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Nice Mirecourt shop violin; any further comment as to origin?


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It's funny because the experts in the trainers/sneakers field actually smell shoes as a legitimate way of telling if they are genuine or not. The genuine ones have a certain smell and the fake ones (often from china) have a kind of nasty chemical small. All very curious.

 

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Most solvents that I've used or experienced (:rolleyes:) don't actually reek.

They may smell strongly - and even the furniture we've had that off-gassed (for a long long time in a couple of instances), didn't have a stench.

 

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2 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

Why is it “definitely Chinese”?

I find people who say it is definitely Chinese because my xxxx is ten feet long and Basta, just as tiresome as people who say that they are sure it’s French.

I would add, that I can’t recognise what it is

IMHO, given the global availability of materials and techniques commonly used in modern violins, that may be as far as anyone can get, especially when limited to looking at photographs.  :)

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In my very limited experience, I have never seen a Chinese instrument with the elevated fingerboard at the end of the pegbox, but this seems very common in Romanian work. Also that varnish looks more typical of Romanian violins than Chinese trade instruments.

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1 hour ago, GeorgeH said:

In my very limited experience, I have never seen a Chinese instrument with the elevated fingerboard at the end of the pegbox, but this seems very common in Romanian work. Also that varnish looks more typical of Romanian violins than Chinese trade instruments.

What are you smoking?  Choose the view of the scroll from the treble side:

https://bridgewoodandneitzert.london/product/violin-jay-haide-2021-stradivari/

Jay Haides are hardly the only Chinese fiddles with a pegbox drop.  Scott Caos have pegbox drop too. 

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14 hours ago, Hempel said:

What are you smoking?  Choose the view of the scroll from the treble side:

https://bridgewoodandneitzert.london/product/violin-jay-haide-2021-stradivari/

Jay Haides are hardly the only Chinese fiddles with a pegbox drop.  Scott Caos have pegbox drop too. 

The higher end and select models of "Scott Cao" are made in the good ol' USA. I have been to the workshop previously, and later, his attached workshop and saw fiddles being made in both places, as well as a number of assistants. 

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12 hours ago, fragslap said:

...what does "starting to show some corduroy" mean?

"Corduroy" refers to the bumpy texture of some spruce tops which have small ridges and valleys running lengthwise and corresponding to the grain of the wood.  "Starting to show some corduroy" seems to assume that corduroy is a feature that develops over time.  I'm not sure if it does; I always thought that it is present or absent depending on the way the wood surface is finished, i.e., scraping versus sanding, etc.

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On 3/29/2022 at 12:14 PM, Rue said:

It's more a process of elimination.

If it has that distinct 'Chinese varnish' smell...I'd say it's from China.

If it doesn't have that distinct 'Chinese varnish' smell...it could still be from China...^_^

 

p.s.  If I were an Eastern European maker of decent violins, I might be a tad irritated to have my work summarily dismissed as being Chinese...given that it's still being used as a pejorative. :ph34r:

Fair enough, I agree with the converse/inverse statement.  

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I am no expert when it comes to instruments originating from any country, but Southern California ( and Northern ) is a major hub of imported Asian products. Certainly, many who have attended bowed instrument competitions have noticed that quality is improving everywhere. I become surprised and am caught off guard when makers submit copies of known Strads and DGs as it become very diffcult to assess the wood work. Makers of these copies are also most likely viewing the same photographs I see... It is strange looking past the varnish to just the shapes and thinking how wonderfully so many of these instruments are constructed.

These makers submit from all over the world, and sadly many can not attend. Sound and set up are another area to evaluate, but generally, the two Cremonese makers have homogenized the creativity a bit, understandably, but have establish the standard for competition criteria.

This is hardly a bad thing from a players stand point. Uniform standards are a good thing for many.

The point I would like to make, is that there are incredible moderately priced instruments coming from Asia ( and Eastern Europe, Poland and elsewhere ) with European woods. They may have yet to make it to the opposite sides of the world.

I thought I saw a CNC'd European made instrument with distinctly Chinese wood several years ago.

As for the finishes, the better Chinese ( for example ) manufacturers are taking the time to use improved varnishes. There are certainly differences and if one were to examine an evolution of the Chinese product, it compresses into 30 years. From clear coats and sprays to aged antiqued oil varnishes. From Chinese woods to European. Bow woods require a completely new post.

As for manufacturing, not necessarily craft... and that virtual distinction becomes highly blurred at times, as a teacher and consumer, I am grateful. I purchase bowed instruments beyond my means simply because they are better. And I purchase moderately priced bowed beyond my means simply because they are better.

As for the OP instrument, it just looks too new and uniform and undisturbed on a phone. Not a negative, just a detail. If I had seen it on a computer screen, some other details might have been distracting. I was in a shop a decade ago and on the upper shelf was a brand new instrument. Unplayed. I knew at several meters away, Bissolotti. Fuller rounded edges, it glowed amongst the Roccas and Fagnolas and the Sgarabotto. I knew, that a new instrument, in a prestigious location had to be something important. And it glowed, because the finish was new and the soft, low full spectrum lighting, excellent.

Maestro Richwine described the instrument as "Nice" and it is. If it had been more travel- displaced and perhaps struck on a corner or C- bout or worn on the upper bout and the button more simple, it might have been and French- like.

I agree that smell can be an indicator, but most would be the off- gassing from the cases? And with the instrument sitting within hot cases in a container for several months, would the instrument absorb that smell?

LR Baggs, pick ups have a Carpenter Jack as a 1/4" jack option, to see one. It is essentially a chin rest clamp. Jack, is slang or shortening of the word for Jackscrew or Screw- Jack, a long threaded, floating shaft, maybe.

It looks like a nice instrument. Does the sound make you think the instrument originated France?

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On 3/30/2022 at 9:11 AM, Brad Dorsey said:

"Corduroy" refers to the bumpy texture of some spruce tops which have small ridges and valleys running lengthwise and corresponding to the grain of the wood.  "Starting to show some corduroy" seems to assume that corduroy is a feature that develops over time.  I'm not sure if it does; I always thought that it is present or absent depending on the way the wood surface is finished, i.e., scraping versus sanding, etc.

It's both but they look a bit different. you can certainly finish a top or back with the corduroy effect but there is a ripple which can and often does develop with time as the instrument ages either because of wood shrinkage or because the instrument had a heavy varnish which started out smooth but then shrunk into the grain of the top. All of these look a bit different. To me the OP looks like a newish violin where the corduroy was intentionally left by scraping.

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On 3/29/2022 at 11:55 AM, GeorgeH said:

In my very limited experience, I have never seen a Chinese instrument with the elevated fingerboard at the end of the pegbox, but this seems very common in Romanian work. Also that varnish looks more typical of Romanian violins than Chinese trade instruments.

George,

I just did a quick survey of Chinese violins and violas in my shop. 13 different "workshops", 11 had a step.

Not a trait to decide nationality. I was taught it at school 28 years ago, so it was already in use then, and commonly so.

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I can't see this violin as new, or to have been made during the time that China has been producing good violins (I mean post-Skylark).

The step in the neck for the fingerboard is a common Mirecourt trait, but also something that you see in many trade violins, so it's not a very useful trait for identification.

There is a Mirecourt model that looks very like this, I suppose from the 1940s/50s, and I wouldn't exclude this possibility, but really I have no idea what is ...

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11 hours ago, duane88 said:

George,

I just did a quick survey of Chinese violins and violas in my shop. 13 different "workshops", 11 had a step.

Not a trait to decide nationality. I was taught it at school 28 years ago, so it was already in use then, and commonly so.

Thanks, duane. My experience with Chinese trade violins is very limited, so I appreciate learning the results of your informal survey.

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