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LOB 350mm: What do I call it?


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I've had a 1911 H Th Heberlein violin for a few months that measures 350mm (caliper), and I've never known what to properly call it. It sounds fine, with no noticeable tonal loss due to its size. It's my understanding that the cutoff for 7/8  is accepted to be 748mm and down. Should I just price it as a 4/4, call out the LOB and let customers try the instrument out and see how they like it? If I present it as a 7/8, that will reduce interest in it considerably, as well as the price that I can ask.  This question is made more relevant by the fact that I am considering buying a Mittenwald violin of the same body length, as near as I can tell. I sell the occasional 7/8, but not often enough that I want more than one in stock at a given price point. If I can honestly sell a 350 LOB as a 4/4, that leaves me a little breathing room. I like to do the right thing, but don't see the point in being overly punctilious. Nor do I like hiding behind technicalities.  Opinions welcome!

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6 hours ago, Michael Richwine said:

I've had a 1911 H Th Heberlein violin for a few months that measures 350mm (caliper)

Hi Michael, if you measured the LOB using tape-over-the-back then it would be longer. In my experience, most LOB measurements are taken with measuring tape instead of calipers, although it is rarely specified what method is used.

I view anything with an LOB (tape) above 348mm as full-size.

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Thanks for the consensus! It does grow about 1mm if I measure with a tape, but that's why I use a caliper. It's a little small overall, but IME not many 100+ year old violins conform to ideal standards. When I think what we had for measuring tools as late as the 1950s (engraved beech sticks, survey chains), I wonder that things came out as well as they did!

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Full size.  My Matsuda after the Lafont Del Gesu is 351mm  and I'm not a pixie :-)

I think generally most violin family measurements are done with a tape. Yes I am geeky enough to own a giant vernier caliper but I record stuff with some cool Starrett brand tape measures I have found. (anybody have a favorite?)

DLB

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Maybe I’m the outlier, but I usually consider anything from 348-352 to be 7/8. There’s no absolute rule, but I’ve seen plenty of violins in that range called 7/8.

Body length isn’t the only thing that can make a violin feel smaller, though. A narrower neck, a shorter scale length, narrower bouts, or sloping shoulders can all contribute. It’s not uncommon for people to try some Guarneri models and think they must be shorter until they see the actual back length on a measuring tape. 

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