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To clean or not to clean


SEHatfield
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** edited to show more pics** I have what's been described as a markneukirchen Saxony violin. Let me preface by saying I am a rank beginner but still really like this violin. I'm attaching a pic showing a good bit of old rosen buildup. The violin is structurally sound and has no cracks.  Do you think I would do more harm by having this cleaned, or should I leave well enough alone. PS: I will post a series of pics of the instrument in another post. I have already learned much about German trade violins from this forum already. 

 

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Edited by SEHatfield
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To me this looks like discoloration of the varnish from rosin of the past.  However the picture is a bit blurry.  The varnish looks as if it has some  craquelure in that particular area. (Not caked rosin)I would leave it alone, especially since you mentioned you are a beginner at things.  

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Well...I can see why it might bother you.  And you certainly could have it cleaned.

Just don't attempt it yourself.  This type of cleaning requires expertise.

Ask me how I know...(and no...at least I didn't learn my lesson on a violin or on anything of value).

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35 minutes ago, Barry J. Griffiths said:

“Having this cleaned” is the question. Do you want to clean it yourself or have it done by a qualified repair person?

Barry, while it would be tempting to try, I would opt for a professional.  

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Thanks for the clearer picture!  I believe your violin probably was made to look that way when it was new.  What I think of as fake old.  Usually you find this alligator finish between the f holes and painted on fake cracks.      

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The more important thing to do is IMO to make a proper bridge than to use the actual of the adjustable feet type which destroys every clear tone.

The next thing is to look at the whole violin to find out if it’s from an origin where the varnish typically crackled and darkened this way (old Mittenwald or English for example) and could possibly be cleaned, or if it’s really a Markneukirchen copying this appearance. In this case the dark color was deliberately applied and isn’t removable without destroying the varnish. From the photos above that’s not to decide.

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The now updated photos show an artificially “screwdriver “ antiqued Markneukirchen/Schönbach cottage industry made violin. There the “dirt” and the fake cracks are part of the antiquing, as I wrote above.

Note : It is not a “Schweitzer” and mustn’t be named this way, no matter what the label is telling.

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4 hours ago, Blank face said:

The now updated photos show an artificially “screwdriver “ antiqued Markneukirchen/Schönbach cottage industry made violin. There the “dirt” and the fake cracks are part of the antiquing, as I wrote above.

Note : It is not a “Schweitzer” and mustn’t be named this way, no matter what the label is telling.

Could you say more about your comment re "Schweitzer"?  

Thanks!

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3 minutes ago, Nick Allen said:

You might be able to scrape that off. 

Looks like it’s running down off the f hole too ha. In fact there are a few all over artistically placed. I always wondered why they didnt make them look more like real cracks and run them straight down the grain. 

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7 hours ago, Al Cramer said:

Could you say more about your comment re "Schweitzer"?  

Thanks!

Many of this type are bearing a fake Johann Baptist Schweitzer label with an unadequte making date, therefore many uninformed people decribed them as "Schweitzer". The real JB Schweitzer from Budapest was a very fine maker who probably would rotate in his grave knewing about such an abuse.

Similar applies to Jacob Stainer from Absam, too, in regards of odd bulbous archings.

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12 minutes ago, Blank face said:

Many of this type are bearing a fake Johann Baptist Schweitzer label with an unadequte making date, therefore many uninformed people decribed them as "Schweitzer". The real JB Schweitzer from Budapest was a very fine maker who probably would rotate in his grave knewing about such an abuse.

Similar applies to Jacob Stainer from Absam, too, in regards of odd bulbous archings.

I posted pictures of a real Schweizer here https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/346698-alois-engleder-budae-1847/&do=findComment&comment=928438 for this reason 

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Many thanks to the people who posted info re the Schweitzer label.

The topic interests me because one of my instruments has that label. It's a very strange fiddle, based I think on the large Amati pattern: am pretty sure that the neck graft is fake, but the (repaired) cracks in the table are real. The 1-pece back is really cool: I think it's slab cut maple, and there's this vein of some sort that runs partway thru right-to-left and the wood has sort of deformed around it. Mostly I play folk and jazz, and for that I prefer my big boomy Maginni; but sometimes I noodle around with old Spanish tunes  (am a huge fan of Veronika Skuplik ) and this fiddle is perfect for that sound.

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...
11 hours ago, SEHatfield said:

Thanks to all for all the great information and comments. 

I realized I forgot to ask if it's possible to tell if it's prewar or post war, or any era? 

Thanks again

I think pre-WWI, but after 1890 (a shot in the dark, and I actually would enjoy the experts' correction if it's forthcoming.)

For what it's worth, I think your best investment is a microfibre cleaning cloth. And since nobody brought it up, I'd hedge on your asking (not cheap, but poor!) but if it winds up a fair bargain (hint: a bad application of magical violin fluid would significantly lower my inclination to offer for it in the first place) I think I'd enjoy playing it as it comes, no extra "how 'bout I throw in a..."[whatever] necessary. Unless you have a new chinrest that you haven't tried out yet. ;-D

@AlCramer Out of curiosity, is your Maggini patterned more after the actual known instruments, or are you calling it that because it may have double purfling lines and is labeled such? You will see it come up time and again if you stick around. But figure out how important is the distinction, and after awhile one of the Meistergeigenbauern will join you for a liter of... well, whatever musicians drink these days. Leftover dishwashing water, from the tales I've heard

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