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Thoughts on this old thing.

Jacques G

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Long time lurker and first time poster. Thanks to all for the wealth of information that is shared here on a daily basis. Nowhere else on the internet can one find such in depth info related to all things violin that beats Maestronet (except maybe E-bay for identification purposes). :D                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   I have had this fiddle for a very long time and have heard various things about it over the years, a lot of which was inconsistent. It is long past time in my head to ask you guys what you think about it.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 It has had a tremendous amount of work done to it including many repaired cracks (front, back and sides). Button work. Scroll graft. Pegbox cheeks? Half edging on the back plate only. Odd repairs on both sides around the heel of the neck and some more that I am sure I am missing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It measures out to 35.6 cm lob                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    16.8cm upper bout, 11.9cm c-bout and 20cm lower bout.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It has a wing on the bass side top plate that appears to be original to the instrument(3 piece top). It also appears to have pinched as opposed to mitered corners and does contain four corner blocks. My amateur eye says pine corner blocks and linings, but hard to tell partially because it is so dirty. I currently have an endoscope coming in the mail for further interior inspection. I will try to take and post some interior shots in the next few days.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do know that the instrument was brought to the USA in the 1920's by my friends family along with a set of children's instruments, a beautiful Ficker viola and a gold mounted F.N Voirin stamped violin bow that was given to another friend in the 70's. The instrument has not had much done to it in at least 60 years.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         I used to play it on a regular basis but stopped because it is such a temperamental instrument and i suspect the neck has started to sag a little. It has a wonderful silvery sound to it that I miss and am considering having some work done to it. I suspect it would be a tricky(expensive) violin to to work on because of the amount of existing repairs.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have considered a dendro report, do you guys think it would be worth it?   Oh yeah, and those archaic F-holes. Do they appear to original?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for any thoughts you might have. J


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Hi Jacques,welcome.:)

I'll be very keen to see what can be discovered about your violin.Jacob poses a serious quandary,above.

Can you say that there is any documentation from "that said period" of it coming to U.S.

Sold as ...? maybe  Brescian school. What have you been told?

can't wait for the endoscope...not a commonly heard phrase:o

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Mr. Saunders one sentence response seems to distill it down to the fact that an origin won't/can't be found for this fiddle. The blocks, lining etc.. are not going to give clues to much having been done at an unknown time by an unknown person? A few questions still persist for me.   Would you venture a guess as to whether the scroll is original to the instrument?  Would a dendro report potentially  tell me much regarding region of origin? Tyrol, Salzkammergut, Saxony etc.                      The family history states the fiddle is from Spain which I would guess is highly unlikely. So is the Maggini origin as stated on the interior label. And lastly, would having work done on the fiddle cost more than the fiddle is probably worth?                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Thanks again for sharing your time and knowledge.  Jacques                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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Very interesting look. 

This is the second cobbled instrument that I've seen today with a backwards saddle.  At least there is enough of a gap to prevent top plate cracks.   :)

Please throw that tailpiece out the window. 

I wonder if the bridge foot marks are close together because the top was cut down?

Where is the ~ bass bar location?

The entire back has edge replacement/doubling.

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3 minutes ago, Ratcliffiddles said:

I see doubling, but don't think the top half is replaced.

Same on the front, but no evidence, as far as I can see, that the model has been tampered with/ cut down.  There are normally clues, which I cannot see here.

There are many details that go across the centerlines too, dent, registration pin etc. 

The bridge foot marks looked close together though, but it might just be the extremely wide fs throwing off the read.

It would be nice to look from the inside and see if there is any unusual wear or post/bar position oddities.

The finger print on the left C indicates some haste.

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One might consider that such archaic looking models (which are often associated with Brescia or similar old Italian schools) were also a very long time used in smaller local violin making traditions. The first coming to mind when I'm seeing similar instruments is the so-called Allemannische Schule from the SW German and North Switzerland region. These are mostly known from the highly ornamented 17th century examples, published by Olga Adelmann in her reknown book, but this tradition continued well into the mid 19th century, producing a lot of much plainer instruments, often with inked purfling. The Straub family from Röthenbach/Black forest was to my knowledge the last known dynasty of this school. Not sure, but I would at first search in this direction, or at similar small local groups of makers.


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2 hours ago, iburkard said:

Another wide-eyed fiddle pop up in a branded "Davjd Hopf" post.  Hadn't expected to see wide set fs on a later cottage instrument.  So this is remnants of Allemannische Schule?


You cannot randomly pick a single feature and say that it's the same. Wide space between the ff can be found at many different schools. Allemannische Schule was just an example for a small local school, the OP could have been made elsewhere.

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I received my camera today so hopefully some internal  pictures will be coming soon. 

The book Blank Face mentioned is in German which I don't speak or read. Google is only so helpful and the Maestronet archive only get's one so far about different schools of making. Any other suggestions for gaining knowledge about this fiddle? Is there someone worth showing the instrument to for a professional opinion regarding value on the west coast? I understand that will cost money, but it seems this fiddle is a bit of an oddity so the right person would seem to be needed. 

Thanks for any more info you are willing to share.

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5 hours ago, Jacques G said:

Is there someone worth showing the instrument to for a professional opinion regarding value on the west coast?

I think you will find that you will have to find out WHAT it is, before the question “what is it worth” can be asked.

Please excuse my ignorance of American geography, but you might ask here Contact – Michael Fischer Violin Shop (mfischerviolins.com)

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31 minutes ago, Jacques G said:

Am I reading your first post/response about this fiddle correctly that you doubt it can ever be figured out WHAT it is?


Yes probably. The only possible chance would be if I were to see an identical one with a bona-fide inscription/label, which I haven’t. Perhaps someone else has

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