FORUM

Please have a look at our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

A A A
Avatar

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —






— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Is this old violin worth fixing? Robert Baillie
Robert Baillie Violin
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
Avatar
ironwood8959
Member
Members
February 22, 2015 - 4:26 pm
Member Since: February 22, 2015
Forum Posts: 5
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi all,

I know you get this question all of the time, but here goes anyway. First let me say I appreciate any help you might be able to give me...

I found this violin today and decided it might be worth fixing up for our niece. So I bought it. So, is it worth fixing up?

Inside it has what appears to be a hand written label signed "Robert Baillie, Maker 74".

No sound post, or bridge and as you can see it has been around. I don't play violin, my expertise is guitars so this was a shot in the dark, I probably should stick to guitars...

Here are two pictures.

picture 1

picture 2

Avatar
Jerusha77
Member
Members
February 22, 2015 - 5:47 pm
Member Since: February 4, 2013
Forum Posts: 21
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I did a little research on the name, but could not find much information. The body shape looks a little unique so I am very curious to how it would sound. If I were you I would probably try fixing it. I donno how much it would be worth after being fixed either. But older violins often have a rather nice sound. (not always) I decided to fix up a strad copy made in the year of 1907, and it turned out very nice with a very nice settle sound. A lot of repairs were needed though. 

So really it is up to you! I look at an old violin as a mystery. If you fix it up, it may be very fine, or not so..  like an adventure!

Let me know if you decide to fix it. Good luck!

Avatar
Bunkei
Member
Members
February 23, 2015 - 2:30 am
Member Since: January 8, 2015
Forum Posts: 42
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

VERY interesting scroll design there!  It really depends if you want to spend the extra $$$ to have the violin professionally restored.  Even if it doesn't sound the best, it's unique and it's yours.

If you do have it restored, you might want to buy a Tonerite (such for it on Youtube if you've never heard of it :)) to help "wake up" the violin.

I'd love to see pictures (and video) if you decide to proceed, and I doubt I'd be the only one! :)

Avatar
BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
Members

Regulars
February 23, 2015 - 8:09 am
Member Since: March 22, 2014
Forum Posts: 1659
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Always fun to bring an old instrument back to life !!!

Only thing I immediately notice is that the pegs seem to be quite "deeply seated" in the peg box.... almost to the point of not having "much further adjustment" on them... maybe just wear over time or some previous owner being over-enthusiastic "sanding down" the pegs (or taper-reaming the peg holes) to eliminate "stickiness" ....  dunno - just guessing.

I had to do something similar on an old violin I had - and very gently buffed the pegs down - they used to "lock solid" in the peg-holes but they work fine now, and protrude beyond the outside of the peg box by a few mm - but nothing like in your pics.

Good luck with it - keep us advised !

Oh - and welcome to the forum !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
February 23, 2015 - 10:59 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Looks like you need new strings, a bridge and soundpost. Shouldn't cost that much. I didn't see any cracks. I would personally recommend new pegs as well seeing that these have sunk in way too much for comfort.

It could turn into a great instrument. No one can say but I would go for it if it were me. A violin shop would most likely charge around $100-250 for those three items installed depending on the quality strings, bridge, post and work put into the setup.
Pegs excluded.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

Avatar
ironwood8959
Member
Members
February 23, 2015 - 12:18 pm
Member Since: February 22, 2015
Forum Posts: 5
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thanks all! I am going to take it in tomorrow and see about restoration.

 

Any idea who Robert Baillie was???

 

Thanks

 

ironwood

Avatar
BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
Members

Regulars
February 23, 2015 - 12:30 pm
Member Since: March 22, 2014
Forum Posts: 1659
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I found this - ( but also other Robert Baillie#s and one in Australia ) - but according to this - his father (who, being Scottish, may well have given his son the same name - as mine did LOLOL - talk about confusion ! )

rb.JPGImage Enlarger

Here's the link I found it on - https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=EeeuAfSxlp0C&pg=PA214&lpg=PA214&dq=robert+baillie+violin+maker&source=bl&ots=3Au-k46CkO&sig=8OZRlGVYzT1zvQ6O0yDeDfcjdZE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=S2LrVJGGJ9bkatytgsgM&ved=0CEMQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=robert%20baillie%20violin%20maker&f=false

EDIT: Reading back to your original post the "74" could be 1874 - i.e. made by the father Robert who died in 1880.   And, quote "His father made several violins" ( not thousands, hundreds or tens of - just "several" ) - you may have a "find" on your hands there - who knows what it's going to sound or play like - but that is not the point - if this info IS related to your violin - I would most certainly restore, love and cherish it - and continue to research further - there may be living descendants who would be interested.   Who knows?   Quite intriguing !

sp_PlupAttachments Attachments

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

Avatar
ironwood8959
Member
Members
February 23, 2015 - 1:55 pm
Member Since: February 22, 2015
Forum Posts: 5
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thanks Bill! Now that is cool... The son was a published composer of violin music and the father was the maker of this violin.

 

Very interesting!

 

Bears looking into...

 

ironwood

Avatar
Uzi
Georgia
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
February 23, 2015 - 1:57 pm
Member Since: January 19, 2014
Forum Posts: 891
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

If what Bill said turned out to be correct.  Whatever you do, DO NOT, "resotore" it.  In fact regardless, of whether it is true or not, restoration would only include, fitting new pegs, a bridge and possibly a tail piece.  Make sure there is a sound post installed and if there is not, make sure that one is properly installed before the bridge is put in place.  I would also suggest finding some very low tension strings for it, perhaps even gut, at least until the time that you could have it properly inspected by someone qualified to do that.  If it turned out to be a valuable antique, the very last thing you want to do is alter the original finish in any way. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

Avatar
BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
Members

Regulars
February 23, 2015 - 2:22 pm
Member Since: March 22, 2014
Forum Posts: 1659
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

@ironwood8959 and @Uzi - absolutely agree with Uzi - "restoration" should be limited to getting new working pegs, strings ( and yes, low tension to start with if the fiddle really happens to be so old ), bridge and so on - oh and as @Fiddlerman said - the hidden soundpost of course.  

I notice the tailpiece is fitted with 4 fine tuners - that may well be a relatively recent addition - just guessing though....  at the end of the day its "monetary worth" may be nothing great ( but on the other hand who knows ???? ) but - as I said in earlier post - right-here-right-now its all about the love of the instrument and bringing it back to life.... don't go "restoring the finish" - that's its unique character.   Just do enough "restoring" to make it playable to start with....  That would be my plan...  

Do make a VERY good visual inspection - check for cracks (or signs of cracks, even on the surface) and so on - but right now - accept them for what they are - just get it "playable" first...    

Even if the info I found is not correct - I would still love to undertake a project like this !!! thumbs-upthumbs-upthumbs-up

Keep us advised please !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

Avatar
ironwood8959
Member
Members
February 23, 2015 - 3:35 pm
Member Since: February 22, 2015
Forum Posts: 5
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Thanks all, pretty exciting to find this wonderful old violin! The information you all have provided is intriguing to say the least.

I have added a few more pictures so you can get a better look at the surface of the instrument and a little look inside...

 

picture 3

picture 4

picture 5

picture 6

picture 7

picture 8

picture 9

picture 10

picture 11

Avatar
Uzi
Georgia
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
February 23, 2015 - 10:10 pm
Member Since: January 19, 2014
Forum Posts: 891
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

I also found a reference to the Scottish fiddler Robert Baillie.

Little John's Hame ( J.S. Skinner) / The Forth Bridge Strathspey /The Forth Bridge Reel (both by W. Blyth) / Scourdiness (C. Sherritt) / Miss Baigrie Reel (Robert Baillie)

On the Cape Breton Fiddler page.  Here's the famous Cape Breton fiddler Buddy MacMaster playing the tune.

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

Avatar
Uzi
Georgia
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
February 23, 2015 - 10:27 pm
Member Since: January 19, 2014
Forum Posts: 891
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Interestingly, there are some people who collect vintage violin cases. So the case itself could have some monetary value.

Here's some information about your case.  It is apparently a G. S. B, which were the initials of the manufacturer. George S. Bond.  Turns out that's an S not a &. It was manufactured in Charlestown, New Hampshire, probably in the late 19th Century. Here's some info from an old news clipping.

"George S. Bond, a manufacturer of Charlestown, was born in that town, March 2, 1837, son of Silas and Alice (Abbot) Bond...[In 1880] he bought out the violin case manufactory that had been established in Charlestown. There was but little work done here at first, and he employed but one man. Subsequently he had to enlarge the place, and in 1893 he had forty hands in his employment and was using a fifty horsepower engine. In that year the factory was burned. Eleven weeks later his substantial new factory was ready for business. He has now a sixty horse-power engine, and he employs from twenty-five to thirty-five hands. The factory is said to be the best equipped establishment of its kind in the world, having a capacity of twenty-four dozen violin cases per day. Mr. Bond has dealings with some of the largest firms in this country..."

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

Avatar
ironwood8959
Member
Members
February 24, 2015 - 9:38 am
Member Since: February 22, 2015
Forum Posts: 5
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
14sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Thanks, I really appreciate all of the information about Robert Baillie. I am going to take the violin to Upton Bass in Old Mystic, CT this morning for them to evaluate.

 

I will add additional information later in case anyone may be interested...

 

Thanks again!

Avatar
Uzi
Georgia
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
February 24, 2015 - 2:37 pm
Member Since: January 19, 2014
Forum Posts: 891
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
15sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Great.  Keep us posted.  Look forward to seeing you Antiques Road Show.

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
February 24, 2015 - 10:35 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717
16sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

ironwood8959, There are a few more cracks than I thought at the endbutton block and the edges of the top plate is damaged as well. I guess it fell on that edge pretty hard some time in it's life.

A luthier can still get it in playing condition but it would cost a bit more. It can be set up without fixing the damage but it may not sound great. Can you see if the edges are open around the bottom edge of the fiddle?

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

Forum Timezone: America/New_York

Most Users Ever Online: 231

Currently Online: yellowdresses
34 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today None
Upcoming Mad_Wed, Prudence, ButteryStuffs, kit, makinnoise

Top Posters:

coolpinkone: 3767

Mad_Wed: 2849

Barry: 2661

Fiddlestix: 2637

Oliver: 2439

DanielB: 2379

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 1

Members: 3562

Moderators: 0

Admins: 2

Forum Stats:

Groups: 16

Forums: 56

Topics: 6446

Posts: 80405

Newest Members:

EKBanjo, charlieD, Folky fiddler, Morgenes42, stringo, sexymom04

Administrators: Fiddlerman: 11717, KindaScratchy: 1651