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Please help identify this violin


amat
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I just got this violin, supposed to be 100+ years old, unfortunately there's no tag inside.  It's in very good condition, even come with an old case in excellent condition.  I am contemplating to have it setup by a luthier and use by a 13 year old whose growing out 3/4.  Not sure if it is worth the effort.  It doesn't have bridge of tailpiece or string.  As is, it weighs 15.03 oz (I was told a light violin is a good sign for a nice sounding violin).  Thanks.

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Edited by amat
the photo format (iphone) is not displayable here, so I switched to jped
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Deutschland... Looks like a solid instrument and in good shape. I am sure with proper set up it will make a good instrument for your kid. Perhaps better than many of the Chinese options in the $1000-$2000 range. 

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5 hours ago, Al Cramer said:

Could the savants please comment on the arching? It seems unusually flat, but maybe my eyes are deceived by the photos.  

Yes it's low, and yes the camera too close to show the true heights.

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I would assess that it is a typical “Duzendarbeit” from roughly the turn of the century (the one before last) in largely undamaged condition, which needs cleaning & the entire set-up renewed (ca. €500 incl. material) and that it would be eminently suitable for a 13 year old who has out-grown his ¾ violin, and is “worth it”

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, germain said:

Deutschland... Looks like a solid instrument and in good shape. I am sure with proper set up it will make a good instrument for your kid. Perhaps better than many of the Chinese options in the $1000-$2000 range. 

 

5 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

I would assess that it is a typical “Duzendarbeit” from roughly the turn of the century (the one before last) in largely undamaged condition, which needs cleaning & the entire set-up renewed (ca. €500 incl. material) and that it would be eminently suitable for a 13 year old who has out-grown his ¾ violin, and is “worth it”

Thank you both.  My dear daughter (I think I see more girls play violin than boys these days, and the opposite for cello as my son plays the Cello and I see the cello crowd quite often) has a $2000 3/4 Camillo Callegari violin.  The only reason I mentioned the price is that I don't play violin so I can't tell the quality of sound, price is an indication of sound quality somehow. The Camillo Callegari I believe falls under the "Chinese options in the $1000-$2000 range".   So this would be a step up both in size and sound quality once it is setup correctly?

As for dates, the old lady who sold it to me said it belongs to his grandfather who would've been 125 years  old.  That's how she thinks the violin is more than 100 years old.  I promised that once I set it up for my daughter, i'll send her pictures of it.  

I always enjoyed reading the threads to learn something about violin and the helpfulness of the expert here is much appreciated.  Thanks again.

 

Edited by amat
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On 6/28/2022 at 2:54 AM, sospiri said:

Yes it's low, and yes the camera too close to show the true heights.

I was going to reply but wasn’t able to because I was over the daily post limit as a newbie.  
Does this look better in terms of camera angle?  I do notice the inside edge of the f hole on the E side is noticeably higher than the outside edge ie the G side f hole is flat on while the E side is not even. I thought it has something to do with the sound post - it feel like it’s “propping” up the inside edge.  Is it a normal situation?
 

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1 hour ago, amat said:

I was going to reply but wasn’t able to because I was over the daily post limit as a newbie.  
Does this look better in terms of camera angle?  I do notice the inside edge of the f hole on the E side is noticeably higher than the outside edge ie the G side f hole is flat on while the E side is not even. I thought it has something to do with the sound post - it feel like it’s “propping” up the inside edge.  Is it a normal situation?

It happens sometimes. If the sound post is placed too far 'East' towards the outside of the bridge footing. The raising isn't fixed by fitting a new sound post further 'west' in the safest position directly behind the bridge footing. 

There are probably other scenarios that cause this too, but as long as there isn't a soundpost crack it shouldn't be a problem.

The most important thing is a good sound post fit which requires very careful cutting and fitting.

With regard to photo angles to show the arching heights, the ideal camera shot is side on, but far enough away to display the heights top and back in one shot. Just look at professional photos of famous instruments taken from side on.

These things aren't obvious to most sellers because you have to study thousands of photos to get a feel for the best camera angles.

 

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3 hours ago, amat said:

I was going to reply but wasn’t able to because I was over the daily post limit as a newbie.  
Does this look better in terms of camera angle?  I do notice the inside edge of the f hole on the E side is noticeably higher than the outside edge ie the G side f hole is flat on while the E side is not even. I thought it has something to do with the sound post - it feel like it’s “propping” up the inside edge.  Is it a normal situation?
 

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The treble side C-bout rib joints appear to be clamped togher with the joint lines in the center. Based on what I learned from MN, could this be indicative for built-on-back for such an instrument?

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5 hours ago, amat said:

I was going to reply but wasn’t able to because I was over the daily post limit as a newbie.  
Does this look better in terms of camera angle?  I do notice the inside edge of the f hole on the E side is noticeably higher than the outside edge ie the G side f hole is flat on while the E side is not even. I thought it has something to do with the sound post - it feel like it’s “propping” up the inside edge.  Is it a normal situation?
 

D0672240-CEF5-4EB2-8F42-B7AFDB6FF629.thumb.jpeg.5ec7e82753527f1afdfb93eba3162d99.jpeg

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It seems like a nice amount of edge on the lower bouts. No shrinkage = good material.

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5 hours ago, germain said:

It seems like a nice amount of edge on the lower bouts. No shrinkage = good material.

Or point to a sunken down arching. Such a single and isolated observation out of other context seems to be meaningless, if not directly misleading.

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7 hours ago, Blank face said:

Or point to a sunken down arching. Such a single and isolated observation out of other context seems to be meaningless, if not directly misleading.

I am not sure I understand. Many of these old German violins have little or no edge left due to shrinkage of the top mainly and poorly aged material. This instrument seems to have plenty of edge left both on top and bottom hence it is one of the better quality instruments IMHO

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2 hours ago, germain said:

I am not sure I understand. Many of these old German violins have little or no edge left due to shrinkage of the top mainly and poorly aged material. This instrument seems to have plenty of edge left both on top and bottom hence it is one of the better quality instruments IMHO

That simply isn’t true. Wood continues to move, and this is related to the atmosphere it is kept in, not because of “ageing”, whatever that might be. Initial shrinkage, when the log is converted to planks, takes place quite quickly.
 

Thousands and thousands of these violins were made. The majority, if not abused, or repeatedly taken apart and badly put back together, have the same, or very similar amount of edge overhang, as when new.

Dendrochronolgy has shown that some Del Gesù violins were made with bellies less than 2 years old. I guess these aren’t “better quality” because they won’t meet your “aged” wood theory.

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3 hours ago, germain said:

I am not sure I understand. Many of these old German violins have little or no edge left due to shrinkage of the top mainly and poorly aged material. This instrument seems to have plenty of edge left both on top and bottom hence it is one of the better quality instruments IMHO

There were a lot of discussions about wood shrinkage, percentual rates etc. here which I didn't followed up or recall completely, but the quintessence of all is IMO and practical experience that all the shrinkage and swelling is to the biggest part compensated by the arching.

It means, if the glue joints betwen belly and ribs are stable there's always "much edge" left, because the arching flattens out due to the tension, but the edge still keeps the same. Just when you're opening the violin this tension and flattening will be released and you will notice that the "enough edge" has disappeared at the moment you're going to put it all together again.

An assumed wood quality doesn't change anything to this.

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The question you posed regarding wether the quality of this instrument is one step up compared to what your daughter played before cannot be answered by us online. The instrument itself would probably retail at about the same price or even a bit below what your daughter is currently playing. However, price is not a very good indicator of playing qualities and sound quality. I'm a cello teacher and in this price catechory everything from quite nice to terrible is possible. My advise, as the violin is yours already, would be to get a top notch setup at a lutier with a good reputation (ask the teacher!) for 600 $, then see how it sounds (ask your daughter and - at least as important - her teacher), and if it doesn't sound satisfactorily, sell it at a price which is not below what you invested.

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19 hours ago, baroquecello said:

The question you posed regarding wether the quality of this instrument is one step up compared to what your daughter played before cannot be answered by us online. The instrument itself would probably retail at about the same price or even a bit below what your daughter is currently playing. However, price is not a very good indicator of playing qualities and sound quality. I'm a cello teacher and in this price catechory everything from quite nice to terrible is possible. My advise, as the violin is yours already, would be to get a top notch setup at a lutier with a good reputation (ask the teacher!) for 600 $, then see how it sounds (ask your daughter and - at least as important - her teacher), and if it doesn't sound satisfactorily, sell it at a price which is not below what you invested.

Understood.  Thanks for the advice.  

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On 6/30/2022 at 2:39 PM, Blank face said:

There were a lot of discussions about wood shrinkage, percentual rates etc. here which I didn't followed up or recall completely, but the quintessence of all is IMO and practical experience that all the shrinkage and swelling is to the biggest part compensated by the arching.

It means, if the glue joints betwen belly and ribs are stable there's always "much edge" left, because the arching flattens out due to the tension, but the edge still keeps the same. Just when you're opening the violin this tension and flattening will be released and you will notice that the "enough edge" has disappeared at the moment you're going to put it all together again.

An assumed wood quality doesn't change anything to this.

Oh I see. Thanks for the explanation. It is a totally different approach from my restorer Hans J. Nebel. He always explained to me that proper edge around the lower bout indicates quality and properly aged material when the violin was built. Old school I guess…

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7 hours ago, germain said:

He always explained to me that proper edge around the lower bout indicates quality and properly aged material when the violin was built. Old school I guess…

Maybe old school politeness to say something nice about a customer's violin. "At least it has left enough edge"....:ph34r:

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18 hours ago, Blank face said:

Maybe old school politeness to say something nice about a customer's violin. "At least it has left enough edge"....:ph34r:

Oh absolutely no old school politeness when Hans Nebel examines a violin. You get the whole rant…. 

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