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Ole Bull fiddles

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Does anyone have information on these fiddles?? I saw a fiddle in a shop that had "Ole Bull" stamped on the back of the fiddle near the neck and it was also stamped on the inside instead of a label. Is this a good find?? I don't know that much about these fiddles and I would appreciate any information you could give me. TNX, Journ

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Ole Bull was a famous violinist and a maker to a certain extent. But I don't think he made that many violins. I have seen a couple of violins with "Ole Bull" stamp or "Ole Bull Brand" that were made in Germany. This could well be another German violin.

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Somewhere I have seen a dealer's list in which an instrument with this stamp was identified as Austrian. The reference stuck in my mind because I had previously met someone who had a viola similarly marked, and who was convinced it had a direct connection with the great Norwegian violinist.

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Try the SEARCH function. There have been several posts about this before.

Ole Bull, the famous 19th C Norwegian violinist tried to improve the tone of the violin and made some (that apparently did not enhance the craft or meet his objective). Nevertheless, a large number of cheap commercial violins bearing his name were produced and sold - probably having no connection with him, other than stealing his name.

Chances are you are looking at one of those (or a copy of one-[bad joke]!).

Bull, himself, played on Stradivarius and Guarnarius violins. I was fortunate enough to once play on a Strad he had owned and, quite frankly, it leaves me wondering what tonal improvements he could possibly have been seeking that were not satisfied by that great instrument.

Andy

[This message has been edited by Andrew Victor (edited 10-20-2000).]

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I've seen a couple "Ole Bull" fiddles; they all looked like Stainers, and the ones I saw were apparently churned out by Lyon & Healy in Chicago around the turn of the century. I was not much impressed by their apparent quality (two of the three were in serious need of work, and were unplayable when I saw them).

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The Lowendall factory in Berlin, Germany (Lowendall Star Works?), was perhaps the first--or one of the first--to produce the Ole Bull violin. According to Henley's Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers, Louis Lowendall (b. 1836) made the acquaintance in 1878 of Ole Bull in St. Louis. Bull permitted him to take a copy of his famous grand concert violin (a Strad, I think), which he was playing there at the time. The copy of this instrument became known as Lowendall’s Ole Bull. Lowendall thereafter divided his time between America and England. In 1889 he bought a spacious 4-storey building at 121 Reichenbergerstrasse, Berlin, and employed many skilled workmen.

I believe the Lowendall factory also produced the Grand Concert Violin Stradivarius around the turn of the century. You can find these listed in the old Sears Roebuck catalogs.

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