a post that includes examples of “screwdriver antiquing” or other artificially applied antiquing, Examples, both of good work and sloppy, where the neck has been broken and reattached, including examples of bricks, both good(? Are there good ones or does the presence of a brick automatically indicate sloppy work? Is “brick” even an official term?) and bad, perhaps showing whether the Ebony crown results from a repair, or is original construction?

I do not know what else I am missing when looking at this instrument, and I’ve been looking for 30 years. I would have seen the antiquing, because it just doesn’t look real.   Also, I hate antiquing in new instruments, so I tend to notice it in old ones. I would also have seen the broken neck, but if it were better done I might have missed it, which is one reason I make the request. 

Your eyes are very educated, and You have a lot to offer, and I would imagine that even your fellow experts would enjoy reading whatever you share.

Today is Sunday, Church is over with, and you have an afternoon free to do as you wish, so ‘tis a perfect time To write today’s lecture on bogus old instruments.

Thanking you in advance…

:-)

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8 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

For instance, would it be possible for you to do a post that includes examples of “screwdriver antiquing”

This is actually a good example. Just look at the first and third pictures to see the dents made by hitting and poking the back with a flat head screwdriver.

Spending the afternoon here using the search function would likely answer your other questions.

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4 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

Have you gone cross-eyed yet?

It just occurred to me to ask if there are any old instruments, handmade, by real makers, of genuine quality, that also have artificial antiquing? I shouldn’t think so, but that is why I am asking.

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19 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

It just occurred to me to ask if there are any old instruments, handmade, by real makers, of genuine quality, that also have artificial antiquing? I shouldn’t think so, but that is why I am asking.

certainly there are

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2 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

There are doubtless people here, including me, who would appreciate the time taken to go into a little bit of detail. For instance, would it be possible for you to do a post that includes examples of “screwdriver antiquing

 

856513013_screwdriverantiquing.thumb.jpg.e68e422ec11ad72b7b47e6bbcc40189d.jpg

1 hour ago, PhilipKT said:

It just occurred to me to ask if there are any old instruments, handmade, by real makers, of genuine quality, that also have artificial antiquing? I shouldn’t think so, but that is why I am asking.

Vuillaume, for example, although there are hundreds of others.

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10 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

A fine study in screwdriver ageing.

Surely you meant very poorly executed screwdriver ageing ? Its hard to believe that anyone would be fooled by it.

And anyway, why do these bodgers think that an old violin is going to be covered in that sort of abuse ?

I have just looked at my 1820 violin and it has very few marks on it even though it has obviously been well used during its long life. Thats why  violins come with cases.

 

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