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Violin ID help


Laura Carr
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I am looking for a violin upgrade for my 13 year old (serious student, 2nd chair in one of the best local youth orchestras), and have spent many hours over the past few weeks learning from the experts on this forum (thank you!). The violin in the pictures is an instrument my student is trying out (lovely sound, good playability). We are trying to confirm the origin of the violin and get a sense of its value. The instrument bears a Thomas Hesketh label. Thank you so much for taking a look at this!

Photos: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1JhQeYGF1JTmhcdOIal7T7SembzooH0jM?usp=sharing

 

 

Edited by Laura Carr
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Hi Laura, welcome to Maestronet!  None of your images seems to work, at least for me.  When you have posted ten times, you will be able to load images directly, but in the meantime, the best method would be to post them on a photo-hosting site and post the links here.  However, Three13 seems to be able to make it work (what was the secret?), and saying that this violin is "the usual" (that is, Saxon/Vogtland workshop violin) is perhaps not a bad thing in this sense... If indeed it sounds great, and is a pleasure to play, AND it is "the usual," then it ought to be a relatively inexpensive way to get those qualities. I have played a few of these violins that were great, and many more that were, uh, problematic, but the good ones can be really good. Anyway, I look forward to being able to see the violin in question...

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Thank you so much, Three13 and Palousian. Three13, I had this impression after reading A LOT on MN. Is there more than the scroll signs that led you to this conclusion? Palousian, sorry the pics did not work for you - I wondered about the pics not showing up as I saw in other threads. I uploaded them here as well: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1JhQeYGF1JTmhcdOIal7T7SembzooH0jM?usp=sharing

What would inexpensive be in this case? A range is fine, of course.

 

 

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27 minutes ago, palousian said:

Hi Laura, welcome to Maestronet!  None of your images seems to work, at least for me.  When you have posted ten times, you will be able to load images directly, but in the meantime, the best method would be to post them on a photo-hosting site and post the links here.  However, Three13 seems to be able to make it work (what was the secret?)

I just hit download on my phone - they did disappear after I looked at them. 

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1 hour ago, Laura Carr said:

Thank you so much, Three13 and Palousian. Three13, I had this impression after reading A LOT on MN. Is there more than the scroll signs that led you to this conclusion? Palousian, sorry the pics did not work for you - I wondered about the pics not showing up as I saw in other threads. I uploaded them here as well: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1JhQeYGF1JTmhcdOIal7T7SembzooH0jM?usp=sharing

What would inexpensive be in this case? A range is fine, of course.

 

 

The scroll was the biggest tip off, although the overall look seems pretty typical for a mid-grade example of the type. I can’t really speak to what a reasonable price is for something like this, but there are a lot of other people here who can.

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Buy a good violin. Ignore “step-up” stuff. Selling a violin is much more difficult than buying a violin, and the better quality by the easier it will be to sell when that time comes, and if she keeps it, a better violin will be far more rewarding.

Edit: I made my comment without having seen the violin, but having had a look I can say you’re on the right track. This appears to have some age and is in good condition, but the comment stands. Buy the best you can.

Edited by PhilipKT
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I am struck by PhilipKT's comment--"Buy the best you can."  It sounds so simple, doesn't it?

So, if you and your student have been to a bunch of violin shops and tried a lot of violins (both in your price range, and beyond--it's important to know what's out there), then if you came upon this violin and you and your student thought--this is the best-sounding/best-playing violin--then it doesn't matter if it is a Markneukirchen workshop violin, unless they want $5K for it (offer $1500).  If they want $1500, then, maybe... If they want $850 for it... well, then, maybe you found your deal.  If you went to one shop, and this was the only thing in your price range, then... more shopping is in order.  I'm sure you have noticed that what makes a violin expensive is not whether it has great sound and playability, but who made it when.  Some of these workshop violins really do sound and play wonderfully, and some very fancy violins don't sound so great and are cantankerous to play.  The intangible here is your judgment about the quality of the sound/playability. Has the teacher weighed in with an opinion?

If your budget was up to, say, $15K or something, then you should make sure you've tried plenty of finer instruments, but if you end up with a Markneukirchen workshop violin that sounds and plays great for under $1K, you will be able to sell it, if you can pry it out of your student's hands.  And you will have a budget left over for a good bow.  My two cents. 

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7 hours ago, Laura Carr said:

I am looking for a violin upgrade for my 13 year old...serious student...

My recommendation is simply to try as many instruments -- new and old -- as you can.  Go to a violin shop and try as many instruments as they will let you.  Have your student swap instruments with other players at the next orchestra rehearsal.  The more violins the student tries, the more he or she will find out what sounds he or she likes, what sounds he or she doesn't like and what different instruments cost

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Many thanks, everyone, the replies are very insightful and I am very grateful. The asking price for this violin differs by an order of magnitude from the ca. $1k mentioned in some of the replies here... Luckily we did our homework - and will probably be here often for second opinions on instruments :). It is our plan to try MANY instruments before we buy, as well as to have certainty that we got one of the best instruments we could for our money. We are willing to pay up to 15k for the instrument (a single-maker instrument should fit in this budget, so that's what we're looking for). I expect that we will have options (perhaps too many options!). I would love to get some opinions on best choices for this kind of budget - modern vs older, particular makers. We live in the US, but originally from Europe and travel there yearly - would it make more sense for us to look for an instrument in Europe?

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1 hour ago, Three13 said:

If your budget goes up to $15k, it might make sense for you to consider some up and coming contemporary makers - you can probably get a lot of bang for your buck in that area, and you won’t have to wonder who made the violin.

Any particular makers I should consider, in your opinion? Also, from what I can see, many contemporary-maker violins tend to be priced lower on 2nd-3rd owner - would it even make sense to, say, try to buy in workshops in Cremona?

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I don’t think that the maker’s proximity to Cremona has any real impact on the instrument’s tool value, and although there are some incredible makers in and around Cremona, I’m also aware of a number of instances where Chinese violins are finished there and sold as Italian.

Insofar as later resale is concerned, I’d expect that reselling anything that you buy at retail will be lower, whether it’s a new maker or an antique, assuming the market hasn’t gone up.

As far as recommendations are concerned, I have direct experience with a few luthiers in your price bracket and personally own a couple instruments by one of them. I’m happy to privately recommend someone, but don’t know that it would be fair of me to promote anyone’s work in a public forum, particularly one where there are a number of good candidates with whom I just don’t have any experience.

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